Countdown To Kickoff: Bradford Tornadoes

The Bradford Tornadoes are primed for a deep postseason run with 12 starters returning to the roster.
Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - As hurricane season approaches its peak, high school football teams in North Central Florida are preparing for the mother of all twisters.

The Bradford Tornadoes are blaring the sirens for their opponents.

“This year we gonna bring a lot to the table this year just by the head coach we got,” said Bradford senior running back Manny Covey. “The new plays, all the concept that we gonna run this year is gonna be a lot for us.”

a year after falling to Pahokee in the second round of the playoffs, Bradford returns 12 senior starters, and they want to make the most of their final season.

“We think a lot about it because after this you know, it’s college and real life,” said senior wide receiver Gavin Cook. “So this is like a last ride for us so we’re trying to make it count. We’re a class full of seniors, so we’re expecting a lot this year, we fell a little short last year, but with a new coach, he’s implementing new stuff to us, so we’re just following him and trusting him with it.”

The Tornadoes new head coach is Jamie Rodgers. He spent seven years calling the shots at Suwannee and Baker County, and is well aware of Bradford’s successful reputation.

“I grew up 15 or 20  minutes from Bradford,” said Bradford Head Coach Jamie Rodgers. “My brother lived in Bradford pretty much his whole life. So, I know a lot about the area, about the kids we have and I’m very excited to get rolling.”

Bradford hasn’t missed the postseason since 2014, and Rodgers is eager to take his team’s experience to another level.

“There’s a lot of kids that had a lot of young experience, that had to play as ninth and tenth graders early on that are now juniors and seniors. So, definitely gonna benefit from that.”

“He’s adding a lot of stuff into the gameplay where we know how to react, we’re not guessing as much,” said Bradford junior linebacker Chason Clark. “Teaching us to play with more tenacity so we can hit harder, play more nasty, make sure we can win.”

The Tornadoes touch down August 26th when they open their season against Baker County.

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