2019 Space Coast Daily, Friday Night Locker Room Prep Football Preview

By  //  August 8, 2019

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THE SPACE COAST DAILY – FRIDAY NIGH LOCKER ROOM TEAM IS BREVARD'S #1 SOURCE FOR SPORTS

Welcome to the Space Coast Daily/Friday Night Locker preview edition of Brevard County high school football for the 2019 season. This is the 25th season of high school football coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room – brought yo you by Erdman Automotive.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Welcome to the Space Coast Daily/Friday Night Locker preview edition of Brevard County high school football for the 2019 season.

This is the 25th season of high school football coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room – brought you by Erdman Automotive.

The 2019 season is filled with talented student-athletes all across Brevard County and many are being sought after some of the best college football teams across the country.

With many decisions to be made by numerous athletes on where to pursue their college dreams, the Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room team is your go-to source for the latest announcements and commitments made by the athletes.

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Last year, nine Brevard County teams received bids to the postseason, which is the highest number of Brevard County teams to make the playoffs in one season.

This season, local teams are looking for another record year. Teams are not only looking to make the playoffs but win championships.

With high school football season upon us, excitement for football can be felt across Brevard County as teams prepare for 2019, season which gets underway August 16 with the Kickoff Classics.

SPACE COAST DAILY TV: The Friday Night Locker Room was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. This is the 25th season of high school football coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room. All the action is brought yo you by Erdman Automotive.

This year’s coverage on Space Coast Daily TV will feature a dynamic broadcast lineup that was the first official media entity to bring prep football play-by-play coverage on radio and TV to Brevard County.

Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Steve Wilson and Orville Susong of the Friday Night Locker Room will once again bring you all the live action from the broadcast booth.

In addition, Chris Bonanno, Jordan Rocco, Matt O’Hern and Zach Clark will anchor play-by-play broadcasts this season.

The broadcast teams have a total of more than 100 years of covering high school football in Brevard.

These Live broadcasts will feature cutting edge coverage on Space Coast Daily TV, featuring player interviews, replays, highlights, pre-game and post-game analysis and much more.

BEST IN THE BUSINESS: This is the 25th season of high school football coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room. Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Steve Wilson and Orville Susong of the Friday Night Locker Room will once again bring you all the live action from the broadcast booth. In addition, Chris Bonanno, Jordan Rocco, Matt O’Hern and Zach Clark, Giles Malone and Tom Palermo will anchor play-by-play broadcasts this season. All the action is brought to you by Erdman Automotive.

Mike Erdman Automotive will once again present the Space Coast Daily – Friday Night prep sports coverage on Space Coast Daily TV.

SEE TEAM PREVIEWS BELOW

ASTRONAUT WAR EAGLES

– 2018 Record: 10-2
– Head Coach: Justin Worden (3rd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – vs. Centennial
August 23 – vs. Eau Gallie
August 30 – @ Merritt Island
Sept. 6 – @ Melbourne Central Catholic
Sept. 13 – vs. Lyman
Sept. 20 – vs. Palm Bay
Oct. 4 – @ Sebastian River
Oct. 11 – vs Space Coast
Oct. 18 – @ Atlantic
Oct. 25 – @ Heritage
Nov. 1 – vs. Titusville

– 2019 Outlook –

Steve: Astronaut only lost one regular season game last year, and that was to Merritt Island by one point, 10-9. The defense was outstanding all year long. Look for the War Eagles to continue to improve under head coach Justin Worden.

Chris: Head coach Justin Worden and his staff turned in one of the best performances as a whole you’ll see in 2018 as the War Eagles were the surprise of the Space Coast, finishing 10-2 in the regular season.

Can they do it again? Very possibly, thanks to the return of senior running back/wide receiver/cornerback Jaiden Dollard. Last year, Dollard, according to MaxPreps, averaged 9.3 yards per carry en route to amassing over 1,200 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns on the ground. Dollard also led the team in receptions as well.

The War Eagles will also look to replicate their outstanding defensive performance from a year ago as Astronaut allowed more than 20 points twice in the regular season last year, with the War Eagles still coming out on top in both contests.

Rocco: Astronaut had an impressive 2018 season finishing 10-2. The War Eagles made it to the playoffs but were eliminated by the Cocoa Tigers. Going into the 2019 season the War Eagles look to continue to improve and grow.

Senior Jaiden Dollard, Space Coast Daily 2018 Athlete of the year, will help lead the team and have another successful year. The Astronaut War Eagles will have a solid season.

Zach: The War Eagles are ahead of schedule as Coach Worden enters his third year as head coach.

Winning a playoff game last year and facing off against last year’s State-Runner Up Cocoa Tigers was a big step for this storied program. Old smashmouth football has been the War Eagles staple to success and it could propel them to a second straight playoff appearance this year.

BAYSIDE BEARS

– 2018 Record: 4-6
– Head Coach: Corey Broomfield (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – vs. St. Cloud
August 30 – @ Satellite
Sept. 6 – vs. Melbourne
Sept. 20 – vs Space Coast
Sept. 27 – @ Auburdale
Oct. 4 – @ Eau Gallie
Oct. 11 – vs. Heritage
Oct. 18 – vs. Gateway
Oct. 25 – vs. Lake Gibson
Nov. 1 – vs. Palm Bay

– 2019 Outlook – 

Steve: The Bayside Bears won more games last year, under Coach Corey Broomfield, than they did the last three years. According to Coach Broomfield, “year two in the program we are looking to establish ourselves as a competitor in this county and put Bayside back on the map as a Football School.”

Chris: It’s hard to reach much into spring football results, but is Bayside’s 44-0 win over Cocoa Beach in May a harbinger of things to come? The Bears feel like a team on the rise after last year’s 4-win campaign in head coach Corey Broomfield’s first season at the helm.

Bayside is now embedded with four other teams in a revamped Class 6A, District 9 along three new opponents in Kissimmee Gateway, Lake Gibson and Auburndale along with Heritage.

All three schools outside of Brevard had losing records last year, so it’s not unfathomable that Bayside could be in the hunt for a district championship if they’re somehow able to get past Heritage this fall. That’s an incredible accomplishment for a program that went winless in 2015 and 2016 and won just one game in 2017.

Zach: Coach Broomfield has the Bayside football program heading in the right direction after year 1 with him at head coach.

Expect Bayside to become more competitive against tougher schools on their schedule like Heritage and Palm Bay, unlike previous years.

The schedule is favorable for the Bears.

COCOA TIGERS

– 2018 Record: 10-4
– Head Coach: Ryan Schneider (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – vs. Viera
August 30 – @ Hoover
Sept. 6 – vs. Osceola
Sept. 13 – @ Sebastian River
Sept. 20 – @ Heritage
Sept. 27 – vs. Glades Central
Oct. 4 – vs Mainland
Oct. 18 – vs. @ Venice
Oct. 25 – vs. Holy Trinity
Nov. 1 – @ Rockledge

COCOA TIGER QUARTERBACK DJ ARROYO returns for his junior year and is already getting looks by some big-time colleges, thanks to his prolific arm and elusiveness in the pocket. Add to the Cocoa Tigers’ bag of tricks, a Rivals 2020 Top 250 prospect in RB Caziah Holmes and Florida 2020 commit OL Richie Leonard, This offense could be a well-oiled machine come playoff time.

2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Tigers had, by their standards, a bit of an uneven regular season under first-year head coach Ryan Schneider but the transition from a grind-it-out, power running offensive system to a spread look paid huge dividends in the postseason. Their third consecutive run to the state finals was punctuated by a pulsating come-from-behind win over a loaded Ft. Lauderdale University team 32-31.

If Cocoa plays as well defensively as they did during the postseason run, you’d have to favor them to make a fourth consecutive state finals appearance, especially in what appears to be a wide-open northern half of Class 4A. That the Tigers return the potent backfield combination of quarterback D.J. Arroyo and running back Caziah Holmes doesn’t hurt either.

Zach: Having made it to the State Championship game three-straight years, the Tigers are primed to make it a fourth if they can stay healthy. This team will be exciting to watch on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback DJ Arroyo returns for his junior year and is already getting looks by some big-time colleges, thanks to his prolific arm and elusiveness in the pocket. Add to the Cocoa Tigers’ bag of tricks, a Rivals 2020 Top 250 prospect in RB Caziah Holmes and Florida 2020 commit OL Richie Leonard. This offense could be a well-oiled machine come playoff time.

If Cocoa wants to hoist the State Championship trophy this year, it may come down to the defense to get them over the finish line. The revenge tour starts early for Cocoa when they face off against Viera in week 1, who defeated the Tigers in a 49-42 slugfest last year.

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COCOA BEACH MINUTEMEN

– 2018 Record: 4-6
– Head Coach: DeMarkulus Menyfield (1st year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – @ Orangewood Christian
August 30 – vs. St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine)
Sept. 6 – @ Warner Christian Academy (South Daytona)
Sept. 13 – @ Father Lopez
Sept. 27 – vs. Satellite
Oct. 4 – @ Trinity Christian Academy (Deltona)
Oct. 11 – vs. Cornerstone Charter Academy (Belle Isle, FL)
Oct. 18 – vs. Legacy Charter (Ocoee, FL)
Oct. 25 – @ Trinity Prep (Winter Park)
Nov. 1 – vs. Poinciana

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Minutemen will have a new leader this fall as DeMarkulus Menyfeld comes over from Viera to lead the squad. Last year’s team provided reasons for optimism by posting a 4-6 record.

Offensively, Cocoa Beach may look towards junior running back Alam Rosario to lead the offense. Last year, Rosario posted impressive offensive stats according to MaxPreps, averaging 6.1 yards per carry while finding the end zone six times.

One quirk in the schedule: The Minutemen will face off rival Satellite earlier than normal this year with the annual “Beach Bowl” set for September 27 in Cocoa Beach.

Zach: Coach Menyfield takes over for David Lowe who retired last year. The Minutemen will be challenged early on as four of their first five games (including Kickoff classic Aug. 16 @ Pine Ridge) will be on the road. Cocoa Beach’s rivalry game with Satellite will be much earlier than previous years when the two rivals square off on Sept. 27.

The Minutemen will have to replace RB Ryan Tsarnas who accumulated over 1100 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Junior FB Alam Rosario could help fill the void after he accounted for over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns last season.

In Coach Menyfield’s first year, the win-loss record may not be how you judge the success of this team. Effort and development will be Coach Menyfield’s key focus in year one.

EAU GALLIE COMMODORES

– 2018 Record: 7-4
– Head Coach: Chris Sands (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – @ Astronaut
August 30 – vs. Hernando (Brooksville, FL)
Sept. 6 – vs. Space Coast
Sept. 13 – @ Rockledge
Sept. 20 – @ Holy Trinity (Melbourne)
Sept. 27 – vs. Palm Bay
Oct. 4. vs Bayside
Oct. 11 – vs. Atlantic
Oct. 25 – @ Merritt Island
Nov. 1 – @ Melbourne

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Commodores had a relatively successful season last year, is Chris Sands’ first year as head coach, going 7-3 in the regular season before falling in the first round of the state playoffs at Heritage.

Young players and transfers will have to step up in order for Eau Gallie to replicate that success in 2019 with a whole host of seniors departing including all-everything standout Jarrad Baker, Jr. a UCF signee who stood out in every way imaginable for the Commodores last fall. The good news for the Commodores is that they appear to have a lot of talent to help replace what they lost from a year ago.

Eau Gallie dropped in classification to Class 5A, District 9 this season where they’ll be paired with some challenging competition in Rockledge, Palm Bay, Merritt Island and Port Orange Atlantic.

Zach: Eau Gallie’s offense last year was the storyline in Chris Sands first season as head coach. The Commodores made the playoffs last year before bowing out to Heritage in their first playoff game 38-17.

With QB Jaden Gragg, RB Jarrad Baker Jr. and RB Zachary Passion all graduated, the backfield will be very young and raw compared to last year.

Still, the Commodores do return their two leading tacklers from last year in S Mike Walker (70 tackles, 11 tackles for loss (TFL)) and LB Dink Jackson (67 tackles, 14 tackles for loss (TFL). Look for the defense to carry this team early on while the offense works on their development and chemistry.

HERITAGE PANTHERS

– 2018 Record: 9-3
– Head Coach: Mark Ainsley (6th year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – @ Clearwater
August 30 – vs. Harmony
Sept. 6 – @ First Coast (Jacksonville)
Sept. 13 – vs. Gateway
Sept. 20 – vs. Cocoa
Sept. 27 – @ Lake Gibson (Lakeland)
Oct. 11. @ Bayside
Oct. 18 – vs. Auburndale
Oct. 25 – vs. Astronaut
Nov. 1 – @ Space Coast

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The 2018 edition of the Panthers felt a lot like your typical strong Heritage teams of the last several years: a tough, fast defense that combined with a strong running game and an elusive quarterback in senior Nigel Scott.
The Panthers finished the year overall at 9-3, which included a playoff win over then-district foe Eau Gallie and a very strong performance in defeat against powerhouse Miami Northwestern in the second round.

The 2019 Panthers’ first order of business will be to replace Scott who was a big play waiting to happen for Heritage last season. Replacing him adequately could be the key to another big year.

The Panthers have a mostly new set of district opposition too and the good news is that they should be considered the favorite in a district that includes four teams who had losing records a year ago in Bayside, Kissimmee Gateway, Lake Gibson and Auburndale.

Zach: Coach Mark Ainsley is now the longest-tenured head coach in Brevard County with the retirement of Dan Burke at Palm Bay.

With all of the talk on Cocoa, Viera and Rockledge last year, the Panthers put together a 9-3 record and a second-round playoff appearance that ended in a loss to Miami Northwestern 31-19, who went on to win the Class 6A State Title.

Keep an eye on running back Tay Farmer (junior) this year. Farmer accounted for 1,017 rushing yards and averaged over 7-yards a carry in 2018 as a sophomore. He also averaged 101-yards a game. Replacing quarterback Nigel Scott will be a challenge early on for the Panthers after he amassed over 2,000 yards on the ground and through the air last season.

This year, Coach Ainsley will have a manageable schedule and will welcome the Cocoa Tigers on Sept. 20

Heritage Panthers could be a dark horse in Brevard County, come playoff time.

HOLY TRINITY TIGERS

– 2018 Record: 6-5
– Head Coach: Nate Hooks (6th year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – @ Melbourne Central Catholic
August 23 – @ Trinity Prep
August 30 – vs. Seffner Christian
Sept. 6 – @ Orangewood Christian (Maitland)
Sept. 13 – vs. Space Coast
Sept. 20 – vs. Eau Gallie
Sept. 27 – vs. Trenton
Oct. 4. @ Lake Highland Prep (Orlando)
Oct. 11 – vs. Coral Springs Charter
Oct. 18 – vs. Indian Rocks Christian
Oct. 25 – @ Cocoa

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Tigers were one of the best stories on the Space Coast a year ago as they won a thrilling game over Cardinal Newman in the first round of the playoffs and giving power King’s Academy all they can handle in a 16-7 second-round playoff loss.

The Tigers boast a pair of impressive returning playmakers in senior running back Hill, who ran for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns a season ago, and junior wide receiver James BlackStrain, who caught 39 passes for 715 yards and 6 touchdowns a season ago.

One of the Tigers’ biggest games of the season may not even be one that counts on their overall record as Holy Trinity will face MCC in the teams’ annual rivalry game in the kickoff classic on Aug. 16.

Zach: Head Coach Nate Hooks is a magician every year as he navigates the Brevard County’s smallest team roster every year. Yet, his teams always perform above what you would expect for players that are pulling double-duty, playing both sides of the ball.

Last year, Holy Trinity had less than 20 players on their varsity roster. This year looks to be just over 20 players on the roster. With that, brings some challenges.

However, the addition of running back KeyShawn Spencer will help Holy Trinity’s offense after he transferred from MCC where he rushed for 1,000 yards and averaged nearly 10-yards a carry with the Hustlers last season.

A manageable schedule for Holy Trinity could have this team in a good position for a playoff berth this year.

MELBOURNE BULLDOGS

– 2018 Record: 5-5
– Head Coach: Tony Rowell (1st year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – @ Merritt Island
August 23 – @ Palm Bay
August 30 – @ Space Coast
Sept. 6 – @ Bayside
Sept. 13 – @ Harmony
Sept. 20 – vs. Titusville
Sept. 27 – @ Tohopekaliga (Kissimmee)
Oct. 4. @ Satellite
Oct. 11 – vs. St. Cloud
Oct. 18 – vs. Viera
Oct. 25 – vs. Eau Gallie

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Bulldogs ended their 2018 campaign on a high note, upsetting rival Eau Gallie with a resounding 41-30 victory helping to pull Melbourne up to a 5-5 finish.

They’ll look to continue that momentum under first-year head coach Tony Rowell. To do so, they’ll need to improve an offense that scored more than 21 points just three times last year.

That fact is also of importance given that Melbourne still shares a district with perennial power Viera, not to mention Harmony which finished 9-2 a year ago. St. Cloud and Tohopekaliga round out the district.

Zach: First-year head coach Tony Rowell is hoping to take Melbourne football to the next level. With a notable college career at Florida  and a 6th round draft pick in the 1992 NFL draft, Rowell brings has the resume that could translate to success for the Bulldogs.

Keep an eye out for running back Antonio Wright, who amassed over 1200 rushing yards last year and 13 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10 junior is a three-sport athlete and will turn some heads in the recruiting sphere this year. At only 155-pounds, Wright has been captured on social media squatting 315 pounds earlier this spring.

The Bulldogs schedule is brutal to start with as their first four regular-season games are on the road before their home opener on Sept. 20 vs. Titusville.

MELBOURNE CENTRAL CATHOLIC

– 2018 Record:  6-5
– Head Coach: Walt Ramsay (1st year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – vs.  Holy Trinity
August 23 – @ Calvary Christian (Clearwater)
August 30 – vs. Providence School (Jacksonville)
Sept. 6 – vs. Astronaut
Sept. 13 – @ Atlantic (Port Orange)
Sept. 20 – @ Archbishop McCarthy ( Ft. Lauderdale)
Sept. 27 – vs. Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach)
Oct. 4. – vs. Bolles (Jacksonville)
Oct. 18 – vs. Satellite
Oct. 25 – @ Campbridge Christian (Tampa)
Nov. 1 – @ John Carroll Catholic (Fort Pierce)

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Hustlers will have a new head coach this fall as Walt Ramsay brings what the school says is 38 years of coaching experience to the sideline.

He’ll hope to use that experience to help a Hustler program that made the postseason and which finished 6-5 overall last season after a narrow first-round loss to Father Lopez.

The Hustlers likely are anticipating their Kickoff Classic game as much as any, as they’ll square off with rival Holy Trinity on August 16.

Zach: Losing running back LaAnthony Valentine and running back KeyShawn Spencer won’t be easy for the Hustlers, considering both players each rushed for over 1,000 yards. They also averaged 10-yards a carry. Ouch.

Good news, the offensive line may be the strength of this offense. Defensively, senior middle linebacker Teddy Brunger (6’1 215 lbs) will anchor the defense as he returns for his senior season as the leading tackler (43) returning for the Hustlers.

With new coach Walt Ramsay taking over for Stacey Sizemore, the Hustlers will be looking to build a strong foundation under Coach Ramsay’s leadership.

As a playoff team last season, a postseason berth for the Hustlers this year would be a strong statement in Coach Ramsay’s first year.

MERRITT ISLAND MUSTANGS

– 2018 Record: 5-6
– Head Coach: Hurley Brown (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – vs.  Melbourne
August 23 – @ Gateway Charter
August 30 – vs. Astronaut
Sept. 6 – vs. Menendez
Sept. 13 – @ Palm Bay
Sept. 20 – @ Vero Beach
Sept. 27 – vs. Miami Christian
Oct. 11. – vs. Rockledge
Oct. 18 – @ Atlantic
Oct. 25 – vs. Eau Gallie
Nov. 1 – @ Westwood

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: Death, taxes and Merritt Island football making the postseason. Merritt Island continued its impressive run of postseason appearances last year despite finishing the regular season with just a 5-5 record.

Now, second-year head coach Hurlie Brown will look to develop playmakers on both sides of the ball as Merritt Island attempts to make it back to another postseason bid.

The road to a district title appears rugged with powerful Rockledge including the new Class 5A, District 9 with Merritt Island, Palm Bay, Eau Gallie and Port Orange Atlantic. Still, the Mustangs have a lot of what appear to be winnable games on their schedule, so winning a majority of those would likely lead to Merritt Island making another playoff appearance.

Zach: The schedule lines up for the Mustangs to have a bounce-back season this year. Year 1 to Year 2 is where teams make their biggest jump when a new coach and a new scheme is implemented.

Head coach Hurley Brown has the senior leadership in place to make some noise in the district with Rockledge, Palm Bay and Eau Gallie.

If Merritt Island wants to win the district, the Mustangs defense has to improve significantly from last year after giving up an average of 25-points a game while only averaging 16-points game on offense.

MERRITT ISLAND CHRISTIAN COUGARS

– 2018 Record: 3-6
– Head Coach: Greg Gage (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – vs.  Warner Christian Academy (South Daytona)
August 23 – vs. Eagle’s View (Jacksonville)
August 30 – vs. St. Edward’s (Vero Beach)
Sept. 6 – vs. Halifax Academy (Daytona Beach)
Sept. 13 – vs. Bayshore Christian
Sept. 20 – vs. Joshua Christian Academy (Jacksonville)
Sept. 27 – @ Ocala Christian (Ocala)
Oct. 11. – @ St. John Lutheran
Oct. 18 – @ Seven Rivers Christian
Oct. 25 – @ Kingdom Prep

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: There may not be a more fun environment to watch a high school football than at Merritt Island Christian’s home field. The atmosphere and intimacy of the stadium create an experience that truly is unique in Brevard.

The 2019 Cougars will have an opportunity to play the early portion of their schedule all at home. In what is one of, if not the most unique schedules you’ll ever see, Merritt Island Christian will play weekly their first six games at home and then play the remainder of their schedule games on the road, according to MaxPreps.

Zach: Head Coach Greg Gage is beginning to turnaround the Merritt Island Christian Cougars. Despite having a young team last year, his team managed to win three games which tied their season win total from the last two years, combined.

In Coach Gage’s second year, the schedule is favorable with his first six games at home before ending the season with four-straight away games. With a second year under Coach Gage and a young team that is another year older, the Cougars are building a winner that could reap the rewards the next couple of years.

More experience will translate to more success and opportunities to learn for this young team. It showed itself to be true when, in Coach Gage’s first year as head coach, the Cougars finished their season last year by winning two of their last three games.

PALM BAY PIRATES

– 2018 Record: 4-6
– Head Coach: Dwayne Byrd (1st year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – vs. Melbourne
August 30 – vs. Treasure Coast
Sept. 6 – vs. Harmony
Sept. 13 – vs. Merritt Island
Sept. 20 – @ Astronaut
Sept. 27 – @ Eau Gallie
Oct. 4 – vs. Westwood
Oct. 18 – @ Rockledge
Oct. 25 – vs. Atlantic
Nov. 1 – @ Bayside

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: New head coach Dwayne Byrd takes over after Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer Dan Burke resigned in the spring. Byrd will look to put his stamp on the program early with some changes that include a wide open offensive attack.

Helping with the offense will be MCC transfer LaAnthony Valentine, who ran for over 1,000 yards a season ago at MCC, where Byrd served as offensive coordinator.

The opportunity exists for the Pirates to get off to a fast start, with four straight home games to kick off the season.

Zach: It’s not easy to take over a program that was led by Hall of Fame coach Dan Burke for over 20 years. However, it is now Coach Dwayne Byrd’s team and he is looking to bring a fresh set of eyes to one of the most storied programs in Brevard County.

Running back LaAnthony Valentine, brother of South Carolina running back Lavonte Valentine, is now a Palm Bay Pirate and will lead the Pirates on offense this season.

Palm Bay has always been known for its resilient defense. Last year, that was tested a lot and had mixed results. Look for Coach Byrd to re-establish the Palm Bay defense and help make it a lockdown defense once again.

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ROCKLEDGE RAIDERS

– 2018 Record: 10-2
– Head Coach: Wayne Younger (5th year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – @ Ware County
August 30 – vs. Lincoln (Tallahassee)
Sept. 6 – vs. Columbia (Decatur, GA)
Sept. 13 – vs. Eau Gallie
Sept. 20 – @ Viera
Sept. 27 – @ Atlantic (Port Orange)
Oct. 5 – @ St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
Oct. 11 – @ Merritt Island
Oct. 18 – vs. Palm Bay
Nov. 1 – vs. Cocoa

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: Any doubt that the Raiders were “back” in 2017 was completely extinguished in 2018 as Rockledge rolled to a 9-1 regular-season record that included wins over rivals Viera and Cocoa.

LaDarius Tennison, a former Miami commit, will likely play both ways for the Raiders this season. Last year, he was a terror on both sides of the ball, running for over 1,000 yards while tallying 10 sacks and participating in 124 tackles for Rockledge. He’ll be joined in the offensive backfield by junior quarterback Eljiah Allen who returns after throwing for 15 touchdowns a year ago.

The Raiders’ schedule is brutal. In addition to the renewal of annual rivalries with Viera and Cocoa, Rockledge will travel out of state twice as they’ll travel to Ware County, GA on Aug. 23 and St. Ignatius, OH for a game on October 5. They also host Columbia, another Georgia-based school on and traditional state power Tallahassee Lincoln.

Zach: The Raiders were Brevard County’s best team last season. They proved as much by defeating Viera and Cocoa in the same season. However, it’s a new year and Coach Younger would be the first to say that.

This team oozes with talent across many important positions. Rockledge ran into a buzz saw last year when they fell to American Heritage 31-14

One of the most highly sought after recruits in Brevard County, Ladarius Tennison, can do it all on offense and defense.

His speed is one facet of his game that turns heads. One area of his game that goes unnoticed, his instincts. The leading tackler in Brevard County last year returns for his senior season and other names to keep an eye on is DE Dasani Robinson (6’6 240 LBS), RB Mike Alves Jr. (6’1 204 LBS)

SATELLITE SCORPIONS

– 2018 Record: 4-6
– Head Coach: Ted Kimmey (3rd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – @ St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine)
August 23 – vs. Berean Christian
August 30 – vs. Bayside
Sept. 6 – vs. Father Lopez (Daytona Beach)
Sept. 20 – @ Pine Ridge (Deltona)
Sept. 27 – @ Cocoa Beach
Oct. 4 – vs. Melbourne
Oct. 11 – @ Orangewood Christian
Oct. 18 – @ Melbourne Central Catholic
Oct. 25 – @ Space Coast
Nov. 1 – vs. IMG Academy White

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: Perhaps no team improved more in-season in 2018 in Brevard than Satellite. The Scorpions appeared to be all sorts of trouble after they lost their first two games by a combined score of 110-0 but the Scorpions were able to rally from there and win 4 of their last 8 games, which included a resounding 58-6 win over Cocoa Beach in the teams’ annual rivalry game.
Coach Ted Kimmey and his team will look to build on that finish, and a 56-0 spring win over Titusville this fall.

Satellite does play their annual “Beach Bowl” game earlier this year as the Scorpions will travel to Cocoa Beach on September 27 and a win there could set the tone for a strong second half of the season.

Zach: Last year was a rebuilding year for Coach Kimmey after the great 2017 run by Scorpions. Even though the team started slow last season, they finished strong and carried some momentum heading into the offseason this year.

Unfortunately for Satellite, the schedule will do them no favors this year. Five of their last seven games are on the road, while their last game is at home against IMG Academy White.

It will be vital for Satellite to start better than they did last year.

Look out for senior linebacker Josh (JD) Arnold, one of Brevard County’s hidden gems. Arnold (6’1 227 lbs) was the second-leading tackler in Brevard County after raking in 119 tackles last year. Trailing only to Rockledge’s Ladarius Tennison (124 tackles).

SPACE COAST VIPERS

– 2018 Record: 6-4
– Head Coach: Matt Diesel (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 23 – @ Central
August 30 – vs. Melbourne
Sept. 6 – @ Eau Gallie
Sept. 13 – @ Holy Trinity
Sept. 20 – @ Bayside
Sept. 27 – vs. Titusville
Oct. 11 – @ Astronaut
Oct. 18 – @ Father Lopez
Oct. 25 – vs. Satellite
Nov. 1 – vs. Heritage

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Vipers came up just short in their quest to make the Class 5A postseason last year but had a good year overall, finishing at 6-4 overall.
Junior quarterback Javier Negron showed promise in the Vipers’ 14-6 loss against East River. He is part of what can be a balanced offense. Similarly, if the Vipers’ defense plays with the tenacity that it did in the spring, it should be a force as well in the fall.

Space Coast now slides down to Class 4A, Region 2 where they could potentially face postseason match-ups against Astronaut and Cocoa.

Zach: Space Coast Vipers have gone all-in on Diesel. Head coach Matt Diesel announced the hiring of Hall of Fame coach and his father, Dan Diesel, to be an assistant coach with Vipers this year.

Despite missing the playoffs last year, Coach Diesel took away many positives from his first year as head coach.

Quarterback Christopher Squires returns for his senior year after throwing for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

Look for the Vipers to be in the hunt for a postseason berth in mid-October.

Hall of Fame Coach Dan Diesel Returns To Coaching as Assistant Coach at Space Coast, Will Coach With His SonRelated Story:
Hall of Fame Coach Dan Diesel Returns To Coaching as Assistant Coach at Space Coast, Will Coach With His Son

TITUSVILLE TERRIERS

– 2018 Record: 1-10
– Head Coach: Paul Columna (1st year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – @ Windemere
August 30 – vs. Father Lopez
Sept. 6 – vs Celebration
Sept. 13 – @ Sarasota
Sept. 20 – @ Melbourne
Sept. 27 – @Space Coast
Oct. 11 – vs. Cypress Creek (Orlando)
Oct. 18 – @ Tenoroc
Nov. 1 – @ Astronaut

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Terriers will look for a fresh start in 2019 with new head coach Paul Columna at the helm. Though the Terriers struggled last year, there are reasons for Terriers fans to be hopeful. Slated to return is junior quarterback Austin Gardner, who threw for 869 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2018 and junior running back Jonathan Brown who had 5 rushing touchdowns a season ago.

The Terriers will take to the road for both of their rivalry match-ups this season as they’ll travel to Space Coast on September 27 and Astronaut on November 1.

Zach: Titusville Terrier fans will have to endure some growing pains this year after just naming their new head coach Paul Columna in late July.

“We’ve got a job to do as a program. Right now, it’s one second at a time to build a foundation around the type of young men that we want to view as excellent,” Columna said.

Coach Columna is a former Titusville Terrier, which could bold well for Titusville going forward. Returning the Terriers, to a competitive level will be Coach Columna’s first challenge, despite not having a full offseason to train his team.

“I want quality character over quantity and I’m going to find those kids and I want to find those kids that get good grades, that are good role models in class.”

Titusville High School Hires Former THS Player Paul Columna as Head Football CoachRelated Story:
Titusville High School Hires Former THS Player Paul Columna as Head Football Coach

 VIERA HAWKS

– 2018 Record: 8-4

– Head Coach: Derek Smith (2nd year)

2019 Schedule:

August 16 – Liberty (Kissimmee)
August 23 – @ Cocoa
August 30 – vs. Centennial
Sept. 6 – vs Fort Dorchester (North Charleston, South Carolina)
Sept. 20 – vs. Rockledge
Sept. 27 – @ Harmony
Oct. 4 – vs. Deland
Oct. 11 – @ Tohopekaliga (Kissimmee)
Oct. 18 – @ St. Cloud
Oct. 25 – @ Melbourne
Nov. 1 – @ Vero Beach

– 2019 Outlook – 

Chris: The Hawks may have been one of the best 0-3 teams in the country last year, suffering some early defeats against what was a very difficult early schedule. Still, Viera rebounded and ended up where everyone thought they’d be as district champs.

Though the Hawks were eliminated by Tampa Plant for a second-consecutive year at home in the second round of the postseason, the sky appears to be the limit as junior dual-threat quarterback Bryce Norton leads the Hawks into what figures to be another playoff season, though Viera will have to cope with the loss of two of its bigger playmakers around Norton in seniors Sean Atkins and Shamaar Morr, who combined 138 catches and 26 receiving touchdowns a season ago, according to MaxPreps.

Still, the offenses at Viera over the last few years have been prolific and with Norton returning, that’ll be the case again. The Hawks may encounter more friction than in past years in the district, however, as Harmony, who finished 9-2 a year ago, now joins them in Class 7A  District 5, along with Melbourne, St. Cloud and Tohopekaliga.

Zach: The Viera Hawks return one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Florida. Junior quarterback Bryce Norton leads the Hawks offense this season after exploding onto the Florida high school football landscape as a sophomore by throwing for over 3,300 yards, 32 touchdowns while rushing for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. (NOTE: Norton had a completion percentage of 73-percent in 2018)

Couple of the areas to watch with this team will be the wide receiver positions and defensive back positions. After losing two 1,000-yard wide receivers to graduation (Sean Atkins, Kendrick Shamaar) there are some new faces Norton will be the throwing ball to this year.

Players to watch: WR Davis Mallinger, WR Jeremiah Housey, DE/TE Julius Barfield, DE Jamari Lyons, DE Cooper Davis, DT Jackson Hatfield, S Zak Sedaros

Viera has the pieces in place to make a deep run in the playoffs. The front seven of the Hawks defense will be scary for any offense they face this season.

With D-1 talent across the board, the Hawks have their sights on finishing this season in Daytona at the Class 7A Championship game.

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