The 2023 Riverview High School Sharks are off to a great start after beating the Spoto Spartans 28-6 in the preseason opener. The Sharks had a significant improvement under first-year head coach Tony Rodriguez last year, winning three more games than the previous season. The team looks to take the next step and make the playoffs for the first time since the 2019-20 season.

The Sharks were hampered by a knee injury to starting quarterback Aaron Turner halfway through the 2022 season. The senior captain will have a chance to help lead his team to a winning record in 2023. Turner had 11 passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns before the injury. Rodriguez said that Turner is a dual threat, has great leadership skills and will be much improved in his second year in their offensive system. The quarterback had two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown against Spoto.  

Riverview is an experienced squad with 22 total seniors on the roster, but they will have to improve upon their lack of depth. They return seven starters on offense and seven on defense. Rodriguez likes his depth at wide receiver. He said that he has three sets of four wide receivers that he can throw out there at any time, and they wouldn’t miss a beat with any of the groups out there.

Running back Dontarious ‘Rico’ Shoats brings explosiveness to offense. The captain had 11 rushing touchdowns and 653 rushing yards on 100 carries last season. The offensive line will be anchored by 6’3 330-pound Jonathan Stark. Receivers Julian Arthurs, Cole Berger and Isaiah Washington will be pass-catching threats. 

Key defensive players include defensive lineman Franki Santiago, linebacker Landon Johnston, cornerback Marcus Carey and defensive backs J.J. Johnson and Alloysius Tyson. Kicker Warren Shriver will handle kickoff, extra point and field goal duties and was 4/4 on extra points vs. Spoto.

The Sharks play in one of the toughest districts in Hillsborough County, having to play Newsome, Durant and Sumner, whom they were winless against last season. Riverview would love to beat top rival East Bay as well. The team was able to gain momentum in the spring game, beating Sumner 7-6. Rodriguez said that they will take things one game and one play at a time and have to eliminate mistakes to improve. The team motto is “Count on me.” They will have a great chance to have a winning record with a winnable schedule early in the season. 

Rodriguez and his program are in need of coaches. If you are interested in helping, contact Rodriguez at 813-952-3132.


8/25 vs. Brandon

9/1 @ Freedom

9/8 @ Chamberlain

9/14 vs. East Bay

9/29 @ Newsome

10/6 @ Alonso

10/13 @ Sumner

10/20 vs. Strawberry Crest

10/27 vs. Durant

11/3 vs. Steinbrenner

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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.