Mike Snyder just wants to hit someone. The defensive back will get the chance, several times, when the Lely Trojans finally open their season at Miami-Gulliver Prep at 4 p.m., today.
They were to have hosted Tampa-Catholic High last Friday, but the Tampa school was struck with the swine flu. Nearly 20 percent of the school’s 725 students came down with the flu. The Collier County School District decided to cancel the game for cautionary reasons.
It might have been a benefit in a way as coach Steve Pricer and his assistants went to see the Gulliver Prep Raiders get a preseason win.
“It was like a track meet with both teams going up and down the field,” Pricer said. “Gulliver Prep has an outstanding quarterback, with excellent receivers. On defense they like to swarm the ball and the defensive secondary really gets after the opposition.”
Pricer thinks a plus for the Trojans is that Gulliver, a 2A, school, does not have a lot of players.
“They are not as deep as we are and they play a lot of kids both ways,” Pricer said.
“Our kids are in great condition after working hard all summer. We are fortunate to have backups that will be ready to play.”
He is worried about his offensive line. It returns only a tight end Nick Thorstenson and tackle Max Tyler.
“They (linemen) haven’t played a game together as a unit and that causes concern,” Pricer said.
Snyder, who was second in tackles with 68 last season, has plenty of support in defensive backs with Jhony Faustin, Ronese Sagesse and Donard Noel, along with a defensive line that plays eight deep.
Offensively they have Darion Hall, who is ready to live up to his reputation as one of the backs in the state. He has verbally committed to play the University of Miami and is focusing on having a strong season. A goal of rushing for 2,000 yards may have been hampered by not playing Tampa Catholic. That leaves 10 games and he has a strong running mate in Frankie Pugh.
Lely plays its second non-district game at home against Gulf Coast on Friday, Sept. 11. It doesn’t play a Class 3A, District 14 game until its fourth game at Golden Gate on Sept. 25.
Snyder, who drops down and does pushups when he thinks he hasn’t done what he should - even in practice, is ready.
“This is my senior year and it means a lot,” he said. “I help to make my younger teammates better. I think it is important to play well before our family and friends.”