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Countdown To Kickoff: GHS Hurricanes

The Canes bring back experienced defense, hopes offense can catch up
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Nobody benefited less from a delayed start and the threat of no 2020 season than the Gainesville Hurricanes. The Canes were operating under new head coach Dock Pollard, only played six games during the pandemic-impacted fall, and finished 2-4. One year later, GHS is on a revenge tour.

“It’s been a blessing, it’s been great,” said Pollard. “The spring going into the summer, and getting consistently people showing up at workouts, to us getting better and ready for the season, it’s like it’s been a great experience this time around.”

“I really feel it’s important because we weren’t able to show off our full showcase,” said senior linebacker Quinton Daniels. “We really didn’t have too much film for anybody but this year we really have something to prove”

In 2020, GHS did improve by season’s end, losing to Mainland by only three points in round one of the Class 6A state playoffs. The Hurricanes are buoyed by the potential of a complete season, and having eight defensive starters back won’t hurt. Ryan Nolan (Army) and D’yoni Hill (Marshall) are Division 1 commits, while Brandon Bowman has an offer from Stetson.

“There’s always going to be momentum with the team we got,” said Nolan. “But as long as we get the offense rolling, we’ll be good because the defense is going to be straight.”

“I look for weaknesses, and see if a person is tired or lazy,” said Daniels. “I try to get on him, I try to attack it, find his weakness point and just go at it.”

Offensively, Ammon Engebretsen anchors the line for GHS. And Shooby Coleman is back as only a sophomore under center. Meanwhile, Brent King, who spent some time at quarterback last fall, moves to receiver in an effort to spread out the canes weaponry.

“It shows I’m an athlete, I need more scouters, and our team is pretty great,” said King.

Success for the Hurricanes will ultimately depend on whether they can withstand a punishing schedule. GHS visits Vanguard in the season opener on Aug. 27, and also takes on Bishop Moore, Trinity Catholic, Buchholz, and 6A semifinalist St. Augustine.

“Progress is a process, and nothing that’s going to happen overnight,” said Pollard. “If you look at the teams that had success, they have staffs that have been together, players who know the system, and then you take that, and they play hard. I think we’re working towards that.”

If things do come together, this Hurricane Watch could become a Hurricane Warning.

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