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Spring high school football preview: Santa Fe Raiders

New head coach attempts to breathe life into program after a winless 2021 season
Santa Fe, new coach, welcome Dixie County Friday
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:17 PM EDT
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ALACHUA, Fla. (WCJB) -By the end of this week, high school football teams across North Central Florida will be playing spring games. That includes Santa Fe, where the Raiders welcome Dixie County on Friday.

After a winless fall of 2021, Santa Fe turned to alum Joe Szymanski to turn the program around as head coach. Szymanski won a state title as a player for the Raiders in 1994. More recently, he served as offensive coordinator at Union County and helped the Fightin’ Tigers average over 40 points per game.

Szymanski’s Raiders are freshman and sophomore heavy, but that could be viewed to be a good thing, as they often haven’t developed bad habits. Szymanski believes his group is coachable.

“The kids have work ethic, they’re working very hard,” said Szymanski. “They’re getting after it every day, and we’re pleased with the way they’re handling business.”

“The new plays, they’re kind of hard to learn,” said quarterback / receiver James Smith. “But once you learn them, you get it down and they’re really good plays so I think we’re really going to do good against the teams we play this year.”

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