STADIUM: Bulldog Stadium, 6335 12th St., Zephyrhills CLASS-DISTRICT: 5A-6 (with Central, Hernando, Nature Coast, Pasco, South Sumter, and Weeki Wachee) COACH: Reggie Roberts (14-16, fourth season) LAST SEASON: 6-4
Transfers could be big help for Bulldogs Trying to build on the success of the past couple of seasons, Zephyrhills got a boost in the spring by a couple of transfers. Senior Riley Murphy (5-foot-11, 275 pounds) has emerged as a force on the offensive line after transferring from Lennard and junior Ty Tanner has taken over at quarterback after leading Wesley Chapel in passing in 2011 and 2012. “Riley was dominant in the spring game and he has looked great all summer,” Roberts said. “Ty has taken control of this team, both on the field and in the locker room, and I was surprised in how quickly he picked up the offense. He is a dual-threat guy. He can beat you with his arm and his legs. I am thrilled to have him running our offense.” SUPPLY
Increased depth Problems with depth plagued Zephyrhills last season. With only 23 players on the varsity roster, many starters had to play both ways, which led to tired legs and diminished performance late in games. This year, the Bulldogs roster 38 varsity players, and the coaching staff has increased its emphasis on conditioning. “This is the deepest team I have coached here,” coach Reggie Roberts said. “Last year, I think we let a few games slip away late because we didn’t have enough guys. We competed for three quarters, but then our guys would be sucking wind in the fourth. This year, we will have fresh legs — because of our depth and because I have been pushing these kids harder than they have ever been pushed. That’s intentional. We are deeper this year, numbers-wise, and we will need to show that on the field late in games.” Experience at skill positions Despite losing leading rusher Willie Williams to graduation, the Bulldogs return a talented core of skill players. Seniors Devon Brockington and Malik Mutcherson each rushed for more than 400 yards, averaging more than six yards per carry, and junior Jaylen Pickett led the Bulldogs in receptions and receiving yards (averaging just under 20 yards per catch). Roberts said these players, as well as senior wide receiver Jordan Roberts, “will line up all over the field, creating mismatches and getting the ball in space. These guys have been with me long enough to know the offense and to know what I am thinking when they are out on the field, so their experience will be vital to our success.” DEMAND Keeping everyone involved The downside of a deeper roster, if there is one, is it can keep talented kids off the field. Roberts acknowledged his biggest challenge this year will be keeping everyone involved. “These are young kids that have trained all summer and they all want to perform, but there is only one football. It’s natural for kids to want the ball in their hands, so it’s up to (the coaching staff) to instill that team concept while keeping our players happy and motivated. Our issue will be finding enough ways to get our athletes the ball.” Schedule Aug. 30: at Wesley Chapel Sept. 6: at Gulf Sept. 13: Mitchell Sept. 20: at South Sumter Sept. 27: Weeki Wachee Oct. 11: at Brooksville Nature Coast Oct. 17: Brooksville Central Oct. 25: Brooksville Hernando Nov. 1: Pasco Nov. 8: Sunlake Roster No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Aleck Serrano OL/DL 5-9 185 So. Antwione Sims RB/LB/DB 5-9 155 Fr. Brandon Sanchez LB/FB 5-9 195 Sr. Dylan Wingo DB/WR 5-9 155 Jr. Eddie Hulin OL/DL 5-10 225 Jr. Giovanni Guzman TE/LB 5-9 165 Jr. Jarrett Hussey WR 6-0 150 Jr. Jordan Emerson RB/LB 5-6 150 Jr. Kayel Oppenheimer WR/LB 5-11 155 Sr. Kevin Capehart DE/TE 6-1 190 Sr. Matthew Dupre 5-10 155 Jr. Matthew King DL/OL 5-9 200 Sr. Tyler Eaton OL/DL 5-9 200 Jr. Zack Bedley TE/DE 6-1 210 Jr. 1 Devon Brockington DB/WR/RB 5-10 160 Sr. 2 Jordan Roberts WR/CB 6-0 165 Sr. 3 Arttonyo Lee RB/LB 5-9 180 So. 4 Jackie Tucker WR/S 6-0 115 So. 5 Jaylen Pickett DB/WR/RB 6-0 185 Jr. 6 Kevin Lee FB/LB 5-10 215 So. 7 Reginald Roberts Jr. CB/WR/KR 5-8 150 So. 8 Austen Kirby QB/DB 5-11 150 Jr. 9 Ty Tanner QB/RB/CB 5-10 160 So. 10 Garrett Pritchard DE/TE 5-10 185 Sr. 11 Jarcques Meza QB/DB 5-10 160 Jr. 15 Zach Gleaton P/K 5-8 155 Jr. 19 Tre’un Everett RB/CB/PR 5-8 150 So. 20 Malik Mutcherson RB/DB 5-9 155 Sr. 30 Frank Everett FB/LB 5-9 155 Jr. 32 Lorine Parker FB/LB 5-11 170 Jr. 53 Michael Howard DL/OL 5-11 230 So. 54 Riley Murphy OL/DL 5-11 275 Sr. 55 Austin Larkin OL/DE 6-2 220 So. 64 Justin Shaffer DL/OL 5-11 227 Sr. 65 Drew Allen DL/OL 6-0 260 Sr. 71 Devon Long DL/OL 6-0 265 Sr. 72 Quinton Foster DT/OT 5-10 295 Jr. 74 Damion Glanville OL/DL 5-9 260 Sr.