Many Boyd Anderson football teams in the past had failed to realize their full potential.
The Cobras changed all that last season during a memorable playoff run to the Class 7A regional finals that included an upset victory over Palm Beach powerhouse Dwyer.
But after graduating 25 seniors, some feel the Cobras have to prove themselves all over again.
“It gives me a blazing fire in my stomach and makes me mad when people doubt us,” senior defensive back Derrick Tindal said. “I know how hard we work and how far we got last season. We have the talent to do it again.”
Boyd Anderson went 9-3 in 2012 before losing to eventual state champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Cobras feel that the experience of the six starters returning on both offense and defense, along with a mix of talented underclassmen will put them back in position to challenge the Raiders for the Class 7A crown.
“One thing is each year you get something new,” Boyd Anderson coach Wayne Blair said. “It’s what you have from your core group of guys. And we had a lot of juniors that got through the ups and downs of last season. There is no such thing as a rebuilding year. We just pick up from last season and move forward.”
The Cobras remained in District 14-7A, a compact, but highly-competitive division that includes rivals Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, Oakland Park Northeast and rising contender Fort Lauderdale.
The challenge for Blair is replacing key starters that graduated at positions such as quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver.
Tindal, a 5-11, 170-pound senior defensive back ranked No. 22 overall by the Miami Herald, should be one of the defense’s top playmakers. Tindal, the cousin of former Boyd Anderson standout Corey Tindal — now at Marshall University — has offers from Marshall, FIU, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Akron.
“With Derrick you get leadership and a first-class athlete,” Blair said. “I’m surprised why more ACC, SEC, Big East schools aren’t after him. He’s a four-year starter and athlete in the sense he can play offense, defense and special teams. He brings so much to the table and I’m glad he’s on our roster.”
Senior two-way athletes Nathaniel Watson and David Senior, a transfer from Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, will add to the team’s athleticism on both sides of the ball.
Newcomer Eugene Sainterling, a 6-4, 227-pound quarterback will try to fill in for graduated Gregory Hankerson, who was one of Broward County’s best at the position last season. The offensive line should also get a boost from senior Roger Tants Joseph (6-4, 300).
“Our team really came together and became a family,” Tindal said. “We all got the job done. We had better team last year, but I believe we can go further. We have new talent that can mix in and help us.”
The Cobras’ familiar rival, Blanche Ely, is eager to make a return to the playoffs this season.
The Tigers went 5-5 last season and finished third in the district missing the postseason for the first time since 2008. But with 15 starters returning including senior linebacker Terry McCray, expect Ely to make a strong push for the district title.
McCray (6-2, 220), ranked No. 21 among senior prospects in Broward by the Miami Herald, is committed to the University of Miami and was an All-State second team selection last year.
Northeast changed coaches after a 10-2 season under former UM star Donnell Bennett. The Hurricanes hired former Florida State standout Kez McCorvey, who was coaching with the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts last season. McCorvey has a challenge replacing 15 starters and facing a tough schedule that includes Miramar, St. Thomas, Cypress Bay, Deerfield Beach, Cardinal Gibbons in addition to its district foes.
Fort Lauderdale went 3-6 last year and has not made the playoffs since 2004. But the Flying L’s may have a chance to at least vie for a winning season. Fort Lauderdale is led by senior linebacker and Wake Forest-commitment Jaboree Williams (6-1, 215), ranked No. 14 overall in Broward by The Herald. Williams leads a defense that returns eight starters.