The Lely football field was blanketed with 77 hopefuls on its first day of practice Monday.
Of those 77, the number of varsity starters were few compared to other years. Soon they will be divvied up into varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams.
Lely coaches know the varsity will be a bit green, but see some strong potential.
The inexperience showed quickly in the spring game, losing 27-0 to Gulf Coast, in a game that wasn’t that close!
Lely is not looking back.
“Before the spring game all we kept reminding the players was Gulf Coast, now its Chaminade-Madonna,” assistant head coach Brian Johnessee said. “Right now we are concerned about getting our players ready for a very good Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood), a 2B state champion contender.”
Lely opens at Chaminade on Aug. 27.
The players, too, aren’t looking back.
Senior corner back Makinton Dorleant, who has verbally agreed to play at Wisconsin next fall, said, “Teams shouldn’t underestimate us. We are young, but we have speed and if the underclassmen stay focused we could surprise.”
With 4.37 speed for the 40-yard dash, Dorleant will be a threat at wide receiver.
Senior Ben Jean will also play corner back, running back and handle punting and kick-off duties. He said, “We will be good as long as our younger teammates step up.”
Johnessee and head coach Dave Miller know that first-time starters will be key. The only starter returning in the offensive backfield is blocking back Dennis Bastin. Battling for quarterback are senior Patrick Lane and junior Kit Fowler. Senior Davenson Cyceron and juniors Kervens Beauplan and Hayden Hanscom are all potential starters for the first time.
“Hanscom has been impressive, but has no varsity experience,” Johnessee said. Ccyeron also will be a key defensive back.
Heading the freshman team is Julio Servantes. He knows he sets the building bar for the Lely program. "My main focus is to teach Lely football, but also to build men of character."
On the first day, the first 30 minutes was taken up by coaches telling the players their expectations.
“We wanted them to know our expectations every day, every single practice and every single game,” Miller said.