MELBOURNE — The St. Edward’s Pirates travel north to face the Florida Air Academy Falcons Friday in what promises to be a tough 1B District 3 matchup.The Falcons, 3-1, are riding high after skewering Heritage 55-7. Conversely, the Pirates, 2-2,have spent the week trying to forget the 53-7 disaster they suffered at the hands of Warner Christian Academy.
SES Coach Brad Fojtik remains optimistic and says his team was better than how they played last week. “We ran into a buzzsaw last week with Warner,” said Fojtik. “We’ve watched a lot of film to prepare for the Falcons, and have had a good week of practice. This is a new week.” The Pirates have suffered injuries to several key players the past two weeks. Leading rusher Kollin Kite (334 yards, 3TDs), star defensive back Chris Barbato, and senior offensive lineman John Kim are among the walking wounded. Kite is out for 4-6 weeks, while the status of Barbato and Kim will be a game -ime decision.
“When you have 21 guys on your roster, it’s tough to even practice when you have multiple injuries,” said Fojtik. “We’re shuffling players to alternate positions so we can have the best personnel on the field on Friday.”
The Falcons have a potent offense that averages over 400 yards per game. Senior QB Trevius Folston is a physical specimen at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. He put up huge numbers against Heritage last week, torching their secondary for 232 yards and 5 TDs. The Pirates could use Barbato’s presence in the secondary to help thwart Folston
Florida Air Academy also has a dynamic RB in junior Jeffery Keels. Keels has put up gaudy numbers only four games into the season, with 654 yards rushing on 51 carries with 8 TDs. Kite’s absence at LB and Kim’s absence at DL will hurt the Pirates cause in stopping the Falcons outstanding ground game.
Florida Air Academy is a boarding school that has the ability to recruit nationally. As a result, they’ve had a strong program for years and will be a tough matchup for a banged-up SES squad. They aren’t quite as athletic as Warner, and this will give the Pirates a fighting chance in spite of their injuries.