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JOHN CARROLL RAMS NO PERFECTION ALLOWED
What happened: Fourth-ranked Class 2B John Carroll defeated fourth-ranked Class 4A St. Lucie West Centennial, 13-10, denying the Eagles a 10-0 regular season. Why it mattered: The win capped a 9-1 regular season for John Carroll, which clinched the District 5-2B championship. The Rams went on to win two playoff games for the first time before losing 26-7 to Pahokee in the Class 2B semifinals.
Key players: Kevin O’Brien passed for 167 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Wilson with 10:29 left that capped the Golden Rams’ rally from a 10-0 halftime deficit.
September 3 Berean Christian 9 The First Academy 16 St. Andrew’s 23 Orangewood Christian 30 at Lakeland Christian Sch. October 7 at Holy Trinity 21 at Melbourne Cent. Cath. 28 Port St. Lucie November 4 Trinity Prep 10 St. Edward’s
John Carroll returns five starters on defense and five on offense — not the best case scenario, but not the worst, either. Better still, the team features athleticism in wide receiver Keenan Dixon and transfer Aukeemian Mills. The Golden Rams will try to get those two isolated in mismatches in their new spread offense, get them the ball from one of the young quarterbacks and try to make things happen from there. John Carroll’s schedule also features seven home games.
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
ROSTER OFFENSE Pos Name WR Aukeemian Mills WR Keenan Dixon WR Daniel Culumber WR Pierce Halleran OL Trent Cox OL Nicholas Woodward OL A. Gambardella OL Thomas Plummer OL Anthony Jennings QB Matt Celidonio RB Conor Flaherty K Evan Percoco
No 1 2 3 22 62 75 53 72 64 10 9 28
Cl Ht Wt Sr. 6-1 182 Sr. 5-7 150 So. 5-9 155 So. 5-11 160 Jr. 6-2 290 So. 6-0 240 Sr. 6-3 220 Sr. 6-2 280 Jr 6-0 200 So. 6-0 190 So. 5-8 155 So. 5-5 135
While athletic, John Carroll is also very young; sophomores make up nine of the 22 starting positions. Coach Kevin Wald has ditched the option for the spread, and a bigger premium than ever will be placed on consistent quarterback play. One of the three quarterbacks — two sophomores and a junior — will have to step up and distribute the ball to the receivers. The kicking game also must improve to win the tight games.
DEFENSE Pos Name DT Michael Clark DT James Maynard NT Josh Ayala LB Jeremy Miret LB Pierce Halleran LB Chris Vallee LB A. Gambardella LB Ryan Caddell CB Keenan Dixon CB Conor Flaherty S Aukeemian Mills P Evan Percoco
No 31 88 74 7 22 52 53 4 2 9 1 28
Cl Sr. Sr. So. So. So. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. So. Sr. So.
Ht 5-8 6-0 5-11 5-11 5-11 5-10 6-3 5-8 5-7 5-8 6-1 5-5
Wt 200 205 260 160 160 205 220 150 150 155 182 135
KEY GAME SEPT. 9: THE FIRST ACADEMY
RESERVES Emmanuel Ribeiraud (5, Sr., WR/DB), Lavonta Spivey (13, Jr., RB/DB), James Longerbeam (15, Jr., QB/LB), Craig Ronaldson (17, Sr., WR/DB), Chris Buderus (23, Sr., WR/LB), Austin Laszewecki (25, So., WR/DB), Cameron Roberts (54, Jr., OL/LB), Hans Kraaz (56, Fr., FB/LB), Matt Carr (58, So., 5-8, 180), Alec Rothman (70, So., OL/DL), Marshall Lacombe (75, Sr., 6-2, 285).
Coach: Kevin Wald (third year) Record: 8-12 with John Carroll, 8-12 overall 2010: 3-7, 1-4 District 4-1A Assistant coaches: Derek Gibson (offensive coordinator/ running backs), Tony Barnes (wide receivers), Kevin O’Brien (quarterbacks), Andrew Bracken (offensive line), Jeff Lee (defensive coordinator/ linebackers), Danny Thomas (defensive backs), Dave Perry (defensive line), James Cannata (defensive assistant)
STADIUM MCGUIRE STADIUM (1,500) Playing surface: Grass Address: 3402 Delaware Ave., Fort Pierce Directions: From I-95, take the Okeechobee Road (SR 70) exit. Go east and veer left to stay on Okeechobee. Take a left on Hartman Road. Turn right onto Delaware Avenue and stadium is on left. Main office: 772-464-5200 On the web: www. johncarrollhigh.com
■■ The First Academy ■■ St. Edward’s ■■ Melbourne Central
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mackey Davis turned a short pass into a 34-yard TD play for Carroll’s other TD. Nose tackle Gary Anthony recovered a fumbled snap at the Rams’ 29 with 22 seconds left to end a late Centennial drive.
ERIC HASERT/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS
John Carroll High linebacker Anthony Gambardella scrambles during practice at the school as the team trains for the upcoming football season.
Quick moves Athleticism, speed will get John Carroll’s offense and defense to make plays By Bill Whitehead Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers
FORT PIERCE — Head coach Kevin Wald has changed his plan of attack at John Carroll. The third-year coach implemented an option-oriented offense in his first two seasons at the helm, but the Golden Rams will turn to a more wide-open, quick-strike attack this year. “Our goal is to get the ball in the receivers’ hands quickly and let them get the yards,” Wald said. The Rams will have some new help, too. The team welcomed in a home-run threat in wide receiver Aukeemian Mills, who transferred from Okeechobee for his senior season. In the Brahmans’ 30-12 win over Moore Haven in the spring game, Mills hauled in a pair of touchdowns in the first half. He scored on a 30-yard pass and then on the next possession streaked 70 yards after catching a quick slant, showing the kind of big-play capabilities Wald needs from his offense. “He has fit right in with the kids. He came right in, introduced
himself and they were all shaking hands and joking with each other during the first practice,” Wald said of Mills, who also will play safety. Senior Keenan Dixon returns at another receiver position. He caught five passes for 66 yards in six games last year, but should add more quickness to John Carroll’s new offensive scheme, which will look much different from the ones Wald ran in his first two seasons. “We’re planning on not huddling, and we’re getting away from the option. We’ll go to a little more of a spread look. We’ll run shotgun, four- and five-wide, empty sets, trips. You name it, we’re going to do it,” he said. “We have a lot of smaller, athletic kids, and we feel that fits us a little more. I don’t know that we have a true I (formation) tailback or fullback. “In high school football, you’ve got to adjust a little bit more to your talent and not force an offense on your team,” Wald said. Two sophomores and one junior are in the mix for the starting quarterback position, but after
ANTHONY GAMBARDELLA Senior offensive lineman/ middle linebacker 2010 stats: 17 tackles (11 solo), 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery in 8 games. Coach Kevin Wald: “He’s a guy who’s worked hard in the weight room. He’s improved his speed and strength, and he’s a very competitive young man.”
PREDICTION 4-6, 2-3 DISTRICT 4-3A
a good week of practice before the kickoff classic, sophomore Matt Celidonio emerged as the leader to start. “Matt has a great arm. He’s got the height and weight (6-foot, 190), but he was always stuck on the offensive line when he was younger. This summer, he heaved a ball about 40 or 50 yards after practice and didn’t really float it, and we’ve been working with him since,” Wald said. Wald added that having Celidonio at quarterback would benefit the offense, especially considering the value sophomore Pierce Halleran brings at other positions, including quarterback. The Rams will employ a 3-5 defensive scheme, which should allow the squad’s linebackers, led by senior Anthony Gambardella, to make plays. “It caters to our talent here. We have some good linemen, we don’t have a whole lot of them as far as depth and numbers. We have a lot of athletic type bodies, so that fits us more as far as the system goes,” Wald said.
Senior wide receiver/ free safety 2010 stats: 27 receptions for 291 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions Coach Kevin Wald: “He’s a very smooth wide receiver who has great hands and runs smooth, crisp routes.”
While the game against arch-rival Melbourne Central Catholic always is circled on the calendar by the folks in blue and gold, the first district game of the season may be the most important. If John Carroll could come out of that game against The First Academy with a win, it would be 1-0 in district play and possibly off to a 2-0 start. A loss and 0-1 in the district and it’s all uphill from there in regards to postseason aspirations.
John Carroll is helped by a favorable schedule with seven home games, but will have the burden of adjusting to Wald’s new system quickly — and beating Berea Christian in the first game would help. The team lost a couple of playmakers, but brought in one, so whoever the full-time quarterback is — and he will be a first-time starter — must get the ball to the four or five wide receivers in the formation. The young squad must also play better defense and kick well, too, if it wants to beat the likes of MCC.
SEASON OF MEMORIES 1967 (9-0-1)
Why it was special: The Golden Rams produced their first unbeaten regular season and earned a share of their third consecutive Caloosa Conference champion. By the numbers: John Carroll outscored opponents 375-32, had a school-record seven shutouts and scored at least 50 points four times.
Sophomore receiver/ defensive back 2010 stats: 26 tackles (15 solo) in eight games Coach Kevin Wald: “He’s another good athlete who can play multiple positions. He can play quarterback, receiver, safety, spur, corner or outside linebacker.”
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Published on Sep 6, 2011