“In the previous years, they hadn’t weights much and they were hurting for
organization and structure. We have a motto ‘Win Every Day.’ The game is not
won on Friday night; it is won from January through July and Monday through
Thursday nights in the fall during practice. A message like that, they took to
and have taken ownership of it.” – KEN T MCDILL
LAST NOVEMBER, FOUNDATION ACADEMY’S DREAM SEASON END-
ed with a frustrating 62-0 playoff loss at the hands of perennial state semifinal-
ist Warner Christian.
But anyone familiar with the Lions program and head coach Brad Lord knows
that loss has become an invaluable tool heading into the 2013 campaign.
“These returning starters have had that taste in their mouths all winter,”
Lord said, “and it’s propelled us into our offseason workouts and our summer
preseason. These guys are ready to hit the ground running.”
A 14-0 shutout of Orangewood Christian in the Lions’ spring game proved
that. And thanks to a deep, skilled roster, Foundation Academy is expecting big
things this season.
“The competition level is always up. You may have started last year, but
Senior Denzel Irvin – one of Florida’s top-ranked cornerbacks – and his
our players also know that we’re two- and three-deep at each position,” said
Lord. “That competition, in the weight room, in strength-and-conditioning pro-
grams, in the 7-on-7s we’re doing, will translate to us taking it to the next level
in the fall. We’re excited.”
Highlighting a lineup that includes 17 returning starters – nine on defense
and eight on offense – is a pair of brothers and a dual-threat quarterback, all
three of whom were instrumental in last year’s 8-4 playoff season.
brother, Darius, a junior running back who led the Lions in rushing a year ago,
have both emerged as team leaders on and off the field. So too has All-State
senior quarterback Alec Thompson.
Last year’s success, coupled with the considerable media attention Thomp-
son and the Irvins have earned, means the Lions now have a bull’s-eye on their
back. And that’s something coach Lord says his players welcome.
“They know they’re not going to sneak up on anybody,” he said. “The kids
know that every week is going to be a dogfight.” - ADAM LAZARUS
Freedom Is Ready to Turn the Corner
THERE IS A QUOTE ON THE FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
webpage from coach Todd Donohoe that goes
like this: “There is a big difference between
wanting to do something and willing to do some-
thing; champions have the want and are willing
to do whatever it takes to be successful at it.”
In just his second year of coaching the Patri-
ots, Donohoe is starting to see that willingness
turn into success.
“The players are much more committed to
Freedom had run through six coaches in 10 years before selecting Donohoe
working hard and dedicating themselves,” said
Donohoe. “They are understanding what we ex-
pect from them.”
Donohoe was brought into the Freedom pro-
gram to not only lead the football team, but to bring
some consistency to the sidelines. Turnovers can
prove costly in a football game and turnover can
be devastating to a football program.
prior the start of last season. They did improve slightly, going from 2-8 in 2011
to 3-7 last year. But the real improvement was off the field.
“We needed to establish some structure and the kids have bought into our
system and believe in us,” said Donohoe, who coached the previous two seasons
at Strawberry Crest before taking over the Patriots. “It was a challenge. But our
focus as a staff has been to improve every day, and that’s what we set out to do.”
Donohoe, a physical education teacher at the school, does have a track record for building a program.
Donohoe started the Strawberry Crest program in 2009. In just two seasons,
he had the Chargers more than competitive. He resigned during the summer
of 2010 because of family reasons. After a productive spring, Donohoe is even
more optimistic heading into this season.
“No matter if we’re in the classroom or on the football field, the goal is to im-
prove every day,” he said. “That’s our goal.” – TERR Y JACOBY
Oakleaf Linebackers Set the Tone
OAKLEAF HIGH SCHOOL HEAD COACH DEREK CHIPOLETTI TEASES
his linebackers coach, Cliff Harrell, that he’ll be one of the best coaches in the
nation this year. Of course, it won’t be that difficult with three Division I pros-
pects starting at the position.
Senior outside linebackers Darrion Owens and Justin Todd and sophomore middle linebacker Shaquille
Quarterman are all being recruited to play at the next
level as they look to boost Oakleaf’s football program
during the school’s fourth season.
“All three are Division I bodies, but they have
“He’s a coach’s dream,” Chipoletti said.
enhanced themselves through hard work and film
study,” Chipoletti said. “They set the tone on the field
and in the weight room in the offseason. There are a
lot of great players out there, but it’s rare to find great
players who are great people in my experience.”
The 6-4, 220-pound Owens tallied 101 tackles and
two interceptions last year and has garnered schol-
arship offers from 20 schools, including Ohio State,
Michigan and Louisville.
Todd ( 6-1, 220) made 96 tackles and returned an
interception for a touchdown last year, and has gotten a lot of looks despite
not being as big as Owens. Chipoletti applauds his dedication, leadership and
Quarterman ( 6-2, 237) played in 10 games as a freshman, racking up 85 tackles
and has already received offers from Louisville, UCF, Boston College and Tennessee.
“He’s very smart and has the intelligence to be a big-time player,” Chipoletti
said. – AMY FARNUM PATRONIS
A Means to an End for Jaboree Williams
FORT LAUDERDALE HIGH SCHOOL’S JABOREE WILLIAMS MAY BE
one of the Sunshine State’s most highly sought after linebackers, but football is
not the top priority for this prospect – getting a good education is.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Williams, who boasts a 3.0 GPA, 1620 SAT and 19 ACT,
has dreams of becoming an anesthesiologist after his playing days, and is us-
ing football to help realize his ambitions.
“Football is my love and passion,” Williams said. “It keeps me focused and
grounded, and it keeps me off the streets. I love it and it is going to get me to
where I need to be.”
Williams’ medical career aspirations were
sparked after going to work with his mother,
Jacqueline James, who is a nurse, and meeting
The senior worked hard during the offseason
to improve upon last year’s spectacular effort
when he compiled 105 tackles, nine QB sacks,
nine pass deflections and five interceptions,
including two for touchdowns.
“His test scores are very high and that has
transferred to the football field,” Fort Lauder-
dale head coach Richard Dunbar said. “He can
recognize formations, he can read and react on
a dime, and direct his teammates to put them in
position to help them make plays. He’s basically
a coach on the field.”
Williams will graduate early and enroll in college in January. He has a long
list of offers that includes Wake Forest, Pitt and North Carolina, and plans to
make his decision during the regular season. – AMY FARNUM PATRONIS
Building a Strong Foundation at Ridgeview
PLAYING CLASS 5A FOOTBALL IN NORTH FLORIDA, RIDGEVIEW
High School is familiar with the state’s powerhouse teams. The school’s players
and fans also know the mantle only sits atop programs with a strong foundation.
As a still relatively young program, head coach Tom Macpherson is proud of
the foundation they’ve begun to build at Ridgeview.
The Panthers have reached the postseason in eight of their 13 seasons and
they’ve made it to the regional semifinals once. But the highlight came last year
when the Panthers lost only one regular-season game.
“Of all the newer programs in the state of Florida, we’ve got to be among the
best,” Macpherson noted.
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FLORIDA 2013