Branford football preview

Branford_BuccaneersBRANFORD BUCCANEERS (1A-District 7)

2014 RECORD: 3-7

HEAD COACH: Roy Harden (4th Year)

KEY PLAYERS: Kenyon McFatten (Sr., DT), Kenyon McFatten (Sr., DT), Chris King (Sr., TE/MLB), Jeremy Onuska (Sr., C), Jordan Weidle (Sr., QB/DB), Garette Warren (Jr., QB/LB), Justin Warren (Jr., FB/LB), Tyler Broland (So., RB/DB), Shawn Topham (So., RB/LB)

2015 PREVIEW: The Bucs lost several key players from last season and now they move into a new district which includes state semifinalist Dixie County and 2013 state champion Trenton. Class 1A-District 7 has expanded to seven teams and will also include Chiefland, Newberry, Williston & Bronson, making it one of the most competitive districts in all of 1A football.

Branford hasn’t won a district game since 2008 when Bill Wiles was the coach.  After three consecutive 3-7 regular seasons under Harden, the challenge gets even tougher for the Bucs in league play.

Senior quarterback Jordan Weidle (513 yds. passing, 3 TDs, 11 Ints.; 66 yds. rush, 2 TDs) is back, along with junior running back Garrette Warren, but the Buccaneers lost most of their backfield. Warren has the most returning experience but he was fifth in rushing last season (39 carries for 119 yards).

Defense continues to be a concern for the Buccaneers but they did improve some, lowering their points per game allowed by five points to 32 points last season.  Senior LB Chris King (44 tackles) is the top returning tackler.  The defense will need to improve if Branford wants to get over the hurdle and snap their current district woes.

The good news is that the Buccaneers will play three of their first four games at home, which will give the team a chance to try and gain some confidence heading into district play.  Plus, three of their losses last year were by seven points or less.

2015 SCHEDULE
Aug. 28 – at Aucilla Christian (Monticello)
Sept. 4 – vs. Lafayette (Mayo)
Sept. 11 – vs. Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville)
Sept. 18 – vs. Chiefland*
Sept. 25 – at Bronson*
Oct. 2 – vs. Newberry*
Oct. 9 – at Williston*
Oct. 16 – vs. Dixie County (Cross City)*
Oct. 23 – OFF
Oct. 30 – at Trenton*
Nov. 6 – at Bell

*District game

Branford High School website

“The Prep Zone” has been counting down to kick-off with a preview of high school football teams in the North Central Florida area.  Past team previews:

July 20 – BELL BULLDOGS
July 21 – BELLEVIEW RATTLERS
July 22 – BRADFORD (STARKE) TORNADOES
July 23 – BRANFORD BUCCANEERS
July 24 – BRONSON EAGLES
July 25 – BUCHHOLZ (GAINESVILLE) BOBCATS
July 26 – CHIEFLAND INDIANS
July 27 – CITRUS (INVERNESS) HURRICANES
July 28 – COLUMBIA (LAKE CITY) TIGERS
July 29 – DIXIE COUNTY (CROSS CITY) BEARS
July 30 – DUNNELLON TIGERS
Aug. 1 – EASTSIDE (GAINESVILLE) RAMS
Aug. 2 – FOREST (OCALA) WILDCATS
Aug. 3 – FORT WHITE INDIANS
Aug. 4 – GAINESVILLE HURRICANES
Aug. 5 – HAMILTON COUNTY (JASPER) TROJANS