Last friday afternoon at Tamiami Park as high school football teams from all around South Florida scrimmaged against each other right outside FIU Stadium. The scrimmage was like a really good movie trailer. It teased all the good things the Explorer Football team has in store for the upcoming year.
The Columbus faithful was on site cheering on the squad, not caring that each play really didn’t matter. The Explorers went up against Cardinal Gibbons High School, a team the Explorers are most likely not going to see next year, so It was definitely interesting to watch.
The offense for the most part was really fun to watch. Most notably, the play of the Explorers wide receivers. Receivers Austin Maloney, Xavier Williams, and newcomer Jerron Rollins found themselves in the end zone more than once. Columbus QB Tucker Beirne looked really sharp on most of his throws, he was very accurate when it came to WR screens and basic slants. The offensive line continued the momentum they built on last season as they looked very comfortable not letting Cardinal Gibbons have its way. The running backs looked very sharp as each EJ Donaldson and Andres Fernandez made their way into the end zone. Don’t expect to see Fernandez at the QB position anytime soon as he neither took any snaps behind center at the scrimmage or in practice. Running back Ivan Smith did not participate in the scrimmage for unknown reasons. Neither did Amir Rasul.
The defense was a great sight to see as they played very aggressive and tenacious. Yes, there was some rust but that is expected from a defense that just lost seniors such as Nick McBeath. It was very comforting to see how much guys like Zack Vandemark and Trajan Bandy have matured over the offseason. Bandy was relentless when it came to tackling as the crowd reacted heavily after each hit. Zach was very good when it came to man to man defending, denying multiple corner end zone passes. JR Garrigo looked very relaxed out there, reminding his fellow teammates where they had to be on the field. The d-line was dominant, not letting Cardinal Gibbons get anything going in the running game.
So, like I said, even though most plays really didn’t mean anything last Friday, it felt good to have football back for a few hours. It felt good to look past the gates of Tamiami Park and peek at FIU Stadium, where thousands of fans will watch the Explorers face their arch nemesis months from now. Next time we get to see this team will be when they hold their annual spring game, which is always a blast. Spring football is back in Westchester–time to take it all in.