STADIUM: Wiregrass Ranch Stadium, 2909 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel CLASS-DISTRICT: 7A-7 (with Freedom, Gaither, Sickles, Steinbrenner, and Tampa Bay Tech) COACH: Mike Lawrence (first season) LAST SEASON: 0-10
Playmakers abound for Bulls
The Bulls graduated the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (Ryan Shea), but Lawrence isn’t worried about having a bare cupboard in the playmaker department.
“I think we’re going to be just fine there,” Lawrence with a smile said. “Ryan Shea was big for this team, but we had a supporting cast who now has a better understanding of what they’re doing.” Among the threats are running backs John Harris-Scott, Eli Galvan and Giomani Davis and wide receivers Mark Hutchinson, James Jackson, Zachary Davidson and Miner.
“John Harris-Scott can split out, and then we’ve got Mark Hutchinson and James Jackson,” Bucenell said. “We call those two guys the twin towers (because both are tall), and it’s going to be fun passing to them
Wiregrass Ranch is loaded with discipline thanks to coach Mike Lawrence, who took over the squad after being the offensive coordinator in 2012. “Last year, I said that the reason we lost was our discipline,” junior quarterback Shane Bucenell added. “This year with coach Lawrence, I feel like we’re in the Navy. I really like that, and you can see how much it’s helping.” The Bulls are using that new mentality on their quest to snap a 22-game losing streak. “Coach has a saying, ‘Perfection is unattainable, but if you chase perfections, excellence will be achieved,’” junior linebacker/wide receiver Jaye Miner said. “That’s the mentality.”
Bucenell suffered a beating last year under center for the Bulls, being sacked more than 40 times, plus he threw 10 interceptions and his offense was shutout three times. “Starting as a sophomore at quarterback is hard enough, so he’s developed a lot, he’s working on the plays and he’s got a really strong arm,” receiver Mark Hutchinson said. “He’s taken command and is a great leader for this team.”
The offense had little time to operate last year, which is why Lawrence has put a focus on developing a more cohesive front line. “If the offensive line isn’t much improved from last year then there’s going to be an issue,” Lawrence said. “That’s been a focus is having an offensive line that gives our quarterback time and opens holes for the running backs.”
Wiregrass Ranch was also unable to get much pressure in the opposition’s backfield in 2012, totaling just 18 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. The Bulls have moved the physical Miner from safety to linebacker to help. “Our linebackers are very strong with guys like Jordan Mutcherson, Christian Borak and Elijah Brooks-Davis,” Miner said. “We’re going to be able to get a lot of pressure with those guys.”