SPRING HILL- This past year hasn’t made the most sense and during this time there was a bit of change to a Hernando County prep sports team that really threw things off balance.
That was the Springstead Eagles’ prep football team going through a rebuilding season, as Mike Garofano’s group had themselves a trying campaign. The Eagles went 1-5, and despite the return of former head coach Bill Vonada as an assistant, things were still tough sledding for Springstead. Now with the ability to utilize a full off-season program and getting the spring to practice, the Eagles are looking to steer the ship back to their usual winning ways. Garofano touched on how the team plans to tackle the spring. “Just get back to the basics of blocking, tackling, and taking care of the football,” Garofano said. “We outplayed most of our opponents last year but lost the turnover battle in every game and that's not typical of Springstead Football.”
Something that wasn’t atypical of a Springstead club was the giveaways to opposing teams and not being able to dominate opponents with its run game. Playing out of the Flexbone offensive system, the Eagles have always had the luxury of wearing opponents down all throughout the game. Last season, the Eagles rushed for 1,242 yards on the ground and were led by running back RJ Mariani’s 644 yards. Now with Mariani graduating, Garofano and his staff will have to find new playmakers in the backfield and he’s already identified players that he’s expecting to step up into bigger roles.
“(Cross Licht) great kid, never missed a practice or workout in 3 years so far,” Garofano said. “(Luca Garguilo) shifty back with good vision and (Owen Andress) more of a power back, plays soccer and baseball as well.”
Another element that Springstead also prides themselves on is protecting the football and at times, the Eagles did not do that. The Eagles didn’t give up more than 24 points to any opponent last season. (That total was given up against Tarpon Springs East Lake.) When Garofano was asked what his club needs to improve on, he pointed out he’d like to see improvement on protection of the ball on offense.
“I like how we played defensively last year so I would like us to continue with the defensive tenacity and do a much better job of protecting the ball on offense,” Garofano said. “We take care of the football and we'll have a chance to win every game on our schedule.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.