How successful can the Eagles be? Charter School begins second season

Roger LaLonde/Staff 
 Marco Eagles quarterback Jay Vanderjagt looks down field on a pass play during the team's practice as the season begins.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff Marco Eagles quarterback Jay Vanderjagt looks down field on a pass play during the team's practice as the season begins.

Roger LaLonde/Staff (3)
Mike Vanderjagt, Marco Island Charter Middle School head football coach, explains a play to team members at a practice this week. The team's first game of the season is at home, playing Community School at 6 p.m. on Aug. 30

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff (3) Mike Vanderjagt, Marco Island Charter Middle School head football coach, explains a play to team members at a practice this week. The team's first game of the season is at home, playing Community School at 6 p.m. on Aug. 30

Roger Lalonde/Staff 
 It was dueling quarterbacks at the Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice. At least for practice. In the first game on Aug. 30, Jay Vanderjagt, right, will be the QB and Zach West will be one of his leading receivers.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger Lalonde/Staff It was dueling quarterbacks at the Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice. At least for practice. In the first game on Aug. 30, Jay Vanderjagt, right, will be the QB and Zach West will be one of his leading receivers.

Roger Lalonde/Staff 
 Marco Island Charter Middle School football players race to head coach Mike Vanderjagt, then race back to the goal line in 50-yard sprints each way during practice as the season begins.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger Lalonde/Staff Marco Island Charter Middle School football players race to head coach Mike Vanderjagt, then race back to the goal line in 50-yard sprints each way during practice as the season begins.

Thomas Norman takes a drink on the warm, sunny day, at Marco Island Charter Middle School during the Eagles football practice.

Photo by Rogere LaLonde

Thomas Norman takes a drink on the warm, sunny day, at Marco Island Charter Middle School during the Eagles football practice.

Roger LaLonde/Staff 
 Quarterback Jay Vanderjagt flips the ball out to a runner on an option play during a Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff Quarterback Jay Vanderjagt flips the ball out to a runner on an option play during a Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice.

Roger LaLonde/Staff 
 Tyler Gresham takes a knee during a break at a Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice. Gresham will be one of the keys to a successful season, playing on offense and defense.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff Tyler Gresham takes a knee during a break at a Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice. Gresham will be one of the keys to a successful season, playing on offense and defense.

Roger LaLonde/Staff 
 It was a double oops at the Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice when receiver Elijah Beauplan saw the pass go through his hands, then defender Tyler Gresham dropped the potential interception.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff It was a double oops at the Marco Island Charter Middle School football practice when receiver Elijah Beauplan saw the pass go through his hands, then defender Tyler Gresham dropped the potential interception.

Roger LaLonde/Staff 
 Marco Eagles running back Will Hurst has a convoy of blockers as he runs around end in a team practice, readying for the season.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff Marco Eagles running back Will Hurst has a convoy of blockers as he runs around end in a team practice, readying for the season.

Bon Deese, front right, will put fear in the eyes of his opponent as he leads the offensive line when the football season begins for the Marco Island Charter Middle School. In this practice session he is blocking Jose Perez, who will play defensive back.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Bon Deese, front right, will put fear in the eyes of his opponent as he leads the offensive line when the football season begins for the Marco Island Charter Middle School. In this practice session he is blocking Jose Perez, who will play defensive back.

After a resounding successful first football season, what can the Marco Island Charter Middle School Eagles do in its second?

Head coach Mike Vanderjagt didn't venture to say if the team will again go 7-1, but he thinks he has the makings of a very good team in just a few practices. The season begins with a 6 p.m. home game against Community School of Naples on Aug. 30 at Winterberry Park.

"A year ago we were top heavy, with five or six exceptional athletes, this year we will be more balanced and have more depth at each position," Vanderjagt said.

A question mark is defensive backs.

"We have three weeks to make it happen in those positions," Vanderjagt said.

Bon Deese is expected to lead a very good offensive line. Son Jay Vanderjagt will lead the team at quarterback and Mike Vanderjagt said he has running backs with speed. A favorite receiver most likely will be Zach West at tight end.

As his team goes through drills, Vanderjagt shouts out, "Be a leader not a follower."

Later he tells them "You have to work to get better. If not, you are only cheating yourselves."

He wants his team to care about each other.

"I understand putting in the sweat together in August is hard, but what it means is that you will be better people, better athletes," he tells them.

Jay Vanderjagt understands the pressure he will face.

"Being quarterback is a big responsibility," he said. "I know he (dad) will push me to do my best. I think we will have a really good team."

Of Jay, Mike Vanderjagt said, "Jay wants to be good, it's part of our family expectations for him and me. He is a smart, good athlete."

The team will have a scrimmage against the Golden Gate Pirates at Eagle Lakes off U.S. 41. at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18, to test how far it has come before the season opener.

More photos on marconews.com.

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