The Marco Eagles are ready. That is what the football coaches are saying about their opening season games with First Baptist Academy in Naples on Saturday.
Each organization will field two peewee, two junior and two senior teams.
Instead of playing in the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League, the Eagles have joined forces with First Baptist, which is trying to build a football program.
“We have exceeded expectations in our turnout of players and cheerleaders,” Eagle President Greg West said. “We had set a goal of 150 kids between players and cheerleaders. We have around 140 players and 60 cheerleaders.”
Last year 84 players participated and there was no cheerleading squad.
“The acceptance of the program has been overwhelming, including the number of sponsorships,” West said. For those who want to learn more about the organization, or to become a sponsor, go to marcoeagles.com, or call West at 825-7592.
Friday, the Eagle is featuring the senior teams, see photos on pages 12, 14. On Wednesday it will be the senior cheerleaders and on Sept. 19 it will be the junior teams.
Coach Bill Hollowsky and assistant Ken Moss oversee the senior green team.
“We are really excited for Saturday,” said Hollowsky. “We’ve been practicing really hard and the team has several returners from last year. We have gotten a lot of assistance from the Lely High football coaches and our kids are prepared.”
Hollowsky likes the new schedule.
“The league we came from was more of a competitive-focused league,” he said. “What I like is that it is really all about the kids, learning and having fun. With the spirit with First Baptist I think it will make the season more enjoyable, much more competitive, with close games. The kids will have a blast.”
Steve Schneider, coach of the senior gold team, likes that the teams are now based on age, not so much weight. Before if a 12 year-old was lighter the player would be moved to a weight class where the kids would be younger. This year kids will be with others at the same age and maturity.
“This team is less experienced, but we have two really big linemen in Toby McGrath (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) and Quinton Grimm (5-foot-11, 180 pounds).
“We have some talent in the backfield and if we keep mistakes down we will be competitive.”
Games times are: Peewee Green, 8 a.m., Peewee Gold, 9 a.m., Junior Green, 10 a.m., Junior Green, 11:30 a.m., Senior Green, 1 p.m. and Senior Gold, 2:30 p.m.
First Baptist Academy is located off Livingston Road, at Orange Blossom Boulevard. Leaving from Marco, take Collier Boulevard to I-75 North. Exit at Pine Ridge Road and go left on Livingtson Road. Then go left on Orange Blossom Boulevard.
A special thanks to Adam Koszo who took all the photos of all the teams and cheerleaders and will provide more action photos throughout the season.