As an English teacher and high school football coach for the last 40 years, Taravella's Dan Marguriet has seen and read enough to one day write a book.
"I write a lot of things down, keep a lot of notes. I've got a lot of great football stories I'm sure I can share," said Marguriet, 61, who began his prep-coaching career in Pittsburgh in the 1970s before moving to Broward in 1980 and making stops at Pompano Beach High, South Plantation, Flanagan and Cocount Creek along the way.
"I'm always inspired by literature — not necessarily just sports books," Marguriet said. "Whenever I can find a gem of a story, life lesson, inspirational message I'll share it with the team. Nowadays, I'm telling stories of my former players who have become successful over the years in life."
If Marguriet were to write a tale about his 2012 Trojans, he said it would probably read like a Greek Tragedy. Coming off their first district title in 25 years, Taravella finished 8-2, but missed the playoffs when they were knocked out in a district tiebreaker by Deerfield Beach.
The Bucks — this year's favorite to win the revamped, eight-team District 11-8A — knocked off undefeated South Plantation in their next to last game of the regular season to force the tiebreaker, then took advantage of three key Taravella starters being held out by injury to end the Trojans' season.
"We thought we were on cruise control going into that tiebreaker," Marguriet said. "At the end of the season we were doing the same thing a team that was 2-8 was doing — watching everybody else in the playoffs. It was a feeling of of emptiness."
The Trojans, who bring back six starters on offense and five on defense, have returned with a chip on their shoulder, Marguriet said. The team's run-heavy, double wing offense, which produced more than 2,000 yards on the ground last season, will once again ground and pound behind a stellar offensive line.
All-Broward First team right tackle Siffo Pierre (6-5, 317) is back along with three other starters: center Nick Hughes (5-11, 295), right guard Justin Bush (5-11, 240) and left guard Evan Mullins (6-2, 220). The new starting left tackle is 6-4, 300-pound junior Enrique Caraballo.
"People in this day and age talk spread offenses — we talk running backs," Marguriet said. "We've got some holes on the defensive line, but our linebackers, kicking game is going to be good."
Former North Broward Prep running back Semar Smith (5-11, 215) is the new bulldozer in the backfield for Taravella, joining speedsters Jawanza Evans-Morris (5-8, 180) and Roderick Miller (5-8, 160). Smith, who ran for 696 yards and nine touchdowns last season, has offers from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Pierre is the team's top recruit with offers from Marshall, South Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
Taravella opens the season against defending Class 3A state champion University before taking on Plantation, which reached the regional semis in the Class 7A state playoffs last year. Then it's seven district games in a row before closing out the season against Class 7A regional finalist Boyd Anderson.
"If pieces fall into place and our running game stays healthy and we're able to standup against quality spread football teams, then we can compete," Marguriet said. "We're not going to back down from anybody size wise."