Anclote heads into spring with good vibes

HOLIDAY – Changing the culture of Anclote Sharks football was in no way going to happen overnight for first-year coach Antony Smith.

The former Lake Weir High School assistant had his work cut out for him, but he was able to get Anclote through the course of the season. The Sharks ended up finishing with a record of 3-8, but Anclote played very competitively with many teams last season.

Getting to the postseason ended up being a big confidence boost for the football program as a whole, as the Sharks won a play-in game versus Brooksville Central and faced Zephyrhills in the first round. Now with on-the-job training out of the way, Smith is excited for the the spring practices to begin.

“Well, I would say I learned a lot fast with new COVID protocols and guidelines and running a program,” Smith said. “Having a reliable staff definitely helps in more situations than not. Absolutely our kids were excited about the (playoff) game and were chomping at the bit to play.”

Talent wasn’t an issue with Anclote last season, as many of the top players on offense and defense were underclassmen. The quarterback position should be an area of strength, as both Quinton Moore and Austin Shade are back in the fold. Dominic Marotta should be a standout at wide receiver according to Smith.

The team’s second leading tackler, Moore, is slated to be back as well. Though the Sharks lose leading rusher and tackler Thomas Crawford due to graduation, this Anclote team has a lot to look forward to and interest in playing has grown within the school.

“I would say the little things, like holding one another accountable (is improving), and we had good numbers out for 7-on-7,” Smith said. “Our kids are familiar with our system that was implemented last year, so it made things a bit easier. Yes, we have gained new interest. The kids like our coaching staff and are buying into the new way of life. They definitely trust the process.”

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.