Fluco football readies for new season

By Duncan Nixon, Correspondent

New Fluco football coach Mike Morris is busily preparing the team for the 2018 season. The team scrimmaged Aug. 8 at Waynesboro and will scrimmage at home Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. against Warren County. The regular season opens with a long trip down south to take on Bluestone High Aug. 24.

The Fluco home opener will be Aug. 31, when they will host Spotsylvania High.

Morris said that his team has been working hard and that he hopes to run an offense that emphasizes ball control. However, he does expect to use a variety of open sets that will force the opposition “to defend the entire field.” Coach Joel Gray will be Morris’ offensive coordinator.

Morris will be his own defensive coordinator and he expects to utilize a basic 4-4 formation, with multiple fronts and adjustments as necessary. While the Fluco football team has not been terribly successful of late, there is reason for some optimism this season. Morris coached the Fluco JV squad to a 6-4 record last season and key players from last year’s varsity squad are returning. Morris said that he has an impressive 80 athletes out this year for the varsity, JV and eighth grade teams.

On offense, Morris expects to have a host of running backs carrying the load of a ball control offense. He mentioned Prophett Harris, Austin Craig, Nathan Smith, Daori Green and John McDaniel as ball carriers. At quarterback, there are apparently still a number of possibilities, but he mentioned juniors Justin Sullivan and Cameron Holland as the leading prospects.

The Flucos may be stronger than in the recent past on the offensive and defensive lines. Three linemen who Morris mentioned as two-way players were Matt Waller, Caleb Stoltz and Walt Stribling. Stribling was second team All-District last year as a sophomore. Morris also commented that he expects Alden Custer to man the center position on the offensive line. Another two-way player that will contribute is Joey Van Dyke who is a tight end on offence and a defensive end.

Morris mentioned a group of four linebackers from whom he expects leadership and intelligent play: Malachi Hall, Nathan Smith, Towler Westcoat and Leukas Koczan. The defensive backfield will probably include several of the running backs. Harris was All-District first team last season at defensive back. Also in the defensive backfield expect to see Juwuan Gray, Djwan Anderson and wide receiver Colby Martin. The kicking game was not settled at the time of this article, but Morris noted that soccer player Elijah Bullock appears to be a strong prospect.

Senior lineman Matt Waller is in his second varsity season, and expects to play offensive guard and defensive tackle. He commented that he thinks that the team is really getting the new offense down and that he is looking forward to getting the season under way. Senior wide receiver and safety Colby Martin is also in his second varsity season. He commented that practices have been going smoothly and he believes that the team is really starting to click.

Morris noted that he has a large number of talented assistants, with a total of 14 assisting him on the varsity, JV and eighth grade teams. The Flucos have a schedule this year that hopefully will allow a young team to develop and improve as the season progresses. They play three regular season games and have a bye before taking on the tough Jefferson District part of their schedule. The first game against a Jefferson District opponent is not until Sept. 21, when they host Monticello High.

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