Coach Green says first-year Destin High Sharks are 'built to last'
In just a matter of weeks, it will time for “Friday night lights” when the Destin High School Sharks take the field for their first official varsity football game.
Destin High opened its doors for the first-time last year, and by the spring a football team was formed and on the practice field with Coach E.G. Green at the helm. Green is a former Fort Walton Beach Viking as well as a Florida State Seminole and NFL player.
“They’re working, that’s what I’m looking to see … looking to see them hustle,” Green said as he walked around the practice field on Friday.
The Sharks will compete in a pre-season jamboree in Freeport on Aug. 19 with the Freeport Bulldogs and the Vernon Yellowjackets.
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And then the team gets their real first test when they travel to north to take on the Baker Gators at 7 p.m. Sept. 2. The Gators are coming off an 8-3 run to the regional finals from last year.
Nevertheless, Green and his coaches are coaching up the team and getting them ready.
“It’s Friday, let’s have a little electricity,” Green shouted during practice last week.
“This is Friday night in Baker and they are looking at y'all like they’re going to score 50 points on y'all … are you ready?” Green said to fire up the players.
Green said the Sharks are “looking good and coming along, but we’ve got a long way to go,”noting it’s their first year.
But as far as their hustle, competing and staying locked in during the course of a practice, Green said he’d give the team a “B-.”
After a summer of workouts and the first week of practice, Green said his possible players for the quarterback slot are looking good.
“I feel really comfortable with that position,” Green said. “We’ve got one of the better freshmen that I’ve seen in Jordan Figueroa. He’s as good as advertised.”
Figueroa played quarterback for the Destin Marlins the last couple of years.
“He wants to work and he wants to get better. That’s what’s impressive about him,” Green said.
Other possible players in the QB slot are Ethan Ramsey and Tucker Gentry.
Other standouts that Green mentioned were dual athletes, Price Bowen and Syr Rhodes. Bowen played baseball, while Rhodes was on the basketball court.
He also made note of Avery Zierden at running back. “He’ll carry the load for us … very durable. I don’t think he’s missed a day yet,” Green said.
Playing up front for the Sharks will be Nathan Heirs, Will Blanchard and Noah Papili, who Green said "will wreak havoc."
“We’re going to be young, but we’re going to be dynamic. And I’m excited to see what they’re going to do,” he said.
Destin played a scrimmage game against the Rocky Bayou Christian Knights in the spring. After that meeting, Green said he thinks the defense will be the strength of the team.
“We’ve got guys that can run and hit and play angrily. And they are smart kids,” Green said. “Defense wins championships and they have to travel. Offense sells tickets.”
And he's looking for the defense to get turnovers and set the tone for the rest of the team.
But overall, Green is just excited about the whole process.
The Sharks practice on the city field behind Destin Elementary School. And while they are on one field; the city of Destin youth tackle football team is on the other field.
"The kids, the parents, the administration, the city of Destin … it’s just exciting. It’s a family affair … a brotherhood,” he said, noting all the involvement from the community. “To see all the pieces come together is fun.
“We’ve still got a long road ahead and a lot of work to do, and I think for the most part we are built to last. Whatever is going to happen this season is going to happen. We’ll let the chips fall where they may, but we’re built to last,” he added.