The Marco Eagles are ready for their fourth season, with all the coaches looking to positive results when they open at home against Hialeah on Saturday at Mackle Park in the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.
This year they have four teams instead of five, merging the 70 pounders with the 90 pounders for a 90-pound team.
The teams were combined to provide more players on the 90-pound team as there were fewer light weights signing up this season.
While some of the team members may be lighter than their opponents they are bigger in heart.
“The kids have worked really hard, practicing five days a week,” says coach Hector Diaz. “We had a good scrimmage with the Naples Gators and Naples Titans. I think we will be ready for Saturday.”
The 90-pound team boasts 12 veterans on the 23-person roster.
They include Cole Stretton, Cody Young, Nicholas Konkus, Tanner Prange, Tyler Gresham, Brian Kocak, Travis Wilmath, Zach West, Kyle Ginther, Howie Jordan, Hunter O’Neill and Hector Diaz.
Newcomers are Joshua Beighta, Andrew Delgado, Evan Meredith, Cayden and Colton Couture, Daniel Bonte, Torin Amoling, Hakan Peksen, Joshua Wagner, Andrew Hunter and Hunter Stocklein.
Coaches are Diaz and assistants Andrew Delgado, Greg West and Brian Kocak.
The 90-pound team opens the day of games at 10 a.m. The 115-pound team battles Hialeah at 11:15 a.m.
The team has veteran coaches and team members. Kyle Mitchusson, Zack Gober, Sean Hurley, Anthony Macchiarolo, Alex Proehl, Devin O’Sullivan, Cole Cleary, Tarkan Peksen, Drew Stocklein, Clint Mayfield, Jeff Leonia and Lian Hollowsky return.
New teammates include Randy McDuffie, Adam Hurdis, Austin Knoll, Joshua Santil, Jesus Lopez, Joseph Anderson, Kyle Riddle, Kevin Bonito, Julian Alicea and Andy Christensen.
Coach Mike Snyder and assistants Bill Hollowsky, Ray McDougall and Nick Macchiarolo all have coached at least two seasons.
“We have a balance of new and experienced players, with all improving every week on the fundamentals,” said Snyder. “They have come a long way in a short time. We will be competitive (Saturday), but in a game or two I think we will be even better.”
The 125-pound team, that won three games last season, boasts the most veterans, 15, with six new players.
Leading the team will be Luke Bergen, Connor Knox, Joseph Scarpaci, Sawyer Hauk, Wade Davey, Alex Jerrett, James Reinders, Steven Schneider, Reno Landers, Dane Stretton, Michael Mitchusson, Jared Jackson, Kevin Roseboom, Connor Nash and Gage Wheeler.
New players are Matt Benito, Robert Thompson, Kit Fowler, Kyle Adams, Brandon Drake and Ian Kotting.
Coach Steve Schneider is assisted by Jim Jerrett.
Schneider is being a little more optimistic, or maybe more cautious about this season.
Last year he let the team shave off his mustache and beard of many years after they won three games and got into the playoffs.
“This year they have to win four games and win in the playoffs for my beard to go,” he said. “I’ll shave my head too if they go undefeated, but this is a real tough league.”
The 140-pound team is smaller in numbers, but 12 of the 18 are veterans.
They include Patrick Doyle, Haydon Hanscom, Marc Milk, David Moya, Carlos Rivas, Dakota Berry, Carlos Rojos, Jake Dworkin, Victor Lora, Jordan Burnett, Steve Grossman and Matt Bonito.
Newcomers are Christopher Ginther, Elijah Henderson, James Meyer, Oscar Patarroyo, Trevor Weidman and Gary Hardy. Coach Chip Egbert is assisted by Bryan Milk and Mark Doyle.
“We’ve been practicing very well and I think we will be very competitive,” Egbert said. “These guys have come a long way. The offense and defense have their plays down and should play well. I’d like to think that we will have a great year.”
Brian Kocak, who serves as the league’s public relations person, offers a special thanks to the Marco Eagle, which provided an equipment van, the City of Marco Island Parks & Recreation Department for taking care of the field, the many team volunteers who work on the field and in the concession stand and those who have contributed in support of the teams.