JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Back in December Raines beat Cocoa 13-10 to win the Class 4A State Championship. It was the first football title for a Duval County public school in 20 years.
In the months following the school has been honored both locally and on the national level.
Spring practice started on Monday and the Vikings are no longer concerned with what happened last season.
“We’ve got to get over the hype,” said senior running back Brandon Marshall. “We’re back to work and on the grind. We’re trying to get back to State. That’s the ultimate goal we’re trying to get to.”
Raines was the only school on the First Coast that won a state championship in football last season. The Vikings know that their name will be circled on everyone’s schedule and they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“We’re seeing guys that are very hungry,” said Vikings head coach Deran Wiley. “They’ve gotten after it in the weight room and really worked hard. They’ve come out here to practice and done some good things. I feel good about what I’m seeing. That’s the thing that you want to see, guys being humble and hungry in the process.”
Outside of getting past a Championship hangover, Wiley must also find a new quarterback. Ivory Durham IV, who is the school’s all-time leading passer, will spend this fall under center at Valdosta State. Replacing his production on the field is a tough task but what may even be harder is figuring out who will step into his role as the leader of the team.
“Our goal this spring is to find a guy to be himself,” said Wiley. “We have to let the legacy that he [Durham] left, we have to move on from it. We have to do what we do. I’m excited about what I see out here moving forward.”