A Look Inside
the World of
New Attitude Reshapes Berean Christian
IN MOMENTS OF PRESSURE, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JOSH STEVENS
“We needed to learn how to think like winners,” Carney said.
asks his teammates two simple questions: “Will you ever quit?” And they re-
“Then what are you going to do?” And they respond, “Fight!”
The chant is just one product of head coach Brad Carney’s plan to reshape
Berean Christian School’s football program after going 0-10 just two seasons ago.
As a first-year head coach, Carney spent the spring of 2012 breaking down
poor thinking habits by putting his players through mentally taxing drills. The
plan proved successful. Last season, the Berean Bulldogs dramatically improved to 6-4, posting their first winning record in school history. For Stevens,
a rising senior, the new mentality would also translate off the field.
“I challenge myself in the classroom and in my faith now more than ever,”
“They’re incredibly hard
Stevens said. “Real winners give maximum effort in everything they do.”
Stevens will help lead the Bulldogs into uncharted territory during the 2013 sea-
son. Competing in the newly formed Gulf Atlantic Football Conference, the Bull-
dogs will be a favored team for the first time. It’s a position Carney believes his
players are prepared to handle.
workers and they know what’s
most important,” Carney said.
“They’ll be ready.”
Two years ago, Carney took
on the challenge of bringing
glory to the gridiron and not
just in the win column. For
the Bulldogs, true success is
based on faith, perseverance,
and a winning mentality that
changes lives for the better.
– BROOKE THOMAS
Only One Goal at Cocoa
IT MIGHT BE DIFFICULT FOR A YOUNGER PERSON TO BELIEVE, BUT
Cocoa High School wasn’t always a football powerhouse. That all changed when
John Wilkinson arrived eight years ago.
Since then, Cocoa has gone 89-17, won three state championships (2008, 2009
and 2010) and played in six consecutive state semifinals from 2007 to 2012. The
Tigers have an impressive 21-5 playoff record in Wilkinson’s eight seasons as
Before then, Cocoa was 3-9 in playoff games from 1970 to 2004. The accom-
plishments have changed and so have the expectations.
“Compete for a state championship,” Wilkinson said when asked what his
The list of top newcomers features Daharie Thomas, Kevin Driggers, Marquise
team’s goals were for this season. “We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good
players come through here and they work very hard. They know what we can
accomplish when they buy into the system.”
Top returning players this season include Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Lorrenzo
Pratt, Lane Burnett, Jamel Jackson, Jamel Dean, Tavares Parks, Chauncey
Gardner, Matt Adams and Jeremy Taylor.
Lewis, Brandon Phillips, James
Folston and Jawaan Taylor.
The Tigers ( 10-3 last year) run
a multiple, ball-control offense
and play a 4-2-5 defense that
“puts athletes on the field.” They
also have speed to burn and the
makings of a dominating defense
heading into the season.
“Our offense is a little behind
–TERR Y JACOBY
the defense at this point,” said
Wilkinson, who was named 2011
Florida Coach of the Year by
the National Federation of High Schools and inducted into the Florida Athletic
Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012. “But we had a good spring and fig-
ured out a few more pieces to the puzzle. We have some new players coming in
and we use the spring to find where they best fit.”
Then they use the fall to win football games – and state championships.
A New Day Dawns for Forest Football
IT’S A NEW DAY FOR THE FOREST HIGH
School football team. The Wildcats have a new
coach, a new direction and a completely new
district to tackle this fall.
Skip Austin, a 19-year high school assistant
coach who spent the last five seasons on the Forest
sidelines, moves up to the head coaching position
where he replaces the departed David Hodges.
After a 3-7 campaign in 2012, the seventh year
in the last eight of not making the playoffs, a fresh
start has brought excitement to the program and
over 120 kids participated in spring practice.
Austin, the FHS offensive coordinator for the
past several years, will implement the flexbone
offense. It will feature either senior Tyrique
Jones or sophomore Connor Feagle under center.
Running back Kenny Tucker and Jamaal Williams will be new offensive coordinator Robin
Williams’ main threats.
The Forest defense, under the direction of former Wildwood head coach Matt
LaBranche, will be anchored by linebackers Deonte Mayo and Chris Austin.
The district realignment knocked Forest down from Class 7A to 6A. The other
members of District 5 include crosstown rivals Lake Weir and Vanguard, along
with state powerhouse Gainesville High School and Citrus. The Wildcats will
open the season against another Ocala area team, North Marion.
Under the philosophy of “Win the Day,” Austin and his new staff hope to in-
vigorate and revitalize Forest football and get the Wildcats back to the playoffs.
– KEI TH CHARTRAND
Will New Attitude Help the Eagles Soar?
THE BRONSON EAGLES ARE LOOK-
ing to improve on their two-win season
from 2012, which was actually an improve-
ment over a winless 2011.
Coach Cameron Porch, preparing for
his second year at the helm, is hoping the
injury bug got its fill last season, and the
Eagles have a chance to play at full strength
for much of the coming campaign.
“Last year we won our preseason classic,
Porch, who is the defensive coordinator, admits that it was his team’s offense
then we won the second game of the year,
but we ended up with eight two-way starters injured for the season,” Porch said.
“Even though it ended up being a lost cause at a certain point worrying about
the playoffs, we had a lot of young guys play, so they got a lot of experience out
of it and we have all but three starters coming back this year.”
Among the returnees is starting quarterback/safety Tyler Beauchamp, who
blew out his ankle in the fourth game of last season, but is expected to start
again as a senior. He will be handing off to running back Brad Cates, who was
the team’s leading rusher last season. He also finished 10th in the state weight-
lifting competition this past winter.
that carried the load in 2012.
“We had so many guys out we had to rely on offense, hoping we could hold the
ball longer,” he said. “This year it should even out.”
The defensive standout is expected to be middle linebacker Tyler Sistrunck,
who made all-area last year as a sophomore despite the team’s struggles.
Porch is trying to change the team’s fortunes by changing its attitude.