Marco Island Academy travels to Solid Rock Christian Academy in Miami with a solid opportunity to win its first varsity game on the field on Friday night.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Manta Rays coach Andy Delgado would like to get that first win and stop having a sentence in a story that reads, "Marco Academy's only win against a varsity team is a forfeit."
The football programs are similar. Both are in their first season and have small student enrollments. Solid Rock is even smaller, with 60 high school students in its K-12 school, while the Academy has 105.
The Solid Rock Eagles are 3-3, with wins against small schools. The Eagles did go up against a 2A foe, First Baptist Academy of Naples and "took a spanking," coach and school principal, the Rev. Rufus Troup said.
And a licking it was, with the Eagles losing, 45-0 to the undefeated Lions. Marco Academy closes out its first season against First Baptist next Friday.
"It will be a good opportunity, we think we can win, (against Solid Rock)," Delgado said. "We have been playing larger schools and taken our beatings, but often the games have been closer than the scores indicate. Special teams have caused us to give up the big plays when for the most part we have played well, particularly in the second half of games."
Delgado also said that in many games it is his freshman and sophomores going up against teams with a lot of experience. In their 45-0 loss last Friday to Gateway Charter the team had 17 seniors and 10 juniors. The Academy does not have a senior class, until next year. It has two juniors and the rest of the 28 players are freshmen or sophomores.
"My offensive line has grown by leaps and bounds," said Delgado. Jordan Roath, Thomas Nugent, Marcus Seiden, Jake Golec are all freshman.
"Golec is growing. One day he might surprise and become a Division I player."
On defense, freshmen Miles Carlisle and Jordan Barrett and Jonatan Kriqi stand out.
"Miles is about 100 pounds, but has no fear, he tackles them all," Delgado said.
For Marco Academy to win Delgado said they need to establish the running game, to open up the passing game.
"Our special teams has to get better so we are not giving them good field position," he said.
Solid Rock's main offensive weapons are quarterback Jordan Fiore and receiver Willy Bradshaw. They have hooked up for six touchdowns.
It will be the Eagles homecoming night.
It marks the third straight game where the Manta Rays have played in a game that was homecoming or senior night. Most schools schedule an opponent they expect to defeat.
The Manta Rays look to spoil the night for Solid Rock.
Lely swimmers go to region meet
Lely swimmers advanced to 2A regional competition at Florida Gulf Coast University on Thursday, with results after news deadline.
They all qualified out of the 2A-Disrtict 10 competition.
Luca Delcompare qualified in the 100 butterfly and the 200 Intermediate Medley. Aaron Bradfield qaulified in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Sadie Prior qualified for the diving competition. Alanna Carey qualified in the 100 and 200 freestyle.
The Lely boys relay team of Austin Roman, Stefan Langebeeke, Bradford and Delcompare qualified, as did the girls relay team of Emily Holton, Erika Jacobsen, Ariana Girousi and Carey.