Ocala Christian Academy football preview

OCA_football

Ocala Christian Academy Crusaders (Independent)

2013 Record:  5-5

Head Coach:  Jason Zimmerman

Key Players:  Trevor Smith (QB/DB/FS, Sr.), Garrett Artman (DE/OL, Jr.), Jacob Miller-Smith (FB/LB, Sr.), Zach Rowe (OLB/RB/WR, Sr.), Nick Weitlauf (WR/OLB, Sr.)

Outlook:  OCA, which graduated only three seniors, returns Trevor Smith at quarterback. Smith has accounted for 3,063 yards and 30 TDs the past two seasons. He’ll have a playmaker in Weitlauf, who led the team with 37 catches for 462 yards in 2013.

Defensively, with the return of Miller-Smith and Rowe, who combined for 152 tackles, the Crusaders will be strong in the middle.  The linebacker corps will anchor a defense that allowed only 256 yards per game last year.

“This team never gives up,” OCA coach Jason Zimmerman told the Ocala Star Banner after a come-from-behind spring game win over St. Augustine Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. “Our last two games of last season we won on the last possession, so they have that confidence that if we have any time left, we can go down and score.”

The Crusaders trailed 16-14 with 2:58 to play in the spring game, but Smith connected with Rowe on back-to-back plays – a 20-yard pass completion, followed by the game-winning 24-yard toss.   Rowe finished with six catches for 75 yards in the game, while Weitlauf hauled in five catches for 66 yards.  Miller-Smith also added a score with an 80-yard fumble return.

2014 Football Schedule*
Friday, August 22 – vs. Oak Hall (Gainesville), TBA (Preseason)
Friday, August 29 – at Central Florida Christian Academy (Ocoee), 7 p.m.
Friday, September 5 – vs. Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto), 7 p.m.
Friday, September 12 – vs. All Saints Academy (Winter Haven), 7 p.m.
Friday, September 19 – at St. Francis Catholic (Gainesville), 7 p.m.
Friday, October 3 – at Mount Dora Bible, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 10 – vs. First Academy (Leesburg), 7 p.m.
Friday, October 17 – at Temple Christian Academy (Jacksonville), 7 p.m.
Friday, October 24 – vs. Faith Christian Academy (Orlando), 7 p.m.

*Pending

Ocala Christian Academy website

“The Prep Zone” will count down to kick-off with a daily preview of high school football teams in the North Central Florida area.  Here are the future release dates:

INDEPENDENTS
June 20 – St. Francis Catholic (Gainesville)
June 21 – Oak Hall (Gainesville)

CLASS 1A-DISTRICT 5
June 22 – Branford
June 23 – Hamilton County (Jasper)
June 24 – Lafayette (Mayo)

CLASS 1A-DISTRICT 6
June 25 – Bell
June 26 – Bronson
June 27 – Hawthorne
June 28 – Trenton

CLASS 1A-DISTRICT 7
June 29 – Chiefland
June 30 – Dixie County (Cross City)
July 1 – Newberry
July 2 – Union County (Lake Butler)
July 3 – Williston

CLASS 1A-DISTRICT 8
July 4 – Wildwood

CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 2
July 5 – Trinity Catholic (Ocala)
July 6 – PK Yonge (Gainesville)

CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 2
July 7 – Fort White

CLASS 4A-DISTRICT 4
July 8 – The Villages
July 9 – Bradford (Starke)

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 5
July 10 – Belleview
July 11 – Crystal River
July 12 – Dunnellon
July 13 – Eastside (Gainesville)
July 14 – North Marion (Citra)
July 15 – Santa Fe (Alachua)
July 16 – Suwannee (Live Oak)

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 6
July 17 – Central (Brooksville)
July 18 – Weeki Wachee
July 19 – Hernando (Brooksville)
July 20 – Nature Coast (Brooksville)
July 21 – South Sumter (Bushnell)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 3
July 22 – Columbia (Lake City)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 5
July 23 – Citrus (Inverness)
July 24 – Gainesville
July 25 – Lake Weir (Ocala)
July 26 – Vanguard (Ocala)
July 27 – Forest (Ocala)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 6
July 28 – Springstead (Spring Hill)

CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 3
July 29 – Buchholz (Gainesville)

CLASS 8A-DISTRICT 1
July 30 – West Port (Ocala)