North JV football continues to roll
To win at the varsity level of any sport, it never hurts to start winning at the junior varsity level. It tends to show young players what it takes to win and gives them the fever for the flavor.
The North Fort Myers High School junior varsity football team won’t have much trouble knowing the feeling of victory when they get to the varsity level. They simply don’t lose.
It has been two calendar years since the JV squad lost a game. On Thursday against traditional powerhouse Charlotte (the last team to beat them in 2018), it flexed its muscles in a 36-13 victory, only made that close by a Tarpons touchdown on the game’s final play.
“It’s a reflection of what coach Dwayne Mack does. He watches the players closely and I pass that on to JV,” said Trayvon Clarke, JV head coach, who played under Mack when he coached at Ida Baker. “I try to do the same thing he did when I played there.”
In JV football, final records are recorded in the sand, washed away with the next tide. The main idea of JV football (and freshman football, even though it isn’t being played this year because of the pandemic) is to teach the fundamentals and see if the players they have are capable enough to jump to the next level.
“Our preparation for these kids was great for a team that is very good year in and year out. We always preach effort, effort, effort,” said Trayvon Clarke, JV head coach. “That’s the motto of this program. We want to bring these kids in to play a role on varsity. I don’t worry about wins and losses as long as they are ready for varsity.”
It all starts in practice, where the JV team typically works with the varsity for half the practice and apart during individual drills. While practicing together may have the feeling of a typical non-conference game against Florida State, it really isn’t, and it serves a purpose.
“It builds character, it builds toughness and we stand by being able to compete with the varsity,” Clarke said. “Again, it comes down to effort.”
Clarke wasn’t ready to say which specific players were ready for varsity now, and there are several who have that look.
One of the players who looks ready to take it to the next level was running back Alex Alvarez, a straight-ahead runner with the ability to bounce it outside, who scored twice and pounded out huge chunks of real estate when he didn’t score.
Dwayne Mack, who coaches the varsity, is always on the sideline, watching what the kids do in games. He doesn’t provide much input, allowing Clarke to run the show, but he has the finger on the pulse.
“I’m happy that this is a nice, physical team. They play hard and that’s all you can ask for as a head coach,” Mack said. “It all starts with fundamentals and the young guys. We have a lot of freshmen this year and they have played well.”
Mack also said its important to have aggression, be able to hit and take a hit.
“There’s an old saying in football, if they don’t hit as a pup, they don’t hit as a dog.”