Spring Football: The Wave Roundup
Spring Football Final RoundUp By: Jay carroll
As long as we waited for more football, it’s already over. That quick. Time to wait a little longer. But we have plenty to talk about until the fall. Plenty of position battles, young guys, and new guys.
But, today is about the spring, and every moment of it was to die for.
First, let’s start with the Spring Game. I really like what I saw from the boys in orange pants. The Wave played one quarter against Hawthorne High School and played one quarter against Newberry High School, beating HHS 14-6 and losing to NHS 7-0.
Even though we lost the second game to the Panthers, great things were happening all over the field in both games.
One thing that stood out to me, was that the offensive line who was really young last season was pretty impressive, especially in the first game against HHS. The aging offensive line, led by now-veteran juniors-to-be left tackle Nick Maccioli and center Isaiah Malone, were pushing the Hornets right off the ball and made some big holes for the run game.
Israel “Izzy” Wilcox was the man running with the pigskin through those holes. Only measuring up as 5’5 with big shoes on, Hawthorne could not stop mighty Izzy from pounding the rock. Wilcox had at least three very good runs with really only one real offensive possession vs HHS.
It became very clear, very early, that Israel Wilcox will be a focus point of the Blue Wave offense this season and of the defenses trying to stop him. Our point guard of the Wave varsity basketball team scored our only offensive touchdown of the night with a four yard run.
The defense played pretty well, for the most part. Hawthorne's Justin Wright broke a very long run, out ran our safety and took it to the house. Besides that, the defense was pretty solid. We were hitting hard, we stopped the run, and I can’t remember a pass of any significant yardage being completed. Not to mention the interception by junior Tyler Jordan with the amazing, “Neon” Deion “Primetime” Sanders-looking return all the way for six for our only other touchdown of the day. The defense was nice.
Now, of course what everyone wants to hear about, the quarterbacks. Considering it was both of their first games ever, Jacari Byrd and Dillon Brown were both very impressive. Dillon played first against Hawthorne, followed by who Jacari played against Newberry.
Dillon showed he could manage the game. Brown ran the huddle very well and controlled the line.
It seemed like when Dillon was in at QB, the team didn’t make many, if any, mistakes. Brown didn’t throw much but showed great talent with his feet, making a couple of Hornets look silly and showed good leadership. Dillon didn’t get much of an opportunity to prove his throwing ability as a result of only having one real drive, but where he got the upper hand over Byrd was how smoothly the team ran when he was in the game.
When Jacari was on the field, the offense had a little bit of a tougher time moving the ball and Byrd, himself had to punt a couple of times. To be fair, Jacari was playing with some of the younger guys and against a probably little bit better team in the Panthers. Even with the slow start, Jacari actually threw the ball extremely well. He looked very natural rolling out of the pocket and was just fun to watch. He showed a little bit of his arm a couple of times and really started getting hot on the last drive, hitting his last four throws in a row before the clock ran out. He made three good throws across the middle including, a pretty great pass to Tyler Jordan who, broke a couple of tackles and extended the play.
It’s no secret big changes are coming to Blue Wave football and apart of that is the new wave of guys coming up on Varsity from the many dominant middle school teams in the past. Apparently there are some big hitters coming up according to QB’s coach Kevin Doelling.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who actually didn’t play last year but were on campus, a couple of guys like Danny Burroughs and Reshard Mavin, a couple of my younger guys, the eighth graders that are coming up on the Varsity level, we got Taylor Kendrick and Jamie Bennett,” coach Kev said. “It will be exciting to watch them step up to their new roles and playing with the bigger guys and see how they handle it and I expect some pretty big things from them.”
Some of these young guys got some playing time in the Spring Game and even made some plays. Mavin caught a pass and was targeted more than once. Burroughs was active on the defensive side of the ball and a few more young guys did some good things.
Big changes could also come in the style-of-play of the offense. Typically, going from a pure passing, pocket quarterback to a more running orientated guy, the offense’s style would drastically change. Coach Johnson doesn’t see that big of a change in the versatile offense.
“Well our offense has always been multiple, multiple formations. We run from no backs all the way to three backs,” the head coach explained. “We have formations that are more conducive to a scrambling quarterback if you go to the one-back type situations and the no-back type situations with Spreads and Trips. With those guys being athletic, we always have the capability to call that stuff and do it. What they do well will determine how much we actually put them in the run/pass option type things. And also they can option the football out of the spread or they can option it out of a traditional wing type offense, so their mobility gives us a lot more leverage to do different things.”
Another other big way to make the team better is getting a couple of guys from other schools. Transfers are huge and can impact the team right away. Lord knows, all the teams that were impacted by great players that left P.K., a list of names wouldn’t fit in a thousand words. But get pumped, the Blue Wave is about to be on the winning side of this and listening to coach Johnson, we might be hitting the talent jackpot.
“We’ve got four freshman that’s suppose to be, they have been accepted into the school,” Coach J said. “They’re all skill position guys. They’re four of the best freshman in Gainesville. They are all-around-athletes type guys.”
That would be huge for the Blue Wave to get four really talented skill position guys who can really make things happen with the ball.
There are definitely big expectations for the Blue Wave this year, but no one is more excited about what they have got coming next fall than the coaches and players. There is a big level of anticipation and confidence within the program this year.
“I expect good things,” coach Kevin Doeling excitingly said with a sense of “just wait”. “I always do and I’m very excited as always. The kids bust their butts and they deserve everything, as long as they keep working and stop using excuses. We’ve always been a small school, we’ve come a custom to not having the numbers other schools have but this year is gonna be a little different. We got a couple of dogs out there who are ready to go hunting and as long as they stick to that roll and they do their job, I think this season will be a little different then what we we’ve seen in the past.”
Coach J also gave his thoughts in another interview.
“Well, I think that if all the guys that are here stay out for the team and if we were able to pick up another lineman or two from somewhere here in the school or if somebody transfers in and we get a little more depth at the line there, we could be good,” The veteran coach continued. “I think they could easily have a winning season if they stay together. We definitely have the talent and if we’re physical enough upfront on offense and defense, there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll have a winning season.”
Our two QB’s Dillon & Jacari also have strong feelings of the Wave doing much better than last season.
“I’ve got a good feeling about this year. I know we don’t have the biggest team but I feel like if we come together and play as a team we will get some W’s,” Byrd said.
“I feel like this year is gonna be good. Like ‘Cari said we don’t have the biggest team but we have a lot of warriors, a lot of men that really want to do it so, this year should be good,” Brown added.
I do think P.K. will be much better this year. This team is still very young, so I think the Blue Wave definitely have better years to come. I see the 2018 season as the season where all the pieces come together. But, we should definitely improve.
The team has gotten older, especially the line. I think a lot of this season rides on the lines, offensive and defensive. They will ultimately be the deciding factor on how far P.K. goes this season. Football starts in the trenches, the line is a little older, and they have to come and play.
I think the quarterbacks will do better than expected, the secondary and linebackers look strong and fast, and we should have a lot of talent at the skill positions.
The 2017 season will be huge for Blue Wave football.
Now, just to wait until fall…..
Go Blue Wave!
@waverunnerpky & @jaypky on Twitter