As the Marco Island Academy football teams heads for its spring game at Oasis Charter in Cape Coral on Thursday night players and coaches brim with enthusiasm. Game time is 7 p.m.
Colby Jones, a big man literally, looks to see plenty of action on offense and defense. He is a complete package in that he can he block, run and be ferocious on defense.
The team took its lumps its first season in 2012, going 2-8. Jones thinks his team can create lumps on their opponents this year.
A year ago they played Oasis in is first-ever game, getting crushed, 55-0.
“I think we are looking good in practice and are more focused this year,” 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 the (spring) game.
The Rays have had the benefit of former Immokalee coach Jerrod Ackley serving as a consultant to help the team, particularly on offense.
“He has been a great asset to us,” said head coach Andy Delgado of Ackley, who will be out of town, missing the spring game. “I think we are all coming together and we have some real assets on the roster and more coming,” Delgado said. The Manta Rays will suit up just 14 players for Thursday, but Delgado said he knows of nine new students registered to attend the school and at least seven transfers planning to play football.
Delgado has purchased a warehouse to be converted into a gym to have a weight room for the players to use in the off season.
“It will also be used for equipment and hopefully we will be able to film each game for review weekly. That will be a great asset.”
All-purpose Jared Jackson again is the team leader. He playa quarterback, running back and defense. First-year player Cole Stretton, who was a 1-2 combo on the basketball team with Jackson, most will get some time at quarterback and running back. Jonatan Kriqi will see duty as a receiver and defensive back.
For the spring game Delgado is looking to see how the added offensive plays stack up against Oasis.