The Newsome Wolves football team took a huge step forward last season, reaching the regional finals for the first time in their school’s history, finishing with a 7-3 overall record.

The Wolves, under fourth-year Head Coach Christian Yockey, look to take the next step forward and make a run at a state title. Yockey has changed the culture at Newsome since he took over in 2018, focusing on making his players more mentally and physically tough. This year’s senior class, who came in with Yockey as freshmen three years ago, has been up to the task, making the playoffs for two straight seasons. Newsome will rely heavily on this experienced 2021 class that has 34 total senior veterans on the roster.

Senior running back Jason Albritton, who has been a huge part of the Wolves’ offensive success for the last three seasons, expects to carry the load again this season in the Newsome run-heavy, multiple-look spread attack. The four-year varsity starter led the team with 700 yards on 135 carries and 11 touchdowns in 2020.

Yockey thinks that his team’s major strength will be his veteran offensive line and offensive backfield. Key players on those units include senior running back Drew Dempsey, junior speedster running back J.C. Roque, junior offensive line transfer from Tampa Bay Tech Seth Burke, junior offensive lineman Jesse Jefferson, senior offensive lineman Kaeden Eichelberger and junior receiver Matt Connally.

Senior kicker Ryan Eckley will handle punting and placekicking duties. The kicker is getting several D-I looks from Kansas State, Arkansas, Charleston Southern and a couple of military academies. On defense, the Wolves have three key defensive linemen returning, including senior Travis Jandrlich, senior Ryan Green and senior Augustus Teepe. Senior linebackers Caden Huffman and J.J. Johnson will pack some punch. The experienced secondary will be led by senior corner Amiir Austin, senior safety Ethan Robinson and senior safety Khari Anglin

The Wolves will replace last season’s starting QB Kamarii Austin, who graduated, with junior Christian Bishop. He backed up Austin last year on varsity, learning from him and taking his lumps in practice. Yockey said that Bishop has a rocket arm and understands their playbook and passing schemes. He is poised to take over the reins of the offense for the next two seasons.

Newsome will be tested in 2021 with an extremely tough schedule, having to play Bloomingdale, Steinbrenner, Plant, Tampa Bay Tech, Plant City and Armwood. However, Yockey and his players relish the opportunity to play the best. They are off to a good start, as they beat crosstown rival Bloomingdale in their spring game 14-7. The Wolves have a great chance of becoming district champions for the first time since 2010, and moving deep in the playoffs. Their motto for the season is #Fight21, as they try to fight for everything they earn in 2021.

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.