Spring swing football: Hard work the goal at Ponte Vedra

Work ethic at forefront of new coach Jeff DiSandro's approach

Ponte Vedra football players go through a spring practice on May 8.

PONTE VEDRA, 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 Ponte Vedra.

The Sharks have reached the state playoffs four consecutive seasons, including a state runner-up season in 2016. How does Ponte Vedra plan to keep that momentum moving along under new head coach Jeff DiSandro? 

Easy. Hard work. 

“First and foremost, we just talk about getting one percent better each day so each day. We want to see that subtle or continual improvement and just build and build and build,” DiSandro said. 

“I think what we’ve really been able to achieve thus far this spring is a real blue collar mentality. Strong work ethic. Been very physical … Just try to make it fun while we’re in the process of working hard in the process of grinding, but also making it fun and taking time out to do some competitive things and incentives and reward, and it’s going well.”

Ponte Veda hasn’t taken a season off since going 3-7 in former coach Matt Toblin’s first season in 2014. The 13-1 mark in 2016 was the high point, but there were plenty of other high points, too. When Toblin stepped down to take the Bolles job, that opened up the door for DiSandro, the former offensive coordinator at Bishop Kenny, to step in and get his chance. 

DiSandro didn’t have a down season at Kenny, with the Crusaders going .500 or better in each season that he was there, despite playing in a brutal district that included the likes of Bolles, Ponte Vedra and Trinity Christian. With the Sharks, the challenges are there due to heavy graduation losses on the offensive side of the ball. 

But that also means opportunity, too. 

“Props to Coach D, he’s come in and really just made a seamless transition,” said quarterback R.J. Glod. “PV football, we put our nose in the dirt. We grind. We get after it. We outwork others and that’s what we’re doing this year, like we always do.”

Ponte Vedra 2019 football schedule

Aug. 23, Nease at Ponte Vedra

Aug. 30, Ponte Vedra at Zephyrhills, 7:30

Sept. 6, Gainesville Buchholz at Ponte Vedra

Sept. 13, Ponte Vedra at Palatka

Sept. 20, Ponte Vedra at Menendez

Sept. 27, Ponte Vedra at Matanzas*

Oct. 4, Bartram Trail at Ponte Vedra

Oct. 11, Englewood at Ponte Vedra*

Oct. 18, OFF

Oct. 25, St. Augustine at Ponte Vedra*

Nov. 1, Ponte Vedra at Creekside

* Indicates district game

All games at 7 p.m. unless indicated

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.