NAPLES, Fla. – High school football season is upon us in Southwest Florida with teams beginning practice this week and that includes the Naples Golden Eagles coming off of a one loss season in 2021.
The familiar sounds of football returned to the air all around Staver Field on the campus of Naples High School.
“I’m so excited for this season. It is going to be a great season, look at my guys they are all excited so I’m excited too,” Naples senior defensive back Jonas Duclona said.
The Golden Eagles, like all teams in Florida, began fall practice on Monday and locked in for the new season that is now only a few weeks away.
“We are doing a great job as a team and as a group and as a family to hold each other accountable,” said Naples defensive coordinator Cliff Greer. “We really haven’t had to say much to them they take care of most of the issues that we have within themselves.”
This is a Naples team that doesn’t need much motivation given the way that their past few seasons have ended.
Last year they came up just short against eventual state champions Miami Northwestern, falling 49 to 35 in the regional semifinals.
Through the off-season and into the new year its the sting of the past that fuels the drive for more from this hungry group.
“We are trying to go all the way this year. We want to win state, we are not trying to be runner ups or anything like that we are trying to get the chip,” Duclona said.
That goal is not said in silence, everyone on the team knows and is reminded of the expectations.
“That is our number one goal and just working towards that every day that’s what we try to do,” Naples running back Kendrick Raphael said.
“We talk about it every day. Coach makes sure he embeds it in our head so during the season we have that mindset so we can go out there and get it done,” Duclona said.
They’ve come up just short in the past but this years team is different with division one talent all over the field.
“We have been close you know in some years and not as close in others but we really feel that we have a talent and we have a group that is able to get that done this year,” Coach Greer said.
That being said, they know talk is cheap and they’re ready to prove it on Friday nights.
“No more talk, all action this year. No more talk,” Duclona said.
The Eagles open the season on August 26th at home against Lehigh.