Spring swing football: Ridgeview has potential, but has to shake injury bug

Panthers coming off 5-5 season, but battling health issues in spring

Ridgeview football coach Cameron Porch, left, and the Panthers are coming off of a 5-5 season.
Ridgeview football coach Cameron Porch, left, and the Panthers are coming off of a 5-5 season.

ORANGE PARK,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 Ridgeview.

Cameron Porch knows the work ahead is significant for the Ridgeview football program. 

Too many injuries. A lot of underclassmen in roles that they’re still learning. That’s what spring is for. 

“With as young as we are it’s a youth movement anyway so every day at practice is like their game and their opportunity to really step up,” Porch said. “The spring game is a gauge but it doesn’t mean anything.”

The practice reps mean everything. 

For a team as young as the Panthers are, the spring days are the focus for the coaching staff. 

Porch has seen progress since taking over in 2016, from a 1-9 mark that season to 6-4 and 5-5 the last two. That’s major progress for a program that had hit a lull. And that 5-5 season last year was probably even better than 6-4 considering that the Panthers clipped three playoff teams in Nature Coast Tech (11-2), Baker County (7-5) and Menendez (8-3).

But keeping Ridgeview moving forward and staying competitive within Clay County will require some of those younger players growing up quickly. 

The Panthers aren’t necessarily young — they have 20 seniors on the roster, including some mainstays like Matt Dye, Jordan Jackson, Denali Lindo and Jacob Myer — but they’ve been thinned out this spring due to injuries. 

“They’ve been in these shoes before and they played a lot of games so they know what it takes,” Porch said of his seniors. “We got to have a lot of young guys grow up and we got to get healthy in a hurry. It seems like every other day another kid gets hurt. So, we got to find a way to get healthy. 

“I don’t know if it’s drink milk or find an adamantium like Wolverine did, but we’ve got to find a way to get healthy.”

Ridgeview 2019 football schedule

Aug. 23, Baldwin at Ridgeview

Aug. 30, Ridgeview at White

Sept. 6, Oakleaf at Ridgeview

Sept. 14, OFF

Sept. 20, Fleming Island at Ridgeview

Sept. 27, Orange Park at Ridgeview*

Oct. 4, Ridgeview at Middleburg

Oct. 10, Ridgeview at Gainesville Eastside, 7:30*

Oct. 18, Ridgeview at Menendez*

Oct. 25, Clay at Ridgeview*

Nov. 1, West Nassau at Ridgeview

* Indicates district game

All games at 7 p.m. unless indicated

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