There has been plenty of off-season action after the high school football season officially ended for all Hernando County teams back in November when Nature Coast lost to Clearwater in the region semifinal round of the Class 5A postseason.
Two head coach openings came about, as Hernando and Weeki Wachee went on searches to find new lead men to guide the respective programs. Hernando decided on former Clearwater Countryside defensive coordinator John Scargle and Weeki Wachee landed former Parrott Middle School head coach Jon Malandrucco.
Now we are about a week away from high school teams taking the field once again for spring football practices (non-contact), there are plenty of storylines out on the practice fields. With that being said, we take a look at some of the storylines we will be watching out for this spring.
How will Scargle shape Hernando?
The Leopards were a playoff team last season, but there’s quite a bit of re-tooling that will have to be done. Hernando loses some of its top players from a year ago like running backs Jordan Williams, Brian Smith, quarterback Blake Smith as well and linebacker Sam Sternberger graduating this spring. There’s no doubt talent will be there, but Scargle will have to identify the new faces on offense and defense for the Leopards.
Can Malandrucco change the culture at Weeki Wachee?
For a team that scored 16 points and allowed 399 in 2021, there’s a lot of house cleaning that has to be done at Weeki Wachee. Jon Malandrucco knows a little bit about Hernando County high school football, being a former defensive coordinator at Hernando and middle school head coach at Parrott Middle. He will look to straighten up a defense that has nearly averaged allowing 40 points a game.
Christian Cromer continues to make a name for himself
After a stellar sophomore campaign, Nature Coast running back Christian Cromer is back for more and he will have two more seasons under his belt in varsity football. Cromer picked up a college offer from Army and could be in line for a lot more if he keeps it up. This spring will be about refining more of the offense around Cromer at ‘Running Back University.’
Springstead going through some changes
Could we see the Eagles air the ball out a little more this spring? Bill Vonada isn’t returning to call the offense, but will remain around in a smaller capacity. That could mean a change in offensive philosophy moving forward. Keep an eye on the Eagles’ offensively this spring, as they could go from a run-heavy offense to more balance between run-pass.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.