Indians travel to Wildwood for spring football game

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By Sean Arnold

A new era of Indian football gets its first reveal Friday in Wildwood, where the Chiefland football team takes on the Wildcats in a spring exhibition.

It’s the first game as head coach for Adam Gore, who took over the program in the winter.

Gore, a CMHS graduate, was head man at Bell for a season, and was an assistant at Chiefland – including head junior varsity coach – and Dixie County.

For Gore’s Indians, this spring and summer are a crucial time for a team that boasts promising athletic talent, but is bursting with inexperience.

“Over half the team’s new, so it’s exciting,” Gore said before the team’s intrasquad scrimmage last Friday. “It’s interesting, because there are so many new guys, and there are plenty of ballplayers in the new guys. That’s what’s fun about it.”

With that, this Friday provides a chance to put that inexperience on tape, under the lights, against what Gore figures to be an athletic Wildwood squad.

“You are what you are on tape,” he said. “So that’s what we really want to do with these inexperienced guys and these young guys. We want to get them on tape and be able to go, ‘That’s who you are,’ let them see where they’re at.”

Gore has recruited players from other sports in an effort to boost the program’s numbers, particularly at skill positions, where Chiefland has lacked depth. But the new head man says it all starts at the point of attack, where he hopes his team will ultimately make its name.

“We want to go out and try to be the most physical team,” he said. “The rest will take care of itself. I know Wildwood’s got phenomenal athletes, and they’re extremely fast, and we’re going to have to scheme to that. But at the end of the day, we want to be able to hang our hat on that every single game. I know it sounds cliche and simple and narrow.”

Wildwood is also under new leadership, as former Lecanto head coach McKinley Rolle takes the helm after serving as defensive coordinator at Umatilla. Rolle is the older brother of former FSU standout Myron Rolle.

The Wildcats recently fell on hard times, even having to suspend its varsity football program for a season two years ago due to low participation. They finished 0-10 in 2016.

But the school’s success on the basketball court suggests it could be a sleeping giant.

“They have a new coach too, they’ve got new interest,” Gore said. “They’ve got athletes to burn.”

Gore says the rate of development for his group will determine how much the team can improve on its 3-5 mark from last season.

“We’re not necessarily as young as we are inexperienced. How good we’re going to be is going to be determined by how our young players develop, and the inexperienced players. We’ve got some inexperienced players that are athletes.

“How good of coaches are we?” Gore added. “(We’ve got to) coach ‘em up, you know what I mean? It’s not all on them, it’s on us too.”

Gore says the team is focused on tempo and more consistent effort in practice.

“The whole idea is to see what we can accomplish in the time we’re out there,” he said. “And just being consistent. If you’re going to be physical for two plays, you can’t take two off. We’re trying to teach to play fast. And we’re trying to teach, ‘Let’s not just block second level, let’s go third level.’

“We’re not close to being there. If we can get constant effort and physical play and really work the technique, we’ll be okay.”

Gore has been encouraged by what he’s seen from his players in the weight room.

“Guys that have spent time with me in the weight room, you see that transfer onto the football field, and see how much faster and more physical they are, and the confidence it’s gave them.”

Gore is thrilled to be back coaching at his alma mater with fellow alumni on his staff.

“The majority of the coaches are alumni, and the ones that aren’t have coached here a while. So to be able to have a common pride and interest – like when we painted the field (for the scrimmage), it was all of us former players out there.

“That’s exciting, to have such a cool coaching staff. I’ve said all along, I don’t want loyalty to me, I want loyalty to the program.”

Kickoff Friday is 7:30 p.m. at Wildwood Middle High School.