When 54 of the players on your roster are freshmen and sophomores, your team will experience some growing pains.
That's been the case with the Matanzas Pirates football team. But sometimes scores can belie the progress a young squad is making. That has also been the case with the Pirates, who fell to Gainesville 57-16 on Friday, Sept. 17.
"Our offense is getting better. We don't really have any returning starters," said coach Matt Forrest, noting that senior receiver Noah Cundiff (high ankle sprain) has not yet played this season.
"Their attention and effort has been great every day, and that's the hard part," Forrest said. "I like the way our direction is going, but it still takes time."
Matanzas (1-3) trailed 13-9 in the second quarter before Gainesville went ahead 27-16 at the half and then outscored the home team 30-0 in the second half.
"Our defense just gave up too many big plays," Forrest said.
Sophomore Landon Grover kicked a 42-yard field goal. Sopohomore Jordan Mills' 2-yard touchdown run followed a long pass from sophomore quarterback Dakwon Evans to senior Tate Winecoff to pull the Pirates to within six points at 13-9. Evans' 47-yard touchdown pass to another sophomore, Cole Hash, closed out the scoring for Matanzas.
Forrest said Cundiff could be in the lineup when the Pirates host Orange Park (1-3) on Sept. 24.
"He'll be day-to-day," Forrest said. "We don't want to rush him back. He's got a great future after he leaves here."
Cundiff received his eighth Division I offer last week from Samford University, a team that runs the same "air-raid" offense as Matanzas, Forrest said.