BROOKSVILLE- It’s been just a short time since John Scargle has taken over as the head coach of the Hernando Leopards’ football program and they haven’t had much in-game time despite spring football coming and going.
The Leopards were supposed to be a part of a 3-team jamboree that was to take place at Tom Fisher Stadium, against Inverness Citrus and Hudson Fivay. Unfortunately, the jamboree was regulated to just one-half of play between the Leopards and Falcons and then Mother Nature cut everything a little short.
All Hernando was able to get in was two-quarters of on-the-field play against another opponent and now the Leopards head into the summer trying to answer questions at a number of positions. Leopards have usually been a heavy run team but the signal caller position is a big question mark.
Obviously, the team is looking to replace 2021 starting quarterback Blake Smith, who has since graduated. Looking to take over at quarterback is John Capel III, a very familiar name throughout the Hernando Leopards’ community.
Capel III’s father, John Capel, was a standout player during his days at Hernando and played primarily running back and rushed for 1,229 yards in 1997. His father ended up becoming an Olympian track star and played football at the University of Florida. The younger Capel now looks to bring notoriety back to Hernando High School.
The Leopards also have questions in the backfield which has been pretty stout the last couple of seasons. In 2020, the backfield was led by running back Contae Cason and then last fall it was the rushing duo of Jordan Williams and Brian Lewis. Both tailbacks are now graduated, bringing up questions on who will be touting the rock for the Leopards this fall.
Also in the front seven for Hernando, the Leopards lose top tackler off the last couple of seasons in Sam Sternberger, who amassed 117 tackles last fall. Hernando’s top returning tackler from the 2021 season is Anthony Talpa, who notched 91.
Talpa will be counted on to be the team’s top returning defensive player. With the lack of a full game in the spring, the next time the Leopards will be together as a full unit will be in August, but until then questions loom on who the new crop of playmakers and will be at Hernando.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.