Verot building toward set goals
It’s time for round two at Bishop Verot High School.
Veteran head coach Bill Shields, who re-assumed the helm of the Vikings’ football program last fall after a two-decade absence, returns this year to build on the foundation laid in 2014.
The team finished second to Cardinal Mooney in the District 3A-6 standings in Shields’ second debut and earned a berth in the state 3A playoffs before falling on the road to Clearwater Central Catholic.
The Vikings reached the state Class 2A title game during Shields’ first tenure in 1990.
“I feel that the 2014 season helped set our goals for the upcoming season,” Shields said. “We understand that if you work on the things that need improvement then you should improve as a team. I would hope our players understand the importance of playing as a team. Playing for your teammate and play as hard as you can for as long as you can. I don’t feel that I am any different on the field or in the locker room. When it’s football time it’s time for football.”
During his time away from Verot, Shields was 41-14 during a five-year run as head coach at Titusville Astronaut, and also worked in both Jacksonville and Duluth (Ga.).
Upon returning to Fort Myers, he replaced Phil Dorn, who left for a job at Alabama A&M University.
“Our program is one built on competition, on and off the field, teaching young men to be responsible and the importance of working together to reach a common goal,” Shields said. “Setting goals without a plan on achieving them is nothing more than a wish. It is important to us that we improve every week and that we challenge for our district championship.”
Senior Alex McDougall and sophomore Korey Besse competed for snaps at quarterback in a bid to replace departed starter Quinn Farrell, who threw for 1,017 yards and 12 TDs last season.
McDougall saw time in 10 games behind Farrell, connected for three touchdowns and 135 yards.
Also back is sophomore running back William Scott, who ran for 1,225 yards and 18 touchdowns as a ninth-grader, while also leading the team with 18 pass receptions. Additionally, returning seniors Cooper Gibson and Jake Bowlin combined for 23 catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns as juniors.
Shields said he’ll lean on linemen Viktor Beach, Jimmy Holdgrafter and Trevor Glasgow, wide receiver Mathias Combs, running back Deven Thompkins and center/kicker Nathan Holmes on offense, as well as lineman Aiden Maribona, linebackers Bowlin, Anthony Cecere, Tristan Perry and Marcus Evans on defense.
“Every one of our players is important to our goals,” Shields said. “We need players to play and practice. As we enter the season, we need to have everyone play to a higher level.”
The Vikings won their preseason classic matchup last Thursday at Estero 43-32. Their regular season opening game is Friday when they host Cardinal Mooney, which is no longer in the same district as the Vikings.