Bronson football preview

By Mike Ridaught
Twitter – @ridaught

Last season the Bronson football program took a big step.

They’ll look to take another big step in 2020, but under the direction of a new leader.

Russell Holley, who was the team’s defensive coordinator last season, takes over as head coach for Seth Stebbins.

Holley, who enters his second year of coaching overall at Bronson, was part of an Eagles’ team that went from winless the previous season to a 4-6 record this past fall.

He said he expects his team “to be competitive and continue to build on a 4-win season from last year.”

Even a .500 season would be considered a big success at Bronson, which has struggled on the gridiron.

In 2014, the Eagles finished 6-4 under then coach Cameron Porch. It was Bronson’s first winning season in over 10 years.

However, Bronson has just six wins since, including an 0-10 season in 2015, and an 0-10 record in 2018 under Stebbins in his first season as head coach.

Holley, a former Oak Hall School assistant, is off to a good start despite the limitations because of Covid-19.

“We started virtual Zoom spring football on Monday (April 27) and will go until May the 18th,” he said. “We are having team meetings and review on Mondays, defensive team on Tuesday, offensive team on Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday position group meetings on offense and defense. We are able to install our terminology expectations and defense and offense formations and schemes.”

A total of nine starters return on offense and eight starters return on defense, giving the Eagles a strong nucleus to work with.

Bronson will compete in a tough Class 1A-Region 4, which includes 2019 playoff teams Chiefland, Hawthorne, Newberry, Trenton, Wildwood, and Pahokee. Six of the top 10 teams in the region will make the postseason.

The Eagles are scheduled to open the regular season on Friday, August 21, at St. Francis Catholic (Gainesville).

School: Bronson Eagles
Coach & year: Russell Holley (1st year)
2019 record: 4-6
Number of returning offensive/defensive starters: 9/8
Key losses: Braden Dean, Dallas Baker, Vermonte Williams
Key returnees (Name, position & year): Thomas Kerrin RB/LB Sr, Xavier Guyton RB/LB Sr, Amariaun Dallas DT/OL Sr, Ketron Thomas LB/RB Jr, Josh Chemin OL/DL So, Kendrick Williams DB/WR So, Anuery Montero DB/WR So, Matthew Miller OL/LB So, Jimmy Pyatt DT/OL Sr, Riley Bray QB/LB So
Key newcomers (Name, position & year): Louis Montero DB/RB Jr/ Jesse Williams DB/WR Jr/ Justin Cohoon DB/WR So/ Kyle Raleigh DL/OL Fr /Kirland Neal OL/DL Fr/ Jahziel Freeman DB/QB Jr/ Wyatt Surles LB/OL Fr
Most important position battles heading into the fall: “Everything is a battle,” said Holley. “We are looking to create competition with what we hope will be an expanded roster from recent years. We have had around 45 kids involved.”
Outlook/expectations: “To be competitive and continue to build on a 4-win season from last year.”

2020 Football Schedule
8/14 at Belleview, Kickoff Classic
8/21 at St. Francis Catholic (Gainesville)
8/28 at Taylor (Pierson)
9/4 vs. Ocala Christian Academy
9/11 vs. Halifax Academy (Daytona Beach)
9/18 vs. Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto)
9/25 at St Johns Country Day (Orange Park)
10/2 at Tenoroc (Lakeland)
10/16 at Munroe (Quincy)
10/23 vs Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville)
10/30 vs Umatilla

Class 1A-Region 4 (top 6 make postseason)
Bronson
Chiefland
Crescent City
Fort Meade
Hawthorne
Newberry
Pahokee
Trenton
Wildwood
Williston