Coach aims to develop depth this season

By Duncan Nixon

Head football coach Mike Morris was named Jefferson District Coach of the Year last season after leading the Flucos to their first winning season and first playoff appearance in a very long time.

Morris said he hopes that last season’s successes will not lead to too high expectations for this year’s squad. However, he believes this season’s schedule is favorable to the development of the depth that he is looking for at some positions.

The team opens its season with a scrimmage at William Monroe High on Aug. 16. On Aug. 23 the Flucos will host a three-way scrimmage with Fork Union Military Academy and New Kent High. The regular season opens with a trip to Broadway High on Aug. 30. The Flucos will then travel Sept. 6 to Spotsylvania, a Class 3 playoff team from last season. The following Friday Nelson County, a Class 2 team, comes to Fluvanna. After a bye week, the Flucos host Waynesboro Sept 27.

The tough Jefferson District schedule does not start until October. On Oct. 4 the Flucos host Charlottesville. On Oct. 11 they play their fourth home game in a row, hosting Western Albemarle in the Flucos’ homecoming game. Home games start at 7 p.m.

By the time Jefferson District play opens, Morris expects that some of his younger players will be battle tested and able to step up and contribute. The team has some quality experienced players returning. The roster will include 17-18 seniors and 11-12 juniors.

Returning at quarterback is Kobe Edmunds, who turned in an impressive performance last season as a freshman. Morris lost most of his running back core to graduation and said that the team may do running back “by committee.” He mentioned Malachi Hill, who was one of a number of contributing running backs last season. Also look for Gabe and Tyler Stoy, Nathan Mentor and Justin Sullivan to get some carries. The coaching staff is also high on freshman running back Jaden Ferguson, who has turned heads with some outstanding track performances.

Morris notes that the offensive and defensive lines are the heart of the team. It is especially encouraging that the Flucos have some quality returnees, since it is common knowledge that football games are often won or lost in the trenches. Morris mentioned linemen Walter Stribling, Alden Custer and Trevor Wade and commented that he will probably rotate players in and out on both lines. Custer gained honorable mention honors at the District level last season as an offensive lineman. At the end of last season he was listed as 5”11 and 250. Stribling was first team All-District last season at offensive tackle. He was listed as 6-6 and 310 last year and is a dominating presence. Wade is also a big young athlete with a listing of 6-0 and 255.

On defense Morris is looking for some depth at linebacker. He expects Hill to lead the way for the linebacking corps, as he was first team All-District last season. Gabe Stoy is expected to be a tough man to block at outside linebacker. The secondary is one place that Morris feels he has solid depth. He mentioned Elijah Bullock, Keshawn Fisher, Cameron Holland and Devon Glasgow. He also expects that Edmunds will contribute in the defensive backfield.

The Fluco offense will be a “hybrid wing T.” The quarterback will take some snaps over center and some shotgun hikes. Fluco opponents can expect to have to defend against some open sets. Morris said that the defense he deploys will depend a lot on what the opposition is doing. He may use a 4-4, a 4-2 or a 3-3.

For the first time this season, the coaching staff is putting together an eighth grade football team.

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