Thankful and committed — that’s one way to summarize the attitude of Palm Beach Central High School head football coach Scottie Littles as he approaches the upcoming high school football season, delayed due to COVID-19.
“Our kids are happy to be out here working out and getting ready to play football,” said Littles, who is entering his fifth year as a high school football coach and his second year at the helm with the Broncos. “These are unprecedented and unfortunate times. The players and coaches appreciate the chance to practice, play and coach football. We’re focused on getting stronger, fitter and better.”
Right now, the football players at Palm Beach Central are trying to get as physically fit as they can, with the goal of getting ready for the start of the season at the end of October. According to Littles, some players are further along the fitness path than others.
“You can tell which kids have been working out on their own in recent months,” Littles said.
One thing that Littles realizes is that he and his staff of 15 assistant coaches must exercise patience this season, which has been negatively impacted by the cancellation of spring football earlier this year.
“You can’t squeeze seven months of work into just a few weeks of practice,” Littles explained.
Last fall’s football season was Littles’ first year as the head coach at Palm Beach Central. The 2019 squad had an outstanding year as the young Broncos recorded a 9-3 record, won a third-straight district title, reached the second round of the FHSAA playoffs and defeated Wellington High School in the annual battle for the Wellington Cup.
Most importantly, Littles was instrumental in helping more than a dozen players continue their education at the next level through college scholarships.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this fall’s football season will be an entirely different experience for Littles and his football team, since there will be no district, regional or state titles to pursue. Yet the circumstances impacting the upcoming season are not negatively impacting the attitude of Littles’ players.
“We have a great mix of talented players from all four grades,” Littles said. “They appreciate the chance to play football.”
The mindset of the Broncos football team is best described by the slogans on the shirts being worn by the players, such as “Do Your Job,” “Pound That Rock,” “Leave No Doubt” and “We’re All We Got. We’re All We Need.”
Littles is expecting a handful of players to step up and lead by example, such as sophomore Ahmad Haston, senior Adrian Moncrieffe, senior De’Angelo Pompey, senior Donovan Hoilette, senior Keyshawn Winder and junior Joseph Pennachio.
Haston is a dual-threat quarterback who runs the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds. Moncrieffe is described by Littles as “explosive.” Pompey can play multiple positions, such as wide receiver, running back, punt returner and quarterback. Hoilette is a talented linebacker who has scholarship offers from a number of NCAA Division I football programs. Winder, who intercepted six passes last year, plays safety and is one of Palm Beach County’s top 50 players. Pennachio is an inside linebacker who is talented, fast and physical.
Since the season is limited to six regular season games followed by a bowl-like game against a team with a similar record from either Broward or Miami-Dade counties, Littles and his squad are focused on being the best they can be in every minute of every quarter of every game. Clearly, the foundation for the Broncos’ success this season is being established now with hustle and hard work on the practice field.