By Marco Martinez
Twitter – @MarcoJMartinez_
Coach: Seth Stebbins
Key Players: #2 Levi Warmack (JR., RB/OLB), #9 Rafael Alicea (SO., QB/CB), #10 Cole Langston (SR. RB/CB), #18 Eddie Goodman (SR., WR/CB), #22 Josia Lang (Sr., RB/DE), #69 James Pyatt (SO., T)
Outlook: Having only won one game in the past two years, the Eagles are searching for any motivation to break that unfortunate streak. First year head coach Seth Stebbins has kept the losing tradition alive but has a lot of positivity going further out into the duration of the season.
“Our expectation is to compete every day. Not just in the games, but the classroom, the weight room, etc. Our mantra has been to compete and that’s what we’re hanging our hat on.” coach Seth Stebbins told the Gainesville Sun.
But, the Eagles have only amounted to 12 points in their two games at home. Meanwhile their opponents have scored a whopping 85 points on the Eagles’ defense. Adversity is their biggest enemy at the moment. Their senior Cole Langston has a great push off contact and can shred tackles with ease coming off the backfield, especially running behind their star sophomore tackle James Pyatt. Plus, junior Levi Warmack has some experience under his belt and performed to his fullest potential last season when he was selected as an all-area honorable mention.
P.K Yonge (Gainesville) Blue Wave
Coach: Marcus McDonald
Key Players: #1 Jacoby Byrd (JR., WR/FS), #2 Israel Wilcox (SR., RB/CB), #4 Carter Kutchko (SR., QB), #6 Pernell Sylvester (SR., RB/OLB), #7 Jacari Byrd (JR., WR/SS), #10 Quintin Williams (SR, WR), #17 Deontae Mavin (JR., WR/DB)
Outlook: After only winning three of their 10 games last season, the Blue Wave have an opportunity to match their previous winning record in just the fourth game of the season. Newly hired head coach Marcus McDonald has flipped the team’s mentality this year and has shown it on the field. So far, the Blue Wave are undefeated at home and have scored 61 points compared to their opponent’s 20.
But, their first away game came against a tough and talented Hawthorne team that defeated them 51-19 last week. McDonald believes that coaches should always try to find any teaching and learning points whether they win or lose.
“Something particularly good and right that we did do was that we covered the special teams very well,” said McDonald talking about the game against Hawthorne. “The kickoffs and the punts was something I was worried about because of Hawthorne’s athletes, but we kicked and covered better than the other team throughout the game.”
It would be of no surprise to see senior running back Israel Wilcox and Sylvester Pernell take the reins of the offense and be used on at least 70% of their snaps. McDonald and the rest of the Blue Wave squad call Wilcox and Pernell “Thunder and Lightning” due to their extreme physicality and quickness off the snap.
“They’re not getting touched until their at least eight yards down the field,” said McDonald about Wilcox and Sylvester.
Wilcox stands at 5’5 with a skinny frame, meanwhile Sylvester stands at 5’11 with a muscular physique. But don’t let that fool you. Wilcox will make you regret blinking whenever he touches the ball because you just might miss him. And Sylvester cleans up the mess by trucking through anybody that gets in his way.
Finally, quarterback Carter Kutchko can connect well with tall wide-outs like the Byrd brothers, Quintin Williams and Deontae Mavin. His comfortability and poise in the pocket has delivered some great plays in his first two home games of the season.
Prediction: Blue Wave 45, Eagles 14