Some Players To Watch As Spring Football Practice Starts
As 2007 wound down, Pasco County had to turn the page on a lot of talented football players. But today is the start of spring football practice and fans are on the rebound. There are returning players that everyone knows to look for. Fresh faces, though, are aplenty just because of the number of skilled seniors that played in Pasco last season. The spring marks a period of uncertainty for every football coach but these players are a few of those who showed enough of a spark playing behind the headliners in 2007 to make a real name for themselves in 2008.HUNTER JOYER, WESLEY CHAPEL: Many players have had the unfortunate fate of trying to block Hunter's older brother Kamran, enormous lineman extraordinaire and Division I recruit. No, Hunter is not another big lineman like his brother. He's an athletic, strong running back and word on the street is that when he is in the weight room, he can lift more than Kamran. Figure that one out. Actually, the real question may be what in the world they eat in the Joyer household. While Kamran was making his grand tour of major Division I schools, Hunter tagged along and undoubtedly, a lot of those coaches were keeping him in the back of their minds for when it's Hunter's turn to sign on the dotted line. COLT CARDWELL, MITCHELL: Cardwell is a 6-foot-8, 320-pound lineman. Enough said, right? Cardwell did not have much playing time last season because he was new to the game but the Mustangs have been trying to guide him in the right direction on the field. If you were a football coach, you would be crazy not to. Last season, one stat Cardwell did record was a blocked field goal against Wharton. When a player of that size lines up against you, you might be crazy to attempt a field goal in the first place. And it's not a stretch to think he could prevent quite a few more field goals and extra points during his upcoming senior year, maybe by just standing up straight. MARIO STEWART, RIVER RIDGE: Stewart could play at any number of positions for River Ridge because of his athleticism and speed. He doesn't come in with a lot of experience but the folks at River Ridge liked what they saw from him this past year. The key word with Stewart is potential and spring will probably begin to give the Royal Knights a better indication of where he is best suited to play. One place they already know he is going to be very useful is on special teams where his speed allows him to be a dangerous kick returner. STEPHEN WEATHERFORD, LAND O' LAKES: The name should ring a bell and not just because he is one in a long line of Weatherford football standouts. One of the safest bets of this bunch, Weatherford shared time at quarterback with Eli Payne last season and now the plan is to have him run the show on his own. That's a big responsibility for a player who just made it through his freshman season, especially for a team as good year in, year out as Land O' Lakes. That judgment call by someone with the experience of Gators coach John Benedetto is a good indication that, despite his youth, Weatherford will help make Friday nights at Land O' Lakes pretty exciting. MYLON BROWN, PASCO: The Pirates lost three of their top linemen to graduation and of the group that Coach Tom McHugh is optimistic will be able to step in skillwise, Brown could be the most promising. Brown did play last season but is expected to be a force for the Pirates, according to McHugh. The line is going to be young for Pasco this year though not short on talent. Leadership likely will have to come from places on the field other than the line but as long as the Pirates get it from someplace, that's fine by them.