JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NewsJax’s high school football Spring Swing continues daily throughout spring practice across the First Coast. Today, we’ll take a quick look at Mandarin.
How do you top the greatest football season in school history? At Mandarin, they are starting from scratch.
At least, that's the way head coach Bobby Ramsay is approaching spring practice for the Mustangs.
With 18 starters gone from the school's first state football championship team, Ramsay will likely lean even more on quarterback Carson Beck. The Georgia commit and defending Mr. Football in the state of Florida will be without five players from last year's team who were good enough to earn college football scholarships. So how does Ramsay approach a spring practice session that is taking place while many of last years' players are still walking the halls of the school?
"You focus on football. You focus on player development. That's what spring is all about. You build toward something," Ramsay said.
The Mustangs will play in a loaded district that will include Bartram Trail, Nease, Oakleaf, and Sandalwood.
"In 8A, every game is difficult," Ramsay said. "There's no easy game. There is no off week."
Last season, after a 2-3 start, Mandarin hit their stride and won nine of their last 10, including a 37-35 win over Columbus in the 8A state title game. This year, everyone will be gunning for the Mustangs, even with so many new faces.
"We're really just focused on the spring," Ramsay said. "This is a brand new football team. They have to make their own legacy. We're going for something, we're really not trying to defend anything."
Beck returns, and that should be enough for the Mustangs to command plenty of respect. The quarterback enjoyed one of the best state championship game performances in state history when he threw for 329 yards and tossed five touchdowns.
Mandarin 2019 schedule
Aug. 23, Atlantic Coast at Mandarin, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 Mandarin at Ribault, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6, DeLand at Mandarin, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13, Mandarin at Bartram Trail, 7 p.m.*
Sept. 20, Lee at Mandarin, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27, Nease at Mandarin, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 4, OFF
Oct. 11, Mandarin at Oakleaf, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 18, Mandarin at Sandalwood, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 25, Mandarin at White, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1, Fletcher at Mandarin, 7 p.m. *