When Flag Football’s 2022 season kicked off earlier this month, veteran Harmony coach Paul Strauch insisted St. Cloud was the home team to beat this year, but he downplayed may -be the fact that its Longhorns – a traditional county powerhouse – are also damn sacred. good and should fight for an Orange Belt Conference Championship once again
The Longhorns head into this week with a 5-1 record and have already put up a 3-0 OBC mark, including a big win over Gateway.
St. Cloud, who beat Harmony for the district championship last year, is 2-2 early on — including a 2-0 mark in OBC play. Although the Bulldogs lost some key players at graduation after a 9-4 season of the year that included a run to the FHSAA regional semifinals, don’t read too much into their .500 start as the St Cloud lost two tough one-point road games to 2021 playoff teams Ft. Pierce Westwood (L, 7-6) and Centennial (L, 26-25).
Gateway is coming off a strong 10-4 season, but head coach Travis Hill lost nine experienced players heading into graduation. Still, the Panthers have a slew of talented newcomers and went 2-2 (1-2 OBC) and played Harmony well in a 13-6 loss.
Poinciana got off to a great start at 3-0, with all three wins being OBC victories. The Eagles’ future success this season could center on upcoming road games against St. Cloud and Harmony.
With the exception of Gateway (Class 1A, District 11) and Celebration (Class 2A, District 5), all other public schools in the county compete in Class 2A, District 9. Only the district champion advances to regional play in the sport. District tournaments are played April 25-29.
The Head Coach: Jeremy Palmer
Returning Key Players: Destiny Ewing, Senior, WR/DB; Lena Bolejack, Sophomore, QB/Central Defender; Diana Houmadin, junior, WR/DB; and Jasmin ElMatni, Senior, C/Rusher.
Palmer on Tempest: “Storm Flag Football is coming off a tough 2021 season and we look forward to blending our young core with our senior leadership to continue building a foundation for the future. Our senior four led by wide receiver Destiny Ewing and center Jamin ElMatni bring a tough mentality to our rebuilt offense led by Sophomore QB Lena Bolejack. Leana led the offense in touchdowns as a rookie and began to master the offense. The core around them is being formed by rising rookies Abril Herrera and Eva DeCeaseare, sophomore wideout MaKenzee Ewing and junior blocker Diana Houmadin. Our freshman class brought us more young talent to build on over the next two years. The Storm is ready to race and give teams a hard time in the 2022 season.”
The Head Coach: Ethan Fournier
Key returning players: Janalee Casado, RB/DB, Junior; Yanelly Quirros, RB/DB/QB, Senior; Angeline Beecher, WR/LB/QB, Senior
Promising newcomer: Mya Richards, LB, Freshman
The Head Coach: Travis Hill
Key returning players: Melina Trinidad-QB, ATH, Brianna Joseph-RB, ATH, Nyaziah Peterson-WR, LB
Hill on the Panthers: “We are in a year of rebuilding, we lost 9 seniors last year and only come back around 3-4 players who know the system and helped us last year. That being said, we have some very talented players such as Karli Cole, Madison Vazquez, Adrianna Rivera, Jaiden Dyer and Kimberly Tavares who have come to play for us this year and made a great addition to the squad. Not only that, but I also had ladies who also helped out at Varsity who played JV last year, like Ashley Ledesma and Autumn Lawrence. Overall I think we will be a very good team, everyone in our team brings something special and necessary to the team, it will just take some time for everything to come together as one unit . Our overall goal for the season is to go 1-0 every week, we may hit a few hiccups along the way, but if we keep that as our main focus and don’t care about match results or overlook any of our opponents, we will do great.”
The Head Coach: Paul Strauch (2021 OBC champion at 7-0)
Key returning players: Drea Thompson, WR/S, junior; Aubrie White, LB/WR, Senior; Alex Ceballos-Means, LB/WR, Sophomore; Ashlyn Scarborough, WR/C, sophomore; Arianna Ross-McLaughlin, R, second year
Strauch on Longhorns: “We have a great group of girls. Losing Rienna Scott to injury for the year will be a huge loss. We are really a young team and with a lot of sophomores and freshmen contributing. Our returning seniors: Riley, Ali and Aubrie will provide excellent leadership. Drea Thompson is an incredible player both on offense and defense. We have had some early successes which we hope will continue. Our young players will need to grow to help sustain our senior season. »
The Head Coach: David Martinez
Returning Key Players: Destiny Kim, RB/QB/C, sophomore; Shaelyne Weidner, QB/RB, sophomore; Faith Rutherford, WR/C, Junior
The Head Coach: The Roy Smith
Returning Key Players: Ivanis Pimentel (QB), Makaila Longway (RB), Keila Murillo (OL), Janessa Cloud (WR)
Smith on the Eagles: “I am delighted with this team and this season. We have a great group of talented players and a solid defence. Building on the successes of last season, we are looking to make a strong push into the post-season. Our senior leadership is in place and our underclasses carry on the traditions and standards they set.
The head coach: Shawn Beck
Returning Key Players: Alexis Santiago, WR; Delia Macdonald, WR; Samora Brooks, C.
Beck on Bulldogs: “After losing some key players at graduation, we will be in a rebuilding phase this season, but we believe another successful season is possible. Rookie Vanessa Vohs will be our quarterback and she has done well work to get our system back in. Santiago and Macdonald are great players who will test any defense while Brooks’ switch from running back to center has helped stabilize our attack. At the start of the season we continue to move some players.
The Head Coach: Butler Bryant
Key returning players: Jennifer Rosado, WR; Flanechie Benoit, WR/LB; Amani Long, CB (defensive captain); Angelina Gonzalez, WR; Helena Moreno, QB/LB (offensive captain)
Butler on Tigers: “My goal for this year’s team is to do our best, no one remembers or cares about last season. Let’s be the first team in school history to score points and win games. We will be a disciplined team – on and off the pitch. We have a good team and I know we can do something special here at school before the end of the season. I am proud to coach these remarkable girls.