MANATEE -- Bayshore High head football coach Jean P. Gordon has one main goal in mind for Friday night's spring game at home against St. Petersburg.
And it isn't merely to get his young players some time on the field.
"You have coaches that say, 'Well, we're going to look at this and we're going to look at that.' And I like to win the spring game, because it makes for a better summer," Gordon said.
The Bruins finished 5-5 in 2011, and momentum from winning their finale against Sarasota led to solid offseason training.
But gone from last year's Bayshore squad are warriors who refused to quit despite injury. The list includes departing seniors Dominic Everett, Alex Mobley and Clay Hanson.
That's OK, because Bayshore has Calvin Williams to fill the void at tailback.
Joshua Maugherman is gone, too.
But that's OK, because the Bruins have Jon Lewis to replace Maugherman at quarterback.
Williams and Lewis are rising seniors, and each received playing time last fall.
Everett missed some time last year, but played throughout the season with a slight tear in his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
That allowed Williams to gain valuable experience playing tailback, the same position Everett played.
"Our running backs, we were just pieced together," Gordon said. "Dominic was nowhere near what he was the year before. And Mobes, he had a shoulder injury, he had a leg injury. You could see him. He's playing both ways, and he'd come hobbling off. ... You'd tell him to take a rest, and he wouldn't want to come out. And then Hanson was playing both ways. I mean, those kids were warriors. They worked hard."
Getting time in as a tailback last fall should aid Williams heading into Friday night's spring game at home against St. Petersburg.
"A lot more carries, you've got to be more of a leader now," Williams said. "That's the only difficult thing."
Meanwhile, Lewis can throw the ball, an added bonus for the traditionally ground-oriented Bruins offense. He tossed three touchdown passes -- two to rising junior Wes Jackson -- during a 7-on-7 game in Pinellas County.
"We've got athletes at wide receiver," Lewis said. "They can catch the ball. ... We had them last year, but another year under their belt getting stronger, getting faster, they're going to be a lot better this year."
Since January, Gordon said he has been pleased with his players' work in the weight room. There are several players who have caught his eye so far this spring, including rising junior offensive lineman David Benson (6-foot-2½, 298 pounds) and rising junior tight end/cornerback Zach Stuber. But the work in the weight room and on the practice field is only a precursor to Friday night's game.