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Football Two-A-Days: Gaither, Wharton

COACH: Jason Stokes
2012 RECORD: 8-3
DISTRICT: 7A-7 (Freedom, Steinbrenner, Sickles, Tampa Bay Tech, Wiregrass Ranch)
KEY LOSSES: RB Shug Oyegunle, RB/WR Vu Le, RB Josh Bell, WR Marcus Brown, DL Ernest Suttles, LB Logan Marshall
KEY RETURNERS: LB Matt Williams, LB Jimmy Golden, LB Devon Wieand, DB Javon Hammond, DB Amani Oruwariye, QB Alex McGough
SPRING FOCUS: Defensively, Stokes is pleased with what he has returning in the secondary, with Hammond and Oruwariye, and within the linebacker unit with Williams and Golden. Offensively, the rushing attack is suspect until someone emerges as a true starter and Stokes has opened a position battle for the lead guy.
Gaither was a running team by committee last season, but will lose valuable experience due to the graduation of Oyegunle and Le. “We're trying to find that one guy this spring,” Stokes said. Wieand has proven to be one of the most improved players since the start of spring practice,” Stokes said. “He's a tough kid who has a nose for the ball.”
JAMBOREE: Thursday vs. Sickles (at Steinbrenner)
Aug. 23 – Kickoff Classic, at Wharton
Aug. 30 – at Chamberlain
Sept. 6 – Newsome
Sept. 12 – Plant
Sept. 20 – at Freedom
Sept. 27 – at Durant
Oct. 4 – Wiregrass Ranch
Oct. 11 – Bye
Oct. 18 – at Sickles
Oct. 25 – Tampa Bay Tech
Nov. 1 – Steinbrenner
Nov. 8 – at Plant City
Nick Williams

COACH: David Mitchell
2012 RECORD: 8-3
DISTRICT: 8A-6 (Alonso, Bloomingdale, Newsome, Plant, Riverview)
KEY LOSSES: ATH/DB Vernon Hargreaves III, ATH KJ Hopkins, LB Rocky Enos, WR/RB/DB Deon Sampson, LB Fritznel Jean-Francios, DL Tylow Johnson, OL/DL Jacob Meier, OL/DL Robert Drummond, C Arieon Caldwell
KEY RETURNERS: QB Chase Litton, DE Antonio Joseph, DB Jeremy Jefferson, WR/TE Auden Tate, RB/LB Jeff Keil, DL Richard Drummond, ATH Vontae Williams
SPRING FOCUS: There's no ignoring the fact the Wildcats lost 24 seniors, including many key athletes and playmakers, so Mitchell says the main focus this spring will be “working on basic knowledge and growth.” The passing game is already set with the return of Litton, a top prospect who threw for 2,732 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2012. “You always hope it works out right for guys like him,” Mitchell said. “But I do believe if he puts the ball where it needs to be then we can all be successful.” To be more balanced, Mitchell and company will be working to find a running game, with Keil (701 yards, 8 TDs) and Williams leading the way.
Wharton also lost a lot of veteran leadership on defense, not only with Hargreaves, but also on the defensive line and linebackers. Throw in that Mitchell brought in a new defensive coordinator in Josh Bellinger, who was at Freedom last season. The Wildcats do have a good anchor in Richard Drummond, a 6-foot-1 sophomore lineman who had 22 tackles and a sack last season.
JAMBOREE: Thursday vs. Tampa Bay Tech (Freedom)
Aug. 23 – Kickoff Classic, TBA
Aug. 30 – Spoto
Sept. 6 – at Plant City
Sept. 12 – at Freedom
Sept. 20 – Riverview
Sept. 27 – East Bay
Oct. 4 – at Newsome
Oct. 11 – at Steinbrenner
Oct. 18 – Alonso
Oct. 25 – Plant
Nov. 1 – at Bloomingdale
Nov. 8 – Bye
Mike Camunas
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Football Two-A-Days: Gaither, Wharton