The Lely football team starts spring practice with key positions to fill.
Kit Fowler, who shared quarterbacking duties with Partrick Lane, who graduated, has decided not to play football his senior year.
An outstanding pitcher in baseball, Fowler has decided to play summer baseball on a Reebok traveling team and the Lely Tarpons, the summer-time version of the Lely Trojans. He thinks he has his best chance of getting a college scholarship in baseball.
During the regular season Fowler pitched a no-hitter against LaBelle and had a no-hitter for six innings in a win over Naples.
Freshman Karbiel Dirogene becomes the early focus for Miller.
Miller also is shy of experienced running backs, losing Davenson Cyceron and Dennis Bastin to graduation.
Again, a freshman, John Atamian, has Miller’s eye, while saying “It will be running backs by committee for now.”
Zac Smith, a defensive standout, looks to see time as a running back or receiver.
Miller feels fortunate that he will have three strong offensive linemen back in LJ Greenidge, Stephan Attilus and Kenny Moss.
Greenidge played some tight end last season, but “LJ will be a major factor for us at tackle and this is the position where he will go to the next level. I think he has a bright college future,” Miller said.
Freshman Nick Dotson and Jake Minor are also strong candidates for the offensive line.
Malcolm Perry will fill the gap in punt and kickoff returns. Cody Lucas, Chris Reuther, Jean Charles and Eddie Hernandez give the Trojans speed as receivers.
Max Cavaleri, Adam Hurdis and Perry will be in the defensive backfield.
“We have a lot of players who have worked hard since Nov. 30,” Miller said. “They have committed themselves to giving us the best team we can possibly have.”
Last season Lely had a rough time, going 2-8, with four losses in the final quarter.
Miller obviously expects more, but if Lely gets the right two wins they can make the state playoffs.
In yet another redistricting malaise by the Florida High School Athletic Association, Lely only has Immokalee and Golden Gate in its district. Lely could even go 1-1 in district and be in a playoff as two teams advance.
The Trojans will continue to play Barron Collier and Naples, but other than historic rivalries, the district title will not be on the line.
Also on Lely’s schedule is Gulf Coast, Palmetto Ridge, Riverdale, Cape Coral, Cypress Lake and Northport.
Lely’s spring game is at Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. on May 25.