Bucs boast strong leadership in the trenches entering season
Big, strong and seasoned.
That’s how Mainland head coach Scott Wilson described his team entering the 2018 season: the offensive and defensive line.
“We have athletes all over the field in all phases of the game,” Wilson said. “The thing that they’re doing is they’re putting in the work behind it, and that’s the key to success.”
The measuring stick for success is the same as it is every year for the Buccaneers: to win a state championship. In 2017, the Buccaneers’ season ended with a 17-10 home loss to Carol City in the second round of the Class 6A Playoffs. It was the second year in a row the Buccaneers faced the Chiefs in the playoffs — and lost.
In addition, last fall was a roller coaster of a season for the Buccaneers. They went through a stretch where they lost 3-of-4 games. And they started the season unsure at quarterback, sided with senior Jake Novello and ultimately replaced him with fellow senior Richard Kamara.
But the quarterback drama has shrunk to a minimum in 2018.
Taron Keith, who played running back in his sophomore year, was a forgone conclusion to start at quarterback entering the Buccaneers’ spring game in May. Keith, who also plays basketball for Mainland, had a productive summer. His crowning achievement was leading Mainland to a championship at the University of Central Florida’s 7-on-7 camp on June 16, where he was the only QB out of 30 teams to finish the day with no interceptions.
Wilson called Keith “one of the best young men he’s ever coached.”
But for his team leaders, Wilson will rely on center Blake Sadusk, guard John Endara, defensive back Brandon Whaley and senior defensive lineman Kevon McCrary, who Wilson calls a “coach on the field.”
“He literally can run every one of our drills,” Wilson said. “He can come out without any coaches and run the program. Honestly.”
McCray added that although the goal each season is to bring home a state title, it’s also to help the younger players under his watch grow.
“I want to help them become men,” he said. “I want them to understand the reason why they play football: why they get up, come out here each day to come play football.”