It doesn’t take a lot of things to make a football season go awry. A major injury here (or in our case, here, there and everywhere), a depleted supporting cast, and a new quarterback can really make a difference in the success of a season. However, this has not been the case for the Shorecrest Charger Varsity Football team. Coming off a 1-6 seasons, the Chargers are red hot (going 4-2 so far this season) and have qualified for a spot in the SSAC playoffs, the first for Shorecrest in a very long time. A win would guarantee a third winning season for Coach Steven Dudley in last four seasons.
The Chargers have had a lot of opportunities to call this a lost season. Year-ending injuries to key seniors and team leaders LB/TE Hunter R, the teams leading receiver, FB/LB R.J Ae, the teams leading rusher, and TE/DE Cooper L could have spelled the end for a once-promising season. A first-year quarterback in sophomore Max S and a new offensive scheme could have caused miscommunication and ineffectiveness on offense. But Max and other players, such as Wide Receiver Cole P, who missed most of last season with a head injury, and OT/DE Ashton R, have stepped up and become key contributors for a team that sorely needed them. The Chargers only have 24 players on their roster, 4 of which did not play Friday due a myriad of injuries*. The team they played on Friday has 30, which is still considered a small amount.
Shorecrest wins have not come against inferior competition. At least two of Shorecrest’s wins have come against opponents that won their first playoff game in Out If Door Academy and Canterbury Fort Myers. Shorecrest was Canterbury’s only loss of the season.
It’s hard to pinpoint what caused the change in fortune for the Chargers, but some players have their own ideas.
I asked two of our wide receivers and corners and got their opinions:
Logan S, ( Class of 2019), “ We have a lot more seniors this year. We have more depth than last year, especially for Defensive Backs. Our lineman has developed more and we just have more experience. We’ve really progressed as team”
Cole P. (‘19) mentions a different reason: “We have more dedication and we have really come together as a team. We care more and have contributed more as a team.”
Fan Rhett K. (‘19) sums it up well: “The school spirit this year has outstanding, and with so many seniors on this team, having so many fans it provides a boost for the moral and makes them want it more. The homecoming game would be a great example where the crowd was really involved.”
The Chargers have 13 seniors this year, which as many as 10 of will start. They all have put in countless hours of practice and workouts since May, the start of Spring Football. And I can say for all of them, We want to make this a season to remember.
*Cooper Lanigan, R.J Ayers, Dominic Murillo, will not play on Friday. Noah Saylor is a gametime Decision.