August 13, 2017

Enjoy watching an agile runner at the quarterback position?

Then Key West’s triple option that will be led by senior first-year signal caller Alvin Howard should bring plenty of excitement your way this season.

How about a big arm with lots of weapons to throw to?

Marathon has that this year as junior Jackson McDonald enters his third season under center for the Dolphins and an added set of option at receiver.

A two-headed quarterback system more you style?

Coral Shores will have in play too this year with seniors Christian Frisone and Elijah Woods stepping in this year as part of a new-look attack for the Hurricanes.

Even though all of the Monroe County football teams are taking the offense in different directions this season, it doesn’t mean one or the other will work better and in fact each system seems to be coming at the right time for each team.

For the Conchs, which has been one of the highest yard-producing teams in the state since Johnny Hughes instituted the triple option, having Howard receive the snap will only expand the options for the talented athlete that is one of the top-ranked players in his graduating class.

The Dolphins were previously all run based as McDonald grew, both mentally and physically, but now standing 6’4”, Marathon coach Paul Davis said his squad is set to break passing records this season.

“I guarantee it,” Davis said about the team’s potential of eclipsing at least a school mark this season. “It’s not just that Jackson is strong, but we have the weapons too. We have at least five receives that I think can make plays at any one time.”

While McDonald will have the likes of seniors Esteban Sainz, DeQuian Youngblood, Thad Goodwin, Rodrigo Avena and junior Jamal Qualls as options this year, the Hurricanes will be moving their No. 1 receiver from 2016, Woods, to quarterback as part of a two-man system along with classmate Frisone, whose brother Nick Frisone started at QB for the ’Canes from 2013 to 2015. When Woods is not under center he will remain on the field a as receiver, as will Frisone, and coach Alphonso Bryant said it is the same system he ran at Miami Killian High when they won the 2004 state title.

“We just will be picking out who does what better in which situation,” said Bryant. “The other thing is that with both of them also playing receiver, the defense won’t know whose playing quarterback when they are in the huddle.”

As of now during preseason practices everything seems to be working and on target for a successful season, but that can all change come season. The Conchs and Dolphins will get their first crack to see if the game plans can produce on Friday in the preseason classics, while Coral Shores will have to wait until the season opener to unleash its two-headed system as the Hurricanes’ scheduled opponent Pinecrest does not have enough player to field a team.

The regular seasons will all begin on Aug. 25 and for the teams that do have everything in place — whether it be speed, strength or strategy — it could lead to not only a conference title, but also a district or even state crown with the FHSAA taking a more of a BCS approach to the postseason playoff bracket in 2017.

J.W. Cooke’s Home Cooken’ column appears exclusively on Sundays in The Citizen. He can be reached at 305-292-7777, Ext. 261,
or at jwcooke
@keysnews.com.