MOORE HAVEN, Fla. — It didn’t take long for players from the Brighton Reservation to make an impact on Moore Haven High School’s varsity football season.
On the team’s first offensive play in a preseason game against Gateway Charter on Aug. 18, linemen Andrew Fish, Robert Harris and Conner Thomas helped pave a hole for quarterback John Cox to gallop 60 yards.
That trio – which brings the Terriers plenty of size and strength up front – are only half of the Brighton contingent on this year’s squad. Robert’s brother Richard started at defensive end, freshman Jaylen Baker made an immediate impact on special teams and defense, and defensive lineman Jarrett Bert saw brief playing time before a storm forced the game, which Moore Haven won 41-0, to end after three quarters.
“Those kids from the Tribe do a heck of a job. They’re hard workers,” said Moore Haven first-year head coach Max Manin.
In his third year, Thomas is the veteran of the group. The junior started at right guard right next to 6-foot-5, 320-pound right tackle Robert Harris with 6-foot-4, 300-pound Fish on the other end at left tackle.
“I like it,” said the 6-foot, 290-pound Thomas, who also handled center duties on extra points. “We finally have some big guys on the line this year. From what I saw tonight, I think we’re going to be very good.”
Baker, one of 10 freshmen on the Terriers roster for the game, made the most of his opportunities. He made a solo tackle on a kickoff return in the first quarter. Later on defense, he made a few tackles in a series, including one that kept the shutout intact when he brought down a runner as the last defender. Late in the second half, he notched another special teams tackle on a kick return.
Overall, Manin was pleased with his team’s performance, but saw plenty of room for improvement.
“I still think we look like a 7-3 football team. We don’t look like a 10-0 football team,” he said. “There’s still a lot we have to work on.”
Moore Haven started the regular season off on a positive note with a 35-0 win against St. Petersburg Catholic on Aug. 25.
Similar to the varsity squad, Moore Haven’s JV team features some players from the Tribe, including David King, Corey Jumper, Deagan Osceola and SirMarcus Osceola. The JV’s home opener is Sept. 14 against Jupiter Christian at 6 p.m.