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Mariner, Ida Baker look to build their programs in 2020

Tritons and Bulldogs clash in Friday night opener

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 17, 2020

Mariner receiver Hunter Ward (11) makes a leaping catch in a game last season against rival Cape Coral. MICHAEL PISTELLA/ FILE

With the Southwest Florida high school football season given the green light to kickoff, The Cape Coral Breeze each week leading up to the regular season will feature a West Zone team (or two) to give readers and fans a better chance to get to know each program.

Each head coach was given the same template to complete. Information provided on each team comes from the individual program.

This week, The Breeze is featuring Mariner High School and Ida Baker High School.

These two teams will clash in Week 1 with the Tritons hosting. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday night.

Mariner High School Tritons

Eric Swanson returns to Ida Baker for his senior season at QB. MICHAEL PISTELLA/FILE

District 5A Region 13

2019 record: 4-6, 3rd in league

Head Coach: Josh Nicholson, first season as head coach

Coaching Staff: Jake Arbuckle, assistant head coach; Derrick Ransom, defensive coordinator; Jim O’Brien, special teams coordinator; Joseph Gonsalves, varsity assistant coach; John Annazone, varsity assistant coach; Doug Faasse, director of football operations; Shelby Thomas, JV head coach/offensive coordinator; Michael Wheeler, JV defensive coordinator; Chris Ramsey, JV assistant coach

Roster Size (projected): 45 (35 JV)

Players to watch (comment by head coach):

-Mack Koselke, SR, OL/DL, 5’6” 160lbs: “2019 FACA District 18 – 1st Team Offensive Tackle. McDonald is an athletic lineman that plays with a mean streak on the field and works to finish blocks on every play.”

-Kelley McDonald, SR, OL/DL, 6’3” 280lbs: “2019 FACA District 18 – 1st Team Offensive Tackle. McDonald is an athletic lineman that plays with a mean streak on the field and works to finish blocks on every play.”

-Hunter Ward, SR, WR/OLB, 6’3″ 190lbs: Returning two-way starter, Ward is a big physical receiver that also doubles as a tight end and wingback. Versatile edge defender that utilizes his explosiveness and high football IQ to make an impact all over the field.

-Nick Longo, SR, RB/OLB, 6’1” 210lbs: Returning defensive starter, Longo is a big physical runner that is tough to bring down as a ball carrier. He has the frame and ability to be a dominant defender, setting the edge opposite of Ward.”

Young up-and-comers:

-Jacob Manning, JR, RB/DB, 5’11” 170lbs

-Ashton Devitt. JR, RB/LB, 5’10” 175lbs

-David Parada, JR. OL/DL, 5’10” 220lbs

-Alex Portier, JR, WR/DB, 5’10” 155lbs

“All are returning starters, Manning, Devitt, Parada, and Portier have developed into leaders in the weight room and are looking to take a huge leap forward as they begin their junior campaigns.”

Goals for the season:

“This season is about setting the new standard for Mariner football. We will continue to carry on the traditional smash-mouth style of football that Mariner is known for, with an emphasis on special teams and fundamentals. Our goal is to compete from the opening kickoff through the final whistle of every game with class and sportsmanship.”

What do you hope to accomplish not just in terms of wins and losses?

“We are working hard to build a winning culture that is led by the players, not just on the field but also on campus and in the community. We had a great off-season, working together to adapt and overcome the many challenges thrown at us. I hope that we will continue to grow together through adversity and develop these young men into great fathers, husbands, and the future leaders of our community.”

What do you bring to the field?

“We are a disciplined, physical, and fundamentally sound football team that is ready to compete on every snap. Our wing-t offense allows us to spread the ball around to all of our playmakers and forces defenses to play assignment football. Our hybrid 3-4 defense gives us the versatility to match up against anything our opponents throw at us, but what will set us apart will be our dedication to special teams and the fundamentals of football: blocking and tackling.”

Looking forward to county-only matchups?

“We’re just excited to get back after it, we’re ready to play anybody anywhere.”

How has your program dealt with the challenges of a pandemic leading up to the season?

“Despite the difficult circumstances, we have had one of the best off-seasons in terms of participation and fundraising that I have ever been a part of as a coach. The team and I truly appreciate all you have done to kick start the new era of Mariner football.”

Ida Baker

High School Bulldogs

District 6A Region 13

2019 record: 5-5, 5th in league

Head Coach: Chuck Faucette, second season

Coaching Staff: Greg Hudson, defensive coordinator; Charles Geist, offensive coordinator

Roster Size (projected): 109

Players to watch:

-Levontai “Bo” Summerset, SO, ATH, 5’11” 175lbs

-Kaleb Staple, JR, RB, 5’11” 190lbs

-Eric Swanson, SR, QB, 6’2″ 160 lbs

-Ivan Macksyine, SR, DL, 6’2″ 245lbs

-Willie Brown, SR, DB, 5’11” 165lbs

-Angel Alverio, SR, LB, 6’1″ 225lbs

-Zach Malpica, JR, LB, 6’3″ 240 lbs

Young up-and-comers:

-Jaiden Jones, WR, FR, 5’11” 150lbs

-Daniel Newson, DB, SO, 5’10” 145lbs

Goals for the season (comments by the head coach:

“To make the playoffs.”

What do you hope to accomplish not just in terms of wins and losses?

“To really have the Ida Baker community involved.”

What do you bring to the field?

“Championship experience.”

Looking forward to county-only matchups?

“You have to win your county before you can move on.”

For live updates on game days and throughout the season, follow The Breeze on Twitter @CapeCoralDaily.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj