WILLISTON — As Justin Wentworth enters his fourth season as Williston head football coach, he will go into 2018’s fall with a senior quarterback but a lot of young players as well.
On Thursday, during a 27-12 spring game loss to Class 5A Crystal River, the 1A Red Devils offense certainly showed promise with CJ Strange in control as well as backup Trentin Crooms, but silly mistakes and penalties, expected during this period, showed up and aided the visiting Pirates.
Such is spring football, which doesn’t count, but gives coaches a glimpse of what’s working and what’s not heading into the summer.
Williston went 5-6 a year ago and is in a tough Region 4 that includes Pahokee, Wildwood, Hawthorne and Frostproof.
“I thought we matched up well, but we had four big mistakes,” Wentworth said following his spring game. “Two fumbles and two big personal fouls.
“Holding, that’s all going to happen in this game. Physically we matched up. We started an eighth-grader, two freshmen and a 10th-grader on our offensive line. We are young, just made some mistakes we need to work on.”
Strange, who has been on the team since eighth grade and the starting quarterback since his sophomore year, tossed a touchdown pass in the game to Quinyon Mitchell. As a junior, he passed for 1,565 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“CJ did a really good job, I was proud of Trentin Crooms getting in there," Wentworth said. "He shouldered the load for almost all of the spring while CJ was playing baseball.
“I remember when he (Strange) came over for spring ball as a eighth-grader. Just watching practice. I’m proud of him and Quinyon is doing a great job. He is really starting to grow up.”
With the loss of Gerard Williams (1,534 yards, 14 TDs) to graduation, Wentworth said the Red Devils changed their scheme a bit offensively.
“Gerard was so good with his eyes and the inside zone scheme, but we are building for the future. The changes that we have gone through, and if there is a time for experiment it is in the spring.
“We came out all right. We came out healthy, one little scratch on one guy, but other than that we are healthy. We are looking forward to the development in the summer.”