COCOA BEACH –
Devin Sciarappa is sandwiched between a pair of defenders, causing him to fumble during practice at Cocoa Beach High School.
For nearly a decade, Tony Piccalo drove an often-overachieving Cocoa Beach football program.
Beginning Friday, the Minutemen will be led into games by new head coach Billy Huthman.
The team will make a bus trip to Lafayette for its preseason game with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Huthman came to the school from North Port High and already has faced many of the same challenges the program has typically faced in recent years. He also has found some resources that look similar to some the Minutemen have had in the past.
Start under center with a big quarterback with a strong arm and enviable size despite being at the beginning of his high school career. Mitchell Machock is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound 10th-grader.
“He’s a sophomore, but he’s not playing like one,” Huthman said. “He’s got a cannon, and he’s really starting to learn to read defenses, although there are times when he still looks like a sophomore.”
Cocoa Beach has close to 70 players in the program, and Huthman expects to field a varsity team of between 30 and 40. Though the team will still have to play some of its better athletes on both offense and defense, the new coach is hoping most will only do so “sporadically.”
Though some youth will be shown up front, three seniors will take their places on the offensive line that will protect Machock. Among the top players on the offensive line is Nick Greenwell.
One of the young quarterback’s top targets will be senior Chick Winn. Winn had a pair of games last year in which he produced more than 100 yards of receiving. He will also be a leader of the defense, playing at middle linebacker.
“He’s not vocal, but he’s enthusiastic,” Huthman said. “We’re going to let him roam and go. He’s pretty much not coming off the field, and he doesn’t want to.”
When Huthman is away from the field, he will be looking for team chemistry, watching how the players interact in the locker room.
“It’s coming together like I like. The older guys are really taking the younger ones under their wing. I’m really starting to see some senior leadership.”
Come the regular season, he’ll see some of the best opposition the area has to offer. Cocoa Beach will still compete in district play against Cocoa, Orlando Jones and rising offensive power Space Coast.
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or email@example.com. Follow high school sports news on Twitter @321preps.
2014 Minutemen Schedule
Aug. 29 at Titusville 7
Sept. 5 Melbourne CC 7
Sept. 12 at Viera 7
Sept. 19 at Space Coast 7
Sept. 26 Holy Trinity 7
Oct. 3 Cocoa 7
Oct. 17 Pt. Orange Atl. 7
Oct. 24 at Orl. Jones 7
Oct. 31 Eau Gallie 7
Nov. 7 at Satellite 7
Meet the Players
Chick Winn, Sr., 5-10, 165, WR/LB
Favorite pro sports team: New York Giants
Dream job: Hotel management
Teammate he’d most like to trade places with: The quarterback. I’ve played quarterback, and I just think it’s a fun position.
Pregame pump-up music: “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park
Go-to fast food item: Cheeseburger
FLORIDA TODAY takes a look at each football team around the county, profiling a different one each day. Thursday: Heritage.