TCPalm PrepZone 2-a-Days: South Fork and Martin County
TCPalm PrepZone is going to two high school practices each day for first eight days of football practice. Today is South Fork and Martin County.
TROPICAL FARMS — Matt Bowman took the snap, faked a handoff and sprinted a few yards up field before making a perfect pitch to a running back.
That play — coming so early in fall practice after so many months off — is one of the reasons South Fork coaches have such high hopes for their junior quarterback.
“It looked pretty smooth after having that amount of time off,” Bulldogs coach Mike Lavelle said.
Bowman earned the starting spot from senior Ryan Gross midway through the 2019 season. Gross initially won the job because of his leadership and ability to run the offense. Bowman ended up as the starter because of his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands.
Simply stated, Lavelle loved the fact that Bowman is a threat to score on a long touchdown run at any time.
“Matt’s a threat,” Lavelle said. “He’s a game changer. He’s got some elusiveness. He’s got some wheels. He’s got a great combination of athleticism and speed and he’s throwing the ball so much better. When you turn on the lights, he’s a tremendous player.
“We need him to go from him doing some good things to being one of the best players in the area. And he can do that.”
Martin County junior wide receiver Amarion Brown, who earned honorable mention on the all-area team last season, is ranked No. 235 on Rivals’ 250 for the Class of 2022. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder made a fantastic leaping grab during one-on-one drills Tuesday. Brown’s ability to go up and catch a ball at its highest point is one of the reasons why he has more than a dozen Power 5 offers.
South Fork is looking for junior Tobio Scienzo to replace standout Josh Cohen (West Virginia Wesleyan signee), both as the team’s center and one of its leaders. Lavelle doesn’t think he’ll have any issues with either. “He’s one of the most popular kids on campus,” Lavelle said. “He’s everybody’s favorite.”
Martin County returns nine of the 11 starters from its defense this fall. Coaches have been raving about senior cornerback Augie Lovelace and junior linebacker Garrett Sloan. Lovelace, who impressed early last season before suffering a season-ending injury, will not come off the field on defense and is expected to see plenty of snaps at receiver. Sloan is moving to linebacker after playing defensive back last season.
South Fork, which had 90 students and six teachers quarantine after a student exhibited COVID-19 symptoms during the first week of school, has three football players quarantined, Lavelle said. He also said four other players are currently not practicing because either the player of their parents do not feel comfortable with the risks of playing sports during the pandemic.
Martin County coaches have been very vocal in practice about offensive players running the ball back to the line of scrimmage and spotting the ball after plays. One of the new rules this fall is officials will not be touching the footballs. Martin County coach Rod Harris said he wants his players to get in the habit now so it will be second-nature during games.