Trojans, Bucs among teams with high hopes for 2023

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After a long off-season, we can finally say the wait is over. Football season is here once again. It’s time for the young student-athletes of Northeast Florida to lace up their cleats, strap on their shoulder pads and buckle their chin straps as another year of America’s favorite sport comes around. After all the college visits, weight lifting programs, skills and 7on7 camps, it’s finally time to turn on the bright lights and cheer on your favorite teams. The talented young players of the Jacksonville area and all of its surrounding counties will showcase their skills to achieve the one goal that’s been embedded in their minds since the first day they stepped on a high school football field, winning a state championship. In recent history, schools like Mandarin, Bolles, Trinity Christian and Raines have always been on top of the power rankings in this area. This year, there are a few other teams that might raise some eyebrows. 

Last season, the Bartram Trail Bears were on fire as they went on a 12 game winning streak before their only loss derailed their season. Once again under the leadership of Super 11 Quarterback, Riley Trujillo, the Bears will look to complete the mission for the gold in 2023. If they want to get to the promiseland of winning a championship, the key factor will be the Bear’s rushing attack. With the emergence of JEAG Sports Fab 50 top running back Laython Biddle, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this team on top when it’s all said and done.

Fletcher is another team with a promising future this season. They also have a Super 11 Quarterback in Marcelis Tate. The dual threat QB is mainly known for punishing opposing teams with his legs. However, the passing attack is necessary for the Senators’ offensive to live up its true potential. JEAG Sports Fab 50 top player Anthony Vaglienti is a guy they have to get the ball to for this team to be fully successful. The 6’2 standout receiver led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2022. 

The sleeper team in 2023 is the Ribault Trojans. They have a ton of young talent led by another JEAG Sports Fab 50 top player in Jordan Matthews. Matthews is a versatile lineman that plays on both sides of the ball. He is a fierce competitor with leadership qualities that makes it easy for his teammates to rally around him. The Trojans also have a talented Sophomore Quarterback in Timothy Cole. This young rising star is surrounded by other talented players like running back Jayshaun Wanton, Wide Receiver Jahrod Shaw and Defensive back Caleb Thomas. Ribault showed just a flash of how good they can be during the spring in a 34-0 victory over the Fernandina Beach Pirates. Friday August 18th, the Trojans will kick off their season against longtime Northside rival, First Coast High school in the JEAG Sports Kick-off Classic game of the week. The First Coast has some amazing talent as well, led by Senior Quarterback Rodney Tisdale and JEAG Sports Fab 50 top receiver, Thomas Jackson. In 2022, Jackson torched his opponents with nearly yards receiving on 50 receptions and 12 receiving touchdowns. This will be a great game to see which direction both teams are headed for the 2023 season.

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Vaughn Foster