BRADENTON - High school football began spring practice in the rain this week. One of the more successful programs on the Suncoast, Southeast High School, has one huge weapon back on offense; but other than that, they are starting anew.
Courtney Allen has been racking up rushing yards since his freshman year, plus he is a threat to catch the ball, and explosive and dangerous on special teams too. The problem is finding players to surround him with. “I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, that we are looking and looking to find out who can do what in this group. I don’t ever think that I’ve had a team that had this much uncertainty that we have right now,” says head coach Paul Maechtle.
They are looking hard for talent because they graduated 22 seniors off of last year's district champion. The ‘Noles may have to change it up a little bit this season. “All we can do is work hard every day. Come into the weight room, try to get better every day, as a team. Try something different, give some of the other guys a chance,” says Allen.
They must replace their leader, QB Myles Braxton-Johnson. James Thomas is the only QB on the roster with any experience. “Completed 9 out of 12 passes, but one game does not a season make. We have three other people competing to try to win that job. Who’s going to win it? Well we don’t know. That’s what the first day of practice is about,” says Coach Maechtle.
As Hall of Fame head coach Paul Maechtle also points out, each long journey starts with one small step -- or forward progress of some kind. “We’ve got to crawl before we can walk, walk before we can jog, jog before we can start running. That’s what we’re trying to do, build from the ground up.”