Heading into his third season as head coach of the Celebration, Jay Sobke says he would field a relatively young team as he continues to build a program for the Storm.
“We have a lot of young kids, many who have never played football before,” Sobke says. “But we had a fairly productive spring and off-season. Our kids have worked hard and continue to learn. We were able to get them some additional experience in camps and a few seven-on-seven tournaments this summer and that should help.”
The Storm will run a spread offense, mainly with a one back set. The chore of leading the offense will fall on Will Bohn, a 6-1 senior who is playing football for the first time.
“He’s a smart kid and a good athlete with a strong arm who has picked up our offense pretty fast,” Sobke said. “In our spring game he threw for 262 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and only one interception. For someone new to game he has been really impressive so far.”
Unless someone emerges during fall camp, Sobke said running back would be handled by committee, but added that Lee Smith, a wide receiver last year, could receive the bulk of the carries early.
Celebration’s offensive line should be one strength of the team as almost all starters and some backups return.
“That group is a year older and I was pleased with the progress they made this spring both on run blocking and pass protection,” Sobke said.
Senior wide receiver Lucas Demario (9 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD in 2018) leads a group of young but talented receivers. Kaluv Peterson, Lee Smith, Diego Machado, Joe Hall and Jeremiah Cirino are all candidates to work their way into the receiving rotation.
On the other side of the ball, the Storm will run a three-four formation on defense. Graduation hit Celebration hard on that side of the ball, but a trio of seniors, DE/OLB Yuriel “JuJu” Carrero, OLB Marquese Carter, and DL Mike Kitnurse, return to anchor the defense. Carrero is a three-year starter who compiled 85 tackles last season with seven tackles for loss and a sack.
The schedule will not be an easy one as Celebration has been moved up to Class 8A and placed in a district that includes traditional state power Osceola, as well as Lake Nona and Freedom High School.
“We sort of saw that coming,” Sobke said. “Both our district and non-district schedules are difficult but we are looking at it as an opportunity and challenge and not as a hindrance.”
Working with a young team that has not seen a lot of success in the win column the last couple of years, Sobke says the goal for this year has not changed.
“We look at every preseason workout, every practice and every game as an opportunity to get better,” Sobke says. “Winning is always something we strive for, but more importantly we also want to develop a concept of team building, selflessness and responsibility in our young men.”