Spring football workouts begin
By Rick Pedone
Spring football practice begins Thursday and Osceola County schools will take the field for 20 days of preseason workouts.
The drills will conclude with spring games May 22-23.
Kicking off the action May 22, Liberty visits Ridge Community at 7 p.m. Harmony will host Poinciana at 7 p.m. and Cypress Creek visits Gateway at 7:30 p.m.
On May 23, Osceola visits Lake Gibson at 7:30 p.m. and St. Cloud travels to Eustis at 7 p.m. Celebration will host Cornerstone Academy at 7 p.m.
Under Florida High School Athletic Association guidelines that took effect last year, no contact is permitted through the first five days of practice. Players will wear helmets the first two days and they can put on pads on the third day of work.
In addition to providing teams with 20 days to prepare for the football season, spring practice also serves as an opportunity for college coaches to see prospects on the field.
Several players at Osceola High, a Class 7A state semifinalist last year, have already received D-I offers, including all-state inside linebacker Riley Nicholson and defensive backs Stephon Brown, Treyvon Simmons Dominic Lee and
Kowboys Coach Doug Nichols said Brown, Nicholson and Lee have multiple offers.
Brown, he said, is receiving the attention of several power conference programs.
“Some big ones are close to pulling the trigger on him,” Nichols said. “He’s really athletic and has a great highlight video.”
Unlike last year, all of the county’s head football coaches are returning.
That’s good news at Celebration, where Coach Dennis Thomas has had time to put his players through preseason conditioning.
Last year, Thomas was an assistant to interim coach Eric Scrivens through spring drills before accepting the head coaching position after the spring game.
“It’s a much better situation this time,” Thomas said. “Just to have the coach with the team through the offseason makes a big difference.”
Thomas expects participation to increase at Celebration this year.
“That’s a number you don’t know for sure until they actually come out, but last year we probably didn’t have 30 out there and sometimes less for the games. We’ve had a steady 30 coming to the strengthening program and we expect to build on that.”
Celebration hasn’t won on the field since the last game of 2010, but its losing streak officially ended at 21 last season when Poinciana forfeited its week 2 victory to the Storm for using an ineligible player.
Without the forfeit, the Storm would be staring at a 30-game losing streak.
The football schedules for 2014 will be the same for the most part, except the home and away dates are flipped.