For four years, the Rockledge High football players, coaches and fans have watched teams north, east, south and even west of them enjoy trips to the playoffs while they’ve had their season end in early November.
That doesn’t make the Raiders particularly unusual, because only two teams from each district earn playoff trips. But for a school with two state championships and more district titles than most, it doesn’t make it pleasant, either.
This year, Rockledge is the team all the others in Class 5A, District 13 are pointing to as a district favorite. In their preseason win over Eau Gallie High on Friday, 31-7, the Raiders showed a lot of what others see. The defense was stout, and the offense took advantage of its opportunities.
Coach Larry Laskowski has called the offensive line “a real key for us,” and with four senior starters returning from last year, it is the building block. While there is athletic talent all over the field, much of it is young. The coach just doesn’t want his youngest players to appear to be young.
“We cannot play like a young team,” he said. “That’s one of the keys for us is those young, inexperienced guys to step up and play to their potential and not make young mistakes (although) that is bound to happen early.”
One thing the staff will do to assist the young players in that area is going to be the overall approach to how the game is strategized.
“Our philosophy is going to be keep things simple,” Laskowski said. “Get good at what we’re doing and add things after we do those other things well, instead of trying to do too much. If they understand what we’re doing and they can match up, we’re going to be pretty good at what we’re doing. We’ll be pretty basic with a few wrinkles thrown in.”
Quarterback Alex Adler will lead the Raiders’ offense, and Laskowski likes the talent he has in the backfield with Adler, including senior R.J. Carter and juniors Traven Phillips.
Actually, he sees promise in just about every unit.
“We’ve got a pretty good level of talent at every position, some pretty good strength at some positions,” Laskowski said. “They seem to be pretty close together, a pretty tight group on and off the field, and that’s important.”
2012 Raiders schedule
2012 Raiders schedule
Aug. 31PALM BAY
Sep. 7ST. CLOUD
Sep. 28at Viera
Oct. 5at Merritt Island
Oct. 26at Astronaut
Nov. 2at Space Coast
Nov. 9at Cocoa