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T H E L E D G E R • T h u r s d a y , A u g u s t 2 3 , 2 0 1 2 • W W W . theledger . C O M

| PREPS 2012 TEAM Auburndale Lake Wales Mulberry Tenoroc



FINISH 2-9 9-2 2-8 4-6

Quick Hits Three underclassmen at Lake Wales had solid showings in the spring game. Marcus Walker had three interceptions, Bo Hamilton scored on a 43-yard touchdown run and Luke Hiers did well as the team’s center. ... Auburndale has a Division I commit in sophomore Derwin James. James, a relative of Miami’s Mike James, committed to FSU early in 2012. ... Mulberry returns linebacker Jerry Joyce, who finished last season with 141 tackles, and running back Kendrick Mapp, who finished with 632 yards rushing. ... Tenoroc is coming off its best season. Vic Smith Jr. takes over at the quarterback spot for Travis Tucker, who graduated and finished last season with more than 1,300 yards on offense.

POSTSEASON Regional Quarterfinals Regional Quarterfinals — —

Strong Highlanders Defense Looks to Crush Opposing Offenses | LAKE WALES HIGHLANDERS |


Head Coach: Rod Shafer (18th season, 176-47 overall). Coaching Staff: Bob Urwin DC, Mike Lee WR, Ron Johnson DL, Sam Billante RB, Tavaris Johnson DB, Miles Balinski OL, Burney Hayes RB (JV)-DB, Kindreek Williams WR/JV, Scott York PK, Mike Williamson DL/ JV, Marvin Pavy RB, Louis Greenwald QB-Trainer, Chad Alexander LB. 2011 Record: 9-2. Last Time in Playoffs: 2011, lost to Hardee, 18-13, in regional quarterfinals. Home Field: Legion Field, Lake Wales. 2012 Schedule (All games begin at 7 p.m.) Aug. 24 vs. Kathleen (Preseason) Aug. 31 at Orlando Jones Sept. 7 vs. Lake Gibson Sept. 14 Open Sept. 21 vs. Immokalee Sept. 28 at George Jenkins Oct. 5 at Mulberry Oct. 12 vs. Haines City Oct. 19 at Tenoroc Oct. 26 at Winter Haven Nov. 2 vs. Auburndale Nov. 9 vs. Bartow

LAKE WALES | The Lake Wales Highlanders start with a basic philosophy on how to win games. If the other team can’t score, it can’t beat you. While the Highlanders, who were 9-2 last year, have their share of playmakers on offense, their 2012 team will be built around a defense that calls itself the “Orange Crush.” “It’s the best (defense) we’ve had in a while,” Highlanders Coach Rod Shafer said. A n d t h a t ’s s a y i n g something. A year ago, Lake Wales held seven of its 11 opponents to fewer than 10 points and posted a pair of shutouts on its way to winning the Class 5A, District 9 title. This year, the Highlanders’ defense, under the direction of defensive coordinator Bob Urwin, features a strong group of linebackers playing behind a defensive line led by senior Bobby Leath. “The linebackers are really good,” Shafer said. “This group is really fast, and they really hit. They have a nose for the ball that’s beyond coaching.” Among that group is the trio of Jonte Sergeant, Dakarial Scott and David Jones.


Orange Crush: From left, linebackers Jonte Sergeant, David Jones and Dakarial Scott lead what could be a devastating Lake Wales defense. “Mainly we just try to do our jobs so there aren’t any open windows that the offense can get to,” Sergeant said. Up front, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Leath is one of the top prospects in Florida. While

he hasn’t made a college commitment, he said he has limited his choices to Kansas State, Nebraska, Florida, South Florida and Iowa State. “We have a lot of pride (on

Titans Hope O-Line Solid as a Rock




REJUVINATION: Daryle Henry, from left, Demetrius McNair and Antonio Thomas are three seniors determined to change Auburndale’s fortunes for the better.

Bloodhounds See Better Days Ahead



AUBURNDALE | The Auburndale Bloodhounds are coming off a season and a spring football game that they would like to forget. They finished a dismal 2-8 last year and lost 3-0 to Lakeland Christian in their spring game in May. However, there is something rejuvenating about the promise of a new season: The exploits and trials of 2011 are gone. Last year just doesn’t matter. Being shut out by Lakeland Christian doesn’t look great, but holding the Vikings’ offense without a touchdown is somet h i ng A ubu r nd a le should be able to build on. Offensively, starting quarterback Brett Taylor will be looked to for senior leadership and to be the face on that side of the ball. “He isn’t the 6-foot-4 gunslinger type of quarterback,” Head Coach Kenneth Grantham said. “But he’s a good leader and game manager. He makes good decisions.” Taylor said that for the Bloodhounds to succeed this season, they will have to rely on teamwork. Auburndale faces strong challenges from the start — home against Lake Region, at Winter Haven, at Bartow and at Lake Gibson. They need more than teamwork, they need to click ... and fast. While Taylor isn’t the guy

with the rocket arm, he does have a keen ability to call and manage a game. He picked that up from being a catcher in baseball. “They’re (quarterback/ catcher) two different arm slots but they’re both kind of that leader role,” Taylor said. “I’m used to it, so when I started playing quarterback last season it was kind of the same thing.” Possibly helping Taylor and the offense is the experience the offensive line is getting going up against a stellar defensive line — daily. “Our defensive line is our strongest position,” Grantham said. “We have a bunch of guys coming back. I have about six defensive linemen that are really good. At the high school level, that’s unusual. We’re just blessed this year.” The Bloodhounds run a four down lineman set. However, that could change if needed. “Against teams that are two backs that run the ball a lot, we will put that fifth guy in,” Grantham said. “We base a 4-3, but we will put a fifth out to give a different look. That depth really helps. That has to be one of the most exhausting positions on the field, so it’s nice to have guys that can rotate in.” Grantham added that “our skill guys on offense are really fast and really athletic. Our defensive backs on defense are the same way.”

defense),” Leath said. “Our coaches don’t want us giving up any yards.” They also don’t want to give up any points, and they have a way of emphasizing that, Leath said.

“However many points we give up, that’s how many sprints we have to do, so we try not to give up many points,” Leath said. Among the players up front along with Leath are De’Shaun Dunn, who Shafer said “might be the most underrated player in Polk County.” Also up front will be Bendly Jean, Luke Hiers and freshman Chauncey Christian. The secondary will be new with a strong group of sophomores, but Shafer said sophomore safety Marcus Walker will be a player to watch. With many players playing both ways, the Highlanders have the potential to be explosive on offense as well, where junior Railond Garrett is expected to step in as the starting quarterback. The Highlanders could go seven deep in the backfield led by Tony Reeves and Jones. They will also be big up front with Leath, Dunn and Hiers all seeing doubleduty on the offensive line. “Reeves may be 1,000-yard gainer,” Shafer said. They also have Sergeant in the backfield along with a strong group of sophomores — Justin Henderson, the son of 1979 Ledger player of the year Jonas Henderson, Robert Wimbley, Jamal Ernest and Earnest Hamilton.

Head coach: Kenneth Grantham (4th season, 9-23). Coaching staff: Rick Smith LB/RB, Rob Skelton WR, John O’Neal DC, Pete Rausch Asst, Grantham OL/DL. Last season: 2-9. Last time in playoffs: 2011, lost to Palmetto, 49-0, in the regional quarterfinals. Home Field: Bruce Canova Stadium, Auburndale.

LAKELAND | Tenoroc is entering its fifth season of football, and for maybe the first time in the team’s history, the Titans seem to be standing on solid ground. “For the first time ever at this school, our offensive line looks to be the strength of our team,” Tenoroc Head Coach Dave Robson said. “In the past, we’ve had skill players come along, but putting together an offensive line has been a tough thing to do. We have returning starters coming back on the offensive line, and that’s going to be the f irst time we’ve that situation.” One of those players is sen ior of fen si ve l i nem a n ­L aDarrien Wilson, who has been with Tenoroc since his freshman year. “Coming in, I always had the size,” Wilson said. “But my conditioning was poor. Each year, I’ve gotten better. And this year, my goal is to be one of the best players in Polk County and help out the team.” This year, the Titans will be led at quarterback by senior Victor Smith. Smith, son of longtime Polk County coach Vic Smith Sr., replaces last year’s star QB Travis Tucker. Robson said that the younger Smith has been “instrumen-

tal” in his progress and that he will be ready to step in as the team’s starter. “Vic has done a great job for us in the spring,” he said. “He’s a good leader and has a good, calm demeanor about him. That will take him a long way.” One of Tenoroc’s struggles has been fielding enough players to fill out their varsity squad. Because Tenoroc students are bussed from different areas around Lakeland, and without a public transportation system near the school, many players aren’t able to make workouts and practices on a regular basis. “There’s a lot of people like that,” senior linebacker/fullback Jovonte Calloway said. “Parents can’t come out and get the kids to practice, and a lot of people have a hard time getting rides out here.” Regardless of the obstacles facing them, the Titans are not relenting. Their nondistrict schedule pits them against five teams with winning seasons in 2011, including Lakeland, L ake Gibson and R idge Community. The Titans have lost only six starters, though, and many of their returning players have starting experience. Wilson said that their team is ready for the challenge. “They put on their pads the same way we do,” he said.

Head Coach: Dave Robson (5th season, 9-31 overall). Coaching Staff: John Cruz DL, Simon Rodriguez DL, Jeremy Hurd OL, Aaron Meyers DC, Alonzo Thompson JV, Jimmy Downing AJV. 2011 Record: 4-6. Last Time In Playoffs: Never. Home field: Mount Olympus Stadium, Lakeland. 2012 Schedule (All games begin at 7 p.m.) Aug. 24 at Avon Park (Preseason) Aug. 31 at Ridge Community Sept. 7 at Lakeland Sept. 14 vs. Poinciana Sept. 21 at Lakeland Christian Sept. 28 vs. Lake Gibson Oct. 5 at Auburndale Oct. 19 vs. Lake Wales Oct. 26 at Frostproof Nov. 2 vs. Mulberry Nov. 9 at Fort Meade

“There’s nothing scary about them, they’re just a bit deeper. We feel like we can compete with the best.”


2012 Schedule (All games begin at 7 p.m.) Aug. 24 vs. Lake Region (Preseason) Aug. 31 at Winter Haven Sept. 7 at Bartow Sept. 14 at Lake Gibson Sept. 21 vs. Ridge Community Oct. 5 vs. Tenoroc Oct. 12 vs. Kathleen Oct. 19 at Mulberry Oct. 26 vs. Fort Meade Nov. 2 at Lake Wales Nov. 9 vs. Frostproof


LIKE A MOUNTAIN: The Titans stand on firm ground with returning players, clockwise from left, LaDarrien Wilson (52), Victor Smith, Brent Deal, Chris Hudson, David Brown, Jovonte Callaway and Darius Frazier (6).

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