The Newsome Wolves are becoming one of the more consistent programs in Hillsborough County, having reached the playoffs for three straight seasons while averaging eight wins per year.
Head coach Christian Yockey has changed the culture at Newsome after being promoted from an assistant in 2018. He’s done a great job developing his players, rather than relying on transfers from year-to-year to fill holes. The team is known for their physical and mental toughness, as well as their strong offensive line play and running game.
The Wolves will have to replace the production of three-year starting running back Jason Albritton, who graduated and is currently playing for the University of South Florida. Sophomore Michael Dempsey will try to fill that void. Yockey said that Dempsey is the same type of running back that Albritton was in terms of running style and has the potential to replace some of the production.
Senior QB Christian Bishop took over as the signal caller last season and had success, throwing 10 touchdown passes for over 1,000 yards. He adds experience and a command of the offense that brings back eight starters from last year, including three offensive linemen. Yockey said that the pocket passer has a strong arm, knowledge of the offense and has developed into more of a leader.
The team returns several key players on offense, such as offensive lineman and three-year starter senior Jesse Jefferson, junior offensive lineman Dwayne Bain, senior receiver Matt Connally, senior receiver/running back J.C. Roque, senior receiver/running back Tanner Easley and senior tight end Tyler Edwards. The sky’s the limit for this potently explosive group of talented skill players as well as beef and experience up front on the O-line. The Wolves will be more balanced than in years past. Connally will also be a big factor in the kick returning game. He had two kick returns for touchdowns last season.
The Wolves return only three defensive starters, including senior defensive lineman Evan Mitchum, junior defensive lineman Eli Hiscock and senior cornerback Albert Soto. They will rely on a bunch of younger players that have been in the program and will have a much bigger role in this 4-3 defense this season.
Yockey said that the biggest thing his team can improve on this season is having a quicker start and finishing games, playing a full four quarters with toughness and urgency. Their motto is “Tough 22.”
“We are just trying to focus on getting everybody at the same level of toughness so that when we get off the bus, we may not look like the best team that gets off the bus, but we are going to be felt just because of the amount of toughness that we have with our program,” said Yockey.
The Wolves love being overlooked and relish the underdog role. Newsome has one of the toughest schedules in the county. They have to face strong opponents such as Plant City, Tampa Bay Tech, Bloomingdale, Wharton, Hillsborough and Gaither; however, expect them to win their new district and close to eight games again.