FLEMING ISLAND –Head coach Damenyum Springs knew he had a rising star in freshman quarterback Cibastian Broughton. He found out Friday evening at Fleming Island’s Green and Gold game that he has …
FLEMING ISLAND –Head coach Damenyum Springs knew he had a rising star in freshman quarterback Cibastian Broughton. He found out Friday evening at Fleming Island’s Green and Gold game that he has a very capable back-up in Carson Stewart.
Broughton and Stewart each threw touchdown passes for the Gold team in a controlled scrimmage at Fleming Island High School. Broughton, who claimed the starting role early last fall, was efficient, completing six of nine passes for 63 yards. He lofted a five yard pass to Dakota Rowe on the left side for a touchdown on the Gold offense’s third series, capping a 10-play, 80 yard drive. Broughton was also the game’s leading rusher, gaining 34 yards on five carries. Springs, who was pleased with Broughton’s play last season, hopes his freshman will improve by being more patient next fall, staying in the pocket longer and giving his receivers time to break open before deciding to run.
Stewart, like Broughton a freshman, did not play quarterback last season for Fleming Island’s junior varsity. He switched to the position as an experiment this spring and looked like a natural Friday. Playing the entire second half of the scrimmage, Stewart displayed a soft touch while completing 10 of 20 passes for 193 yards with no interceptions. He connected with junior Kaan Jumani for a 23 yard score on the second series of the third quarter.
“Stewart played well,” said Springs. “He read the field well, delivered the ball well and ran well.”
New receivers emerged. Broughton seems to have developed good chemistry with freshman Demhir Jackson, who caught two passes, while Stewart’s favorite targets were freshman Damiano De Steno, junior Brody Glickman and Enzo Leone. De Steno led all receivers with four catches, while Glickman’s two receptions included a 57 yard catch and run that led to Jumani’s touchdown. Leone may be the most intriguing prospect heading into the fall. The sophomore was the Golden Eagles’ kicker last season, but Springs and the other Fleming Island coaches believe he can contribute in other ways.
“We saw Enzo doing conditioning drills this winter, and said, ‘Man, you are quick! We have got to try you somewhere else.’”
The Golden Eagles’ ground game did not fare well, which was a surprise since the offensive line returns four of five starters from last fall. Ethan Hoffstetter, Timothy Lawrence, Michael Zeray and Ethan Williams are back, and Braden Cunningham, the projected fifth starter, started several games as a freshman last season. Yet, Fleming Island ball carriers gained only 105 yards on 33 attempts and the quarterbacks were sacked three times. Springs was not overly concerned, pointing out that he has six of his front seven starters returning on defense.
“Our offensive line should be a strength, but our D-linemen are not slaps, either,” said Springs. “That is why we were not moving the ball as we should.”
Ends Jhace Edward and Jake Little and tackles Gage Isbell and Khalil Matthews proved difficult to budge up front. Little and Isbell each had a tackle for loss and half a sack. The Golden Eagles must replace both
starting safeties from last season, and freshman David Smith staked a claim to one of the spots Friday. Smith’s interception of Broughton in the first quarter was nullified by a holding penalty on a teammate, but the freshman, who also plays baseball for Fleming Island, made tackles on both sides of the field. Junior linebacker Tyler Williams also showed he was ready to contribute, recording two tackles for loss.
Springs believes the Golden Eagles can improve on last year’s 6-5 record, but to do so must improve their conditioning and develop depth on both sides of the ball. A number of players will be forced to play both offense and defense, at least on a part-time basis.
“We only have 56 guys on the roster, while other Class 7A teams like Bartram Trail have like 200,” said Springs. “So we have to be in better shape.”
Running back Sam Singleton and wide receiver Darion Domineck, each of whom is entertaining Division I scholarship offers, did not play Friday. Singleton injured a hamstring while running for the Fleming Island track team earlier this spring, while Domineck has not yet fully recovered from a Lisfranc injury suffered last fall.
The Golden Eagles have a short week or practice before their spring game at Mandarin High School on Thursday, May 19.
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