BY GENE NARDI
The Seminole Ridge High School varsity football team started spring practice this month, and the Hawks are preparing for their game Friday, May 24 against Treasure Coast powerhouse South Fork High School. Both teams will use the game to assess where they will need the most attention for the fall.
The Bulldogs finished 9-1 last year, but were unable to lock in the district title. The Hawks have struggled over a few hurdles in the coaching department, with former head coach Matt Dickmann relocating to Georgia, and then the unexpected resignation of Steven Humphrey.
New head coach Scott Barnwell joined Dickmann and the Hawks in 2012 to work with the quarterbacks and junior varsity offense.
Barnwell was the Hollywood Hills High School head coach for four years. During that time, the team made two regional playoff appearances and won a district title in 2010.
The Hawks have had two appearances in the regional finals and three district titles. They finished last season with a 9-4 record.
Barnwell noted that the team will miss the six Division I recruited seniors who graduate this year, but he is confident that Seminole Ridge will be a contender in the fall with many returning players and new underclassman coming in.
“We’ve got a great bunch of kids coming in, as well as the returning players,” he said. “We continue to have strong freshman and JV programs.”
Barnwell added that the Hawks plan to spread the formations out and throw the ball more than they did last year, but will still maintain a lot of what was successful about the last season.
“Zack Dacosta returns as the quarterback, but we have two other kids coming in who are pretty good, and that will be a pretty good battle,” Barnwell said.
E.J. Eliene returns in the backfield to power the running game for the Hawks, and a new underclassman, Dustin Austin, is also one to watch. “We’re expecting a lot from [Austin] running the ball for us as well,” Barnwell said.
With most of the linebackers and secondary returning for the defense, the Hawks may be very tough to beat defensively. District 9-8A remains the same with Seminole Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Wellington.
The Hawks will host South Fork High School for their spring game Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: A Hawk running back tries to avoid a tackle during practice.