Spring swing football: Menendez looks to keep program moving forward

After 2 of the best seasons in program history, Falcons want to keep momentum

ST. AUGUSTINE, 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 Menendez.

Menendez hasn’t been in this position on the football field before. 

The Falcons, still a relatively young program that enters its 20th season in 2019, has never had to bounce back from a season that included things like this:  

• Reaching the state playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the second time in school history. 

• Not only beat rival St. Augustine for the first time in 18 tries, but steamrolled the Yellow Jackets 62-28.

• Had a major signing class that included big time national recruits led by Kenny Logan (Kansas) and Tye Edwards (Florida Atlantic). 

A lot of good. A lot of firsts. 

Coach Kyle Skipper knows it, too. For all of the positives of the last two seasons, the biggest challenge comes in 2019. How do the Falcons respond following the most successful stretch that the football program has enjoyed? Can Menendez sustain what it has built, first under coach Patrick Turner and Skipper? 

“I think it’s just another step along the way,” Skipper said. “Last year, we had another great year, had a great signing class. 

“But if we want to take that step and really become an elite program, we’ve made the playoffs three of the last four years, and now, here’s the test. We graduated a huge senior class that had a lot of talent. Can these kids pick right back up and just keep building this program? We tell our kids every single day, demand more, outwork yesterday. And if they do that, this program’s on the right track.”

The Falcons reached the playoffs in 2015, faded to a 5-5 mark the following year and then enjoyed two stellar seasons in 2017-18. The challenge, as is the case with most programs, is keeping that going amidst graduation losses of the most successful senior class in Menendez history. 

That’s what spring has been filled with, Falcons’ seniors-to-be trying to pass on knowledge and guidance to young players. There are lofty expectations now. That's what success has brought. 

“As a senior, we’re trying to establish that senior leadership, help the younger guys involved in our offense and defense and just execute as one,” said tight end Noah Gillan. “We got a lot of young guys. We got a lot of speed and we’re just looking to use that.”

Menendez 2019 football schedule

Aug. 23, Menendez at Palatka

Aug. 30, St. Augustine at Menendez

Sept. 6, Menendez at Merritt Island

Sept. 13, Gainesville Eastside at Menendez*

Sept. 20, Ponte Vedra at Menendez

Sept. 27, OFF

Oct. 4, Menendez at Englewood

Oct. 11, Menendez at Clay*

Oct. 18, Ridgeview at Menendez*

Oct. 25, Menendez at Orange Park*

Nov. 1, Matanzas at Menendez

* Indicates district game

Games at 7 p.m.

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