TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Monday, Feb 08, 2016

Football preview: Spoto

Defense a key for Spartans

Coach Dale Caparaso said the defensive unit is the best he’s seen at Spoto. For the first time, Caparaso, in his sixth year, will have a ton of size up front to lead the way. Averaging around 265 pounds, the line will be big with senior Marquis Harris (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) providing height and wingspan, and guys like Todd Simms will add speed and quickness to the line as well.

However, the defensive strength doesn’t end there as the linebackers, led by senior Traverrian “Kell” Williams returns for his third season as a starter for the Spartans. Williams, a 6-foot-1, 225-pounder, transitioned from lineman to middle linebacker last season and had 76 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2012.

“Kell is a three-year starter for us,” Caparaso said. “He’ll do everything we need, starting midway through his sophomore year he has had something like 18 sacks for us.”

Rafael Morales returns, bringing 91 tackles and five sacks from last season.

Cornerback Willie Marshall, who had 25 tackles last season and James Bethea, an athlete who will be the Spartans’ everyman this season, will also have big roles in the secondary.


O-Line size

While the defensive front has great size, the offensive line imposing as well. Caparaso said the group is making big leaps, as his staff for the first time has a full-time quality offensive line coach in Gardner Box (formerly of Brandon and Plant City High Schools). Box has a lot to work with as the group averages 6-foot-2, 278 pounds. Ed Heraldo, who plays guard and is on the defensive line, will lead this group.


Shake off a tough year

Last season, the Spartans were hoping to pin their hopes to the talented skills of Eric Moate, but five plays into the season a leg injury sidelined Moate for most of the season and a slew of youngsters were thrust into playing time. The team started eight sophomores and one freshman. It was a tough blow for a talented team that ended up 3-7, however Moate’s injury did give the team’s young players a lot of experience heading into this year.

One of those gaining experience was James Bethea. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior will play defensive back, wide receiver, running back and be a return specialist. Caparaso said he is hoping the “big-time hitter” can provide the versatility his team needs.

Quarterback is young

Last season, Kevin Hobbly (now a junior) made a run for the starting job at quarterback. Caparaso said he felt Hobbly still had some growing to do. However, Hobbly did see some playing time and passed for 206 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. During the spring and in preseason workouts, his coaches feel he is more than ready to step up. Caparaso said Hobbly is a good runner, with a quality arm. He will have weapons in wide receivers like returning starters Marc McCoy (12 catches, 227 yards last year), and Simms (who transferred from Middleton).

A lot expected of newcomers

Caparaso said he has a few guys who could make an impact right away. Mike Densen, a 6-foot-1, 330-pound guard, worked hard in the offseason to get his grades up to join the team as a junior. Caparaso said Densen “is one of the most physical players I have coached in 33 years.”

Receiver Patrick James has speed and good hands providing another weapon for Hobbly to choose from


Aug. 30: at Wharton

Sept. 6: at Strawberry Crest

Sept. 12: Steinbrenner

Sept. 20: at East Bay

Sept. 27: at Alonso

Oct. 4: Jesuit

Oct. 18: Plant City

Oct. 25: at Middleton

Nov. 1: Lennard

Nov. 8: Leto


No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.

1 Traverian Williams FB/LB 6-1 228 Sr

2 Kevin Hobley QB/DB 5-11 175 Jr.

3 Lucious Cheatham RB/LB 5-11 178 So.

4 Marc McCoy WR/DB/LB 6-2 170 Jr.

5 Eugene Bnisden WR/LB 6-0 168 So.

6 Malcolm Carnnegie RB/DE 6-2 235 Sr

7 Todd Sims WR/DE 6-0 177 Jr.

8 Ashton Puesey RB/DB 5-9 142 Jr.

10 James Bethea RB/DB 5-11 169 Sr

12 Tavaris Johnson WR/DB/LB 6-2 171 Jr.

14 Patrick James WR/DE 6-2 218 Jr.

15 Benny Pierce WR/LB/DB 6-0 181 Sr

17 Tyler Williams WR/DB 6-0 176 Jr.

18 Demonte Davis WR/LB 5-10 172 Sr

20 Jesse Holmes RB/DB/LB 5-9 155 Jr.

21 Dontre Royster RB/DB 5-9 156 Sr

22 Willie Marshall RB/DB 5-9 165 Sr

23 Anthron Dicks

24 Justice Hunt WR/LB 6-0 188 Jr.

25 Jerome Godbolt RB/DB 5-10 165 Fr.

28 Demarco Archie

30 Royster Avery Fr.

40 Rafeal Morales TE/LB 5-11 191 Sr

52 Christian Torres

53 Daniel Morales Fr.

55 Ricky Rivera OL/DL 6-0 256 Sr

56 Zachary Famber

60 Andrew Waters

62 Mike Denson OL/DL 6-2 340 Jr.

62 Marquice Harris OL/DE 6-6 237 Sr

63 Larry Young OL/DL 6-0 238 So.

66 Randy Boone

71 Jaylen Sanders OL/DL 5-10 282 So.

72 Edward Hilrado OL/DL/LB 6-0 261 Sr

75 Jounelle DeRidder OL/DL 6-2 310 Jr.

78 Daevon Owens OL/DL 5-9 271 Sr

80 Tyler Ware

85 Antonio Cintron

88 TJ Brown

99 Zer Yus Everett Fr.

Keenan Fipps

James Allen OL/LB/DL 6-1 226 Sr

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune