Nate Hooks has the look of a coach who can’t wait to put his team on the field against an opponent.
His Holy Trinity team finished as the District 6-3A runner-up last season, beating crosstown rival Melbourne Central Catholic in the regular season. A roster loaded with eighth- and ninth-graders a year ago is now heavy with ninth- and 10th-graders.
And, according to Hooks, they are speedy and talented.
“We’re fast, and we have more athletes than we’ve had,” he said. “The roster is still small, but that comes every year.”
Hooks is working with about 22 for now, just enough to hold a full scrimmage. Among that number are some proven performers who may get even more opportunities to show their stuff in 2016. The hope is that, if indeed the FHSAA playoff system changes next year and 3A teams no longer compete in districts, it will be the Tigers who leave with the last trophy.
‘We’re training and preparing to compete for a district championship,” Hooks said. “The thing with our district is, if you lose one, you’re in trouble.”
Holy Trinity and MCC play in one of the state’s three-team districts. The Hustlers and John Carroll, the defending champion, both have new head coaches, so there is uncertainty about what the Tigers will face, but what is certain is that they will face both of them on the road.
Outside the district, Hooks has what he called a “bumped up” schedule. The opener is against a team from California, and there is a road game in Georgia.
That will expose some skill-position talent to new eyes. The first player likely to turn heads will be Jashaun Corbin. Now a junior, he led the county with 1,865 rushing yards last season, and he caught 19 passes for 345 more yards.
While he’ll be a threat to line up in several positions, some young additions to the backfield could allow him to showcase his receiving ability more often.
Ditto for Joc Perry. One of two seniors, Perry started at quarterback last year and still managed to shine at linebacker. With transfer Jordan Wojciechowski potentially starting under center, Perry will be more of a receiver this year alongside the other senior, Tay Griffin.
Hooks’ description of the defense mirrors that of the offensive skill players: fast.
“That has to be our theme, speed, The defense, believe it or not, could be the best unit.” Then he paused, considered the returners on the roster, and pivoted. “Or maybe special teams. Who are they going to kick the ball to?”
Perry, one of the candidates to return some kicks, agreed about what versatility will do for the Tigers.
“Having different people who are athletes, it’ll be hard to key on one person,” he said. “That will mean more opportunity for big plays.”
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum and @Brian_McCallum on Twitter.
2016 Tigers Schedule
Aug. 19 Holy Trinity at Satellite jamboree, 7
Aug. 26 Eureka, Calif., St. Bernard’s at Holy Trinity, 7
Sept. 2 Jacksonville Harvest Comm. at Holy Trinity, 7
Sept. 9 Coral Springs Christian at Holy Trinity, 7
Sept. 16 Holy Trinity at MCC, 7
Sept. 30 Deltona Trinity Christian at Holy Trinity, 7
Oct. 7 Holy Trinity at Eau Gallie, 7
Oct. 14 Village Academy at Holy Trinity, 7
Oct. 22 Holy Trinity at Savannah, Ga., Memorial Day, 2
Oct. 28 Holy Trinity at John Carroll, 7
Nov. 4 Warner Christian at Holy Trinity, 7