Prep football: Marco Island Academy playing spring game at Cape Coral-Oasis on Thursday

Roger LaLonde Staff
Marco Island Academy quarterback Jared Jackson prepares to hit a receiver in the flat during a Manta Rays practice.  After a 2-8 inaugural season, the Manta Rays are looking ahead, planning on showing improvement against Oasis Charter High School in Cape Coral on Thursday night.

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Roger LaLonde Staff Marco Island Academy quarterback Jared Jackson prepares to hit a receiver in the flat during a Manta Rays practice. After a 2-8 inaugural season, the Manta Rays are looking ahead, planning on showing improvement against Oasis Charter High School in Cape Coral on Thursday night.

A year ago, the Marco Island Academy football team played Oasis in its first-ever game, getting crushed, 55-0. Tonight, the two teams will get a preview for 2013 when they play their spring game at 7 p.m. at Storm Field off Chiquita Boulevard in Cape Coral.

In 2012, the Manta Rays went 2-8, with a mixed schedule of junior varsity and varsity games. This spring, former Immokalee coach Jerrod Ackley, who helped the Indians to the state title game last year, has been working with the team as a consultant.

“I think we are looking good in practice and are more focused this spring,” Marco Island’s Colby Jones said. “Coach Ackley taught us a lot and simplified our offense. On defense (coach) Adam (Lowery) has worked us hard. I see no reason why we can’t win this game.”

Ackley mainly worked with the offense.

“He has been a great asset to us,” Marco Island head coach Andy Delgado said. “I think we are all coming together and we have some real assets on the roster and more coming.”

Delgado knows of nine new students registered to attend the school next fall and at least seven transfers planning to play football.

Tonight, Delgado is looking to see how the added offensive plays stack up against Oasis.

In its second season, Oasis Charter’s lone win in eight games was the one against Marco Island. Coach Jason Bowman’s team returns five players. Previously they had played six-man football.

Jeff Meyers and Pierson Wicker will get time at quarterback and be the featured runners for Oasis.

“We have a very inexperienced team, with most of the guys needing playing experience,” Bowman said.

For the Manta Rays, all-purpose Jared Jackson again is the team leader. He plays quarterback, running back and defense. First-year player Cole Stretton, who was a 1-2 combo on the basketball team with Jackson, will get some time at quarterback and running back. Jonathan Kriqi will see duty as a receiver and defensive back.

Alex Excell is back as wide receiver and safety. His biggest play of last season was a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against the St. John Neumann JV team.

Jones looks to see plenty of action on offense and defense. The 6-1, 210-pounder is a complete package in that he can block, run, and be ferocious on defense.

“Colby will also be a slot receiver,” Delgado said. “We have a short spring roster, 15 players, so many will go both ways.”

Also the baseball coach, Delgado is an avid backer of Marco Academy sports.

He has purchased a warehouse to be converted into a gym to have a weight room for the athletes to use in the offseason.

“It will also be used for equipment and hopefully we will be able to film each football game for review weekly in the fall,” he said. “That will be a great asset.”

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