The Gainesville Hurricanes (0-3, 0-0) travel to Citra tonight to take on the North Marion Colts (3-0, 0-0), hoping to gain some momentum heading into district play.
About the Colts
North Marion is off to quite a strong start in head coach Willie Offord’s fourth season. After a loss to Cardinal Gibbons in the 5A state title game last December, Offord’s team has defeated its first three opponents a combined 124-20. North Marion’s defense is led by talented senior defensive end Jedyn Nichols, who holds an offer from USF, among other FBS schools. Offensively, the all-senior connection between quarterback Quintin Gross and wide receiver Jaree Turner leads the charge. Also notable is that current Gators Freddie Swain and Michael Tarquin are North Marion alum.
Hurricanes Unfazed by Slow Start
An early slate featuring tough non-conference opponents like Oakleaf and Vanguard has certainly challenged coach Patrick Miller’s team. Despite the 0-3 record, Miller says his team is as motivated as ever. “You could go out and beat an easy team 77-0, but when you play tough teams you get hit in the mouth and see how your kids respond.” Miller stressed that his Hurricanes had an energetic, physical week in practice after the disappointing blowout loss at Oakleaf. After starting Rod Williams at quarterback against Oakleaf, Miller says they will turn back to senior Jacob Hanson, as well as adding in some wildcat sets.
Though his program is certainly on an upward trajectory, Willie Offord is 0-3 against Gainesville as North Marion’s head coach. Last year’s state finalist squad lost a tough overtime 24-21 game at Gainesville and then rattled off a 9-game winning streak. Despite beating a very good Colts team last year, Miller says that “last year is last year, but we’re confident due to the week we’ve had in practice.”