Forest (Ocala) football preview

Forest_WildcatsFOREST (OCALA) WILDCATS (6A-District 5)

2014 RECORD: 4-6

HEAD COACH: Skip Austin (3rd Year)

KEY PLAYERS: Davon’te Jest (Sr., DL), Connor Feagle (Sr., QB), Jaylon Gadson (Sr., ATH), Chad Dukes (Sr., WR), Malik Jackson (Sr., OL), Nick Ambrose (Sr., OL), JJ Varney (Sr., WR), Jonathan Williams (Sr., RB), OJ Tucker (Jr., DB), Steve Decius (Sr., RB), Julius Duarte (Sr., K), CJ Motley (Sr., RB), Kenneth Franklin (Sr., WR), Michael Sancho (Sr., ATH), Kyle Rodgers (Sr., LB), Tyler Smith (Jr., LB), Harley Hudson (Sr., WR), Branden Ackerman (Jr., LB), Matt Swets (Jr., LB), Connor Johnson (Jr., LB)

2015 PREVIEW: After back-to-back 4-6 seasons, there is reason for hope due to depth on both lines and team leadership. The Wildcats saw big improvements in the offseason in strength and speed thanks to their lifting and speed program.

Forest will return five offensive and five defensive starters. Second-year coach Skip Austin anticipates a big upcoming year for the program as many of his players are entering their 3rd year of varsity football.

Senior defensive lineman Davon’te Jest, who led the team with 98 tackles and 36 TFL, picked up an offer from South Alabama in the spring, while seniors Jaylon Gadson, J.J. Varney (498 yards receiving), Chad Dukes (637 all-purpose yards), offensive lineman Malik Jackson, quarterback Connor Feagle (1,800 total yards) and offensive lineman Nick Ambrose are getting looks. Austin estimates more than 30 colleges were showing interest heading into the summer, including Iowa State, NC State, USF, Florida and Kentucky.

A goal during the offseason has been to compete in all areas of the program so that the team stays hungry to compete against someone else. Leadership has been a strong area of improvement for the Wildcats with the individual players taking ownership of the team and the program.

2015 SCHEDULE
Aug. 28 – vs. West Port (Ocala)
Sept. 4 – at North Marion (Citra)
Sept. 11 – vs. Eustis
Sept. 18 – at Leesburg*
Sept. 24 – at Eastside (Gainesville)
Oct. 2 – vs. Gainesville*
Oct. 9 – at Hernando (Brooksville)
Oct. 16 – at Lake Weir (Ocala)
Oct. 23 – OFF
Oct. 29 – vs. Vanguard (Ocala)*
Nov. 6 – vs. Citrus (Inverness)

*District game

Forest 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