There has been a ton of activity this spring involving the local high school football programs. Let’s take a look at some of what’s going on with St. Edward’s and Vero Beach High School as spring practices wind down.
St. Edward’s – The Pirates are going through a transition of leadership amongst the players and in the coaching staff. Last year’s senior-heavy team is sending six starters off to play college football. Some of the departing include:
FB/LB Cam Budde, Franklin & Marshall (Lancaster,PA)- The four-year starter fought through an injury-riddled senior year to help lead his team to a 5-5 record–its first non-losing season since 2006.
LB Michael Lamos, Catholic University (Washington D.C.)- Last year’s leading tackler will continue making plays in the nation’s capital. He thrived in the Pirates’ new 3-3-5 defense last year.
WR/DB Chris Barbato, Waldorf College (Forrest City, IA)- The Pirates will miss Barbato and his eight career interceptions. He was also the team’s leading pass catcher over the past two years.
WR/DB Will Peckham, Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)- Peckham did a little of everything last year for the Pirates last season, recording team-highs in receiving yards and interceptions. The class of 2010 salutatorian will fit in well at Middlebury, which is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation.
OL/DL Matt McKnight, Washington & Jefferson (Washington, PA)- McKnight is a guy the Pirates will miss next year in the trenches. He’s going to a school where 85% of all seniors either find a job in their field of go on to graduate school-not bad, given the current economy.
TE/DE Jacob Fojtik, Sewanee University (Sewanee, TN)- The coach’s son was another important interior player for the Pirates, providing solid blocking for the team’s running attack. The school’s forestry program was a draw for him, as was its country setting.
Former Head Coach Brad Fojtik- After watching the 2010 class develop from overmatched freshmen into a cohesive unit, Fojtik decided to hang up his whistle. He hopes to catch all of Jake’s home games next year at Sewanee.
Vero Beach High School- Todd Fennell’s emergence as the team’s punter was a pleasant surprise for the Fighting Indians in 2009. Although his form was raw, Fennell excelled at directional punting, pinning opponents inside their own 10-yard line about once per contest.
After working with personal trainer Danny Trennepohl during the offseason, Todd has increased his flexibility and overall strength considerably. Trennepohl is the go-to fitness guru for the some of the area’s elite prep athletes, such as Fennell and 2010’s Florida State Boy’s Singles Champion, Andrew Butz.
Fennell has also gone to a handful of punting camps during the off-season, making an effort to improve his mechanics and consistency. The results have been nothing short of astonishing, as the senior-to-be is now considered one of the best punters in the country.
Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camps rates Fennell the #2 punter in Florida, and the #5 punter in the country. His five-star rating is their highest, and 76 percent of the class of 2009 athletes with this rating will play Division 1 football this year.