The Optimist Eagles football program played preseason games against the newly formed South Naples Pirates teams on Saturday in their football jamboree.
All three Optimist teams and the Marco Island Charter Middle School team played.
The Optimists are fielding three teams this season in different age groups. The youngest Eagles team, the Junior Pee Wees, ages 6 to 8, are being led by head coach James Gates, assisted by John Campbell. The Pee Wee team, ages 9 to 10, are being led by Marty Keefe, with David Vergo and David Love assisting him. The oldest Eagle team, the Juniors, ages 11 to 12, are being led by Eddie Webb, with assistance from David Vergo and Joel Pierce.
The Junior Pee Wee team opened the day with a great game that saw them jump out to an early lead, then never looked back. Coach Gates said he could not be prouder of how the kids played their first game and that every player did a great job. The youngest Eagle team played hard to the end and won 18-6 over the Pirates.The Pee Wees also played a great game, moving the ball down the field at will, being led by quarterback Ryan Wallace. The team did a great job on defense, holding the Pirates to just one touchdown, while the offense was able to put 26 points on the board. Coach Keefe and Coach Vergo both said that it was a great opening to the upcoming season and that they are really proud of the teams effort since most of the kids had to play both ways,.They just did not stop, they did a great job. The Pee Wee team ended the game with a win over the Pirates, 26-7.
After watching the two younger Eagles team play, and bring home victories, the Junior team had its work cut out for them. The South Naples Pirates team was bigger than the Eagles, but the Eagles team thought they could do what they needed to and make it a clean sweep for the day.
As the game started the Eagles offense come out and started moving the ball down the field, but after getting the first down the drive stalled. The butterfly wings started to grow bigger than the Eagles wings that had started the game.
Coach Webb said they were doing great and the team made Pirates fight for most every point they got. We could not get it going again after the first series and get the points. The special teams groups did a great job, and we see what we need to work on, but with only having two weeks of practice before this game I am really proud of the effort they kids gave. The Pirates handed the Eagles a loss, 20-0.
The regular season opens on Sept. 8 at First Baptist of Naples for all the three Eagles teams. All the teams are looking to have a great year.