Varsity football dominates Gateway in home opener


photo by Julianna Joyner

Senior Trenton Redding on the carry down the right sideline during the second quarter of the game.

The stands were packed as the varsity football team took the field for their home opener against Gateway on Friday, Aug. 30. Fans were eager to catch a glimpse of the spread offense under new head coach Wes Allen.

A spread offense typically consists of a running back and four receivers across the field, compared to last season’s option playbook under coach Phil Ziglar, with two running backs, an occasional receiver and many linemen stacked on the line of scrimmage.

This change made by Allen was a key aspect of the team’s 23-0 win over Gateway. Key performances were made by junior quarterback JJ Baird and senior running back DJ McCunney with two passing touchdowns and a touchdown reception, respectively.

“I haven’t caught a touchdown pass since Pop Warner football,” McCunney said.

Another change in the program is the change in division, from 7A to 8A. The team will be going up against Winter Park, University, Colonial and Flagler Palm Coast later this year, all first-time opponents.

Baird will be leading the team against these new opponents, with the same approach, regardless of the team.

“Going into the game I just want to bring the energy the offense needs and to do my job on the field,” Baird said.

The first touchdown of the game was caught by Shomaree Blake, making it 7-0 halfway through the first quarter, setting the tone early in the game.

After sitting on the first quarter lead, Baird found his rhythm and threw another touchdown to McCunney in the second quarter, extending the lead, 14-0. Senior defensive back Trenton Redding set up the touchdown by intercepting the ball prior to the touchdown scoring drive.

Hagerty kept the pressure on Gateway immediately after the half, as running back Ethan Lopez returned the second half opening kickoff 87 yards for the third touchdown of the game.

“Seeing the student section hyped up and ready to get going and play under the lights was the greatest part of the night,” Lopez said. “That motivated me to run the ball hard every time I got it.”

With a safety in the fourth quarter, the team secured the shutout, 23-0, turning their record to 1-1. Their next game will be against Timber Creek on Sept. 13 at Sam Momary Stadium.