By Mike Bielecki
VERO BEACH — Coming off a 9-3 year, Coach Gary Coggin and the Fighting Indians are poised to pick up right where they left off and compete again for the 6A State Championship.
Blessed with a seemingly endless supply of talented and dedicated players, Coggin knows something about putting a competitive team on the field. “You never pick your football team on the track, and you never pick your football team in the weight room,” he said. “You find out what you have when you put the pads on. You find out who wants to hit . . . who’s going to get hit in the mouth and say, ‘I want some more of that, I’m gonna go get some.'” VBHS will feature no major changes this year, even if they did lose their most valuable offensive and defensive players in fullback Ben Harrison (1,049 yards rushing) and safety Zeke Motta (103 tackles, 2 interceptions). Coggin is excited to have Stevie “Mighty Mouse” Wallace back at running back for his senior year. “He does it all for us as a kick and punt return man and as a running back,” said the fourth-year head coach.
Leading the charge on the offensive line are Travonte’ Boles and Marcus Jackson. The two combine for just over 600 pounds of raw power, and are two of the finest linemen in the state. Both players are being heavily recruited by Division 1 colleges.
Boles, a senior, can’t wait for the season to start. “We know coming into the season that we have a big target on our back, but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Boles.
Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound junior, caught University of Miami’s attention this summer while at football camp, “He really turned some heads down there,” said Coggin.
A new member of the offensive line is getting a lot of praise from the coaches as well. Senior Quincy Dudley, who played safety last year, will also start at tight end this year. “He’s got speed and hands,” said Boles. “Once he gets his blocking down he will be a big factor.”
It’s hard to single out any one player on defense, as the unit has a lot of returning talent. Linebacker will feature seniors Vontarious Thomas and Rockliff Coke, along with junior Dion Holmes.
Defensive end might be the most talented position on the team. Senior Ned Anofils, and juniors David Dixon and Cody Horstman are all looking to play big roles. Defensive back will feature senior Usnider Dorvelia and junior Larry Franklin.
Kicking won’t be overshadowed this year, as senior Pat Baker will certainly draw attention from colleges. “I think he’ll kick at the next level,” said Coggin.
VBHS had a great year last year, and 9-3 will be tough to improve on. There is an air about this team, though, that is special. This team loves to play football, and they will only get better as the season goes on.