St. Ed’s football team prepares for upcoming fall season

VERO BEACH – The St. Edward’s School varsity football team continues to toil through “a pretty grueling summer program” in preparation for the 2010 season that kicks-off with the preseason classic against Trinity Preparatory School on Aug. 27.

The team will be guided by a new head coach for 2010. However the transition to the Bill Motta-era should be relatively seamless. In his second year at St. Ed’s, Motta moves up to the top spot after a year as defensive coordinator under Brad Fojtik, who stepped down after a 5-5 campaign in 2009. Lou Ferarri returns as an assistant coach specializing in defense.


Motta grabbed the reins at the beginning of a month-long spring practice session that eventually culminated in a hard fought 25-23 loss to Berean Christian School in Wellington on May 27.

The Pirates had a late shot at a win in the spring classic, but a 50-yard Dillon Benson field goal attempt fell short as the clock ran out.

The new head coach seized the opportunity this spring to install the rudiments of the run-oriented, play action passing Wing-T offense that will be featured when the serious business commences in early September.

The defensive plan calls for zone coverage and limit blitzing. Of more importance in his mind, however, was the chance to cement the understanding that proficiency in blocking and tackling must be demonstrated by everyone on the squad – on every play – for there to be any success on the field.

“That game was as much as you could ask for,” Motta reflected afterwards. “It was why you play a spring game. We ran the ball well but our pass protection broke down at times. Overall, we were around the ball and it was a solid effort on defense, but we blew some assignments and missed some tackles.”

Allowing big plays (scores from 79, 78 and 60 yards) was the ultimate downfall against Berean. Clearly, that must be eliminated if a squad with limited numbers – requiring the use of numerous two-way players – expects to come out on top in what could be a bunch of close games against evenly matched opponents.

Twenty-six players suited up for the spring game. Ideally, the coaching staff would like to see the roster swell to 35 this fall.

“You want to make people earn their points,” Motta instructed his guys. “Don’t let them score quickly. We want to make them work as hard as we are.”

In that sense, the coach was encouraged with what he saw.

“They just kept firing away, which for me was the most pleasing thing of all. They showed that they’re going to fight all the way from whistle to whistle.”

Intangible concepts such as mental toughness and composure are often tossed about casually. That will not be the case here.

“In a close contest you’re going to test the character of the players and see if they’re going to look for a hole to stick their heads in come the fourth quarter – and if they’re going to man-up and get after it,” Motta said.

The absence of a platoon system means that conditioning will be at a premium and could determine the team’s fortune when fatigue becomes a factor as the game grinds on and minutes pile up for two-way players.

“I knew coming in that we lost a great group of seniors,” Motta noted. “We really wanted to have some players emerge and create a solid foundation.”

For leadership on the field, two guys in particular stand out.

Seasoned quarterback Collier Proctor will double up at free safety. Jamari Williams will run the ball on offense and anchor the defense from the middle linebacker position.

“Collier is an exceptional quarterback at the high school level,” Motta said. “He’s certainly emerged as the one everybody looks up to.” The senior will orchestrate the right coverages and alignments for the defensive backfield, in essence barking out the signals on both sides of the ball.

“The guy has got so much talent he doesn’t know what to do with it,” Motta said of Williams, who found the end zone twice on short bursts in the spring game and will direct the defense from the pre-snap huddle.

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