New attitude, new QB  to bolster Eagles

The Poinciana Eagles play a game against Discovery.

Randy Beeken is the new head football coach at Poinciana High School.

 But he is anything but new to the program as he served as an assistant coach and head junior varsity coach for the Eagles for the past four years.

But what is new is the attitude Beeken continues to build at the school – one that he hopes can propel the Eagles to new heights in 2019.

“One of the roughest things about our program here has been the constant turnover in coaches.  It’s tough to build any consistency or to gain the trust of the players when you are getting a new head coach every year or every other year,” Beeken noted.  “I’m starting my fifth year in the program and I’m willing to bet this is the first time any of pervious senior classes can say that we had the same coach around for four years.  We are changing a lot of things about how we are going to do things, but our players know me and understand what we are trying to accomplish.”

One thing that will be different for the Eagles is an offense that should be more potent and significantly improved over last season.  

Senior quarterback Justin Carpenter, who transferred from Lake Minneola High School when his father, Todd, became Poinciana’s offensive coordinator, threw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns in a spring game against St. Cloud.   Those passing yards almost equaled half the passing yards Poinciana (2-8) gained all last season through the air and the 5 TD passes surpassed the team total from last season (4).

“Justin is a big, strong kid with a good arm,” Beeken said.  “I would not be surprised if he is among the passing leaders for the county this year.”

Poinciana, which will employ a spread offense this season, will rely on receivers Treyvion Gunter and Anthony Holtham; while Jeremiah Jules will see most of the action at running back. Beeken noted that rising sophomore, Daryl Blaise, looked good this spring and may work his way into the regular rotation at running back.

For as improved as the offense has looked, Beeken says his defense will need to continue to improve during pre-season camp if the Eagles are to be successful in 2019.  “We have some talented players, but we do lack some depth and experience on that side of the ball,” he said.

Middle linebacker Quaylen Hill and defensive back Ligarrius Coachman are coming off good seasons and will be expected to anchor the Poinciana defense.  

“Those two guys are solid football players that we are going to rely on to provide senior leadership for this group,” Beeken says.

As for the rest of the defense, Beeken says the Eagles will fill the gaps as best they can during pre-season camp and the Kickoff Classic.  

“We don’t have the numbers so we have some people that going to have to play both ways, especially on the line,” Beeken noted. “We spent a lot of time with seven on sevens this spring just trying to teach the guys where we need them to be one every play.  We’ve made progress but it’s definitely an area of concern.”

Beeken notes that the attitude and effort has been the most positive development in the spring.  

“Our players have responded really well to our coaches and our process,” he says. “You can tell they really, really want to be there and they want to get better.  The attitude has been fantastic.”