JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Back in November the First Coast Buccaneers were wrapping up a season that saw an undefeated regular season and a trip to the Class 8A regional finals. Since then, the Bucs have seen an offseason full of turmoil.
In April, First Coast lost one of their own when junior wide receiver Johnnel Johnson was shot and killed while at a prom after party.
More recently, First Coast graduate and 2014 Mr. Football award winner, De’Andre Johnson, who had early enrolled at Florida State University to join the football team, found himself in trouble with the law after allegedly punching a woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar, June 24. The Buccaneers watched, Monday, as their former quarterback, who is facing misdemeanor battery charges, was dismissed from the Seminoles, following the release of the surveillance video showing the incident.
Despite the tumultuous offseason, head coach Marty Lee and his team, are trying to remain focused on the upcoming season. Lee has used the off-the-field drama that has filled the offseason as a learning lesson for his current players.
“We are very resilient and life lessons are taught in various ways,” said Lee. “It’s unfortunate some things that we’ve gone through with Johnnell and De’Andre but we’re going to stay strong. We’ve got the Buc Nation fever and we’re going to keep working hard.”
Lee added that while he doesn’t condone the situation that De’Andre Johnson is in, he knows he can bounce back and that he has the support of his former team in his corner.
For the Bucs, the start of the 2015 season will provide a chance to begin to move on, while not forgetting the struggles they’ve gone through this offseason and the life lessons they’ve learned from those struggles.
Lee and the Buccaneers open the 2015 season, August 28, at home against Arlington Country Day.
Follow Tim Bee on Twitter at @timbeesports