Even in light football gear, the Lely football team was sweating.
Partly from the heat and partly from the competition.
“I’m excited about our team,” coach Steve Pricer said.
“We have a lot of athleticism overall and our seniors have shown great leadership, even through the winter months.”
The only area the team seems short of experience is in the offensive line. The only returnees are tight end Nick Thorstenson and tackle Max Tyler.
“We were real deep on defense so we are able to move some of those players over,” Pricer said. “Brian (Johnessee) has a lot of work to do with the line, but we have the blue-collar kids who will work hard.”
What Pricer is really pleased about is the academic side of the team.
“We are blessed with kids that have gown up and realize the importance of being eligible and ready to play” he said.
While he lost an outstanding quarterback in Dennis Marcelin, Pricer likes what he has in last year’s backup Sean O’Regan, Patrick Lane and Gaeto Dantes.
Back to Lely is Jerrod Ackley, the new offensive coordinator. He returns after being out of state for a year. He served as the defensive coordinator in 2007.
“This is a great fit for me,” Ackley said. “I’ve always preferred coaching the offense.”
He has two strong running backs returning in Darion Hall and Frankie Pugh.
When asked about the offense, he said, “We only have one football. We want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and thinking about the team goals.”
Hall led the area in all-purpose yards, averaging nearly 15 yards a carry. Pugh came on strong at the end of the season and Pricer thinks they will run a two-back offense.
When asked if teams will look to shut down the running game, Pricer said, “I hope so. We have kids who can throw and catch the ball. We may have the best receiving corps we’ve ever had.
We have 110 kids out, 52 sophomores and 58 seniors and juniors. We’ll pair it down to 94 by the spring game.”
The Trojans will host Clearwater-Countryside at 7 p.m., May 28.