Spring swing ’21: Experienced Creekside ready for the next step

Creekside football players take part in a spring practice drill on May 25. (Jamal St. Cyr, News4Jax)

ST. JOHNS, Fla.Spring football is in full swing and the News4Jax sports team is making stops at high schools across the area in its annual Spring Swing tour.

You want experience? The Creekside football team has experience.

The Knights finished 5-4 a season ago, upset then-No. 1 team Bolles on the road and gave rival Bartram Trail everything it could handle in a 50-40 shootout loss.

Most of that Creekside roster from 2020? It’s back and ready for more, hoping to parlay a heavy veteran presence into a season unlike any other.

Knights coach Sean Mcintyre believes that experience will pay big dividends in the fall.

“I think the thing that we’ve made the biggest improvement on is just senior leadership. We have a huge class of seniors this year, we have over 30 kids right now,” he said. “They have been tremendous. Some guys contribute more than others on the field, but they’re all contributing to the culture of our program and the culture of our school. And it’s been fun to watch those guys.”

One of the players the Knights will rely heavily on this fall is running back Preston Strope, a bulldozer of a back who averaged 150 rushing yards per game in 2020. He finished with 1,351 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns last season and will no doubt be a focal point of the Creekside attack.

“Footwork, trying to get my speed up, honestly,” Strope said of his offseason focus. “Just play our best, honestly. Do what we can do and not be worried about other teams and stuff, just be our best version of ourselves.”

Mcintyre said he has been impressed with his team during spring football and has learned “they are who they say they are they are not guys who just talk about things they are guys that consistently show up and put the work in.”

With a large senior class this year Mcintyre said that class will lead the Knights and they have embraced that leadership role.

“I feel good when I see kids coaching kids that make my heart happy,” McIntyre said.

Creekside 2021 football schedule

Aug. 28, Creekside vs. Ribault (at Bolles)

Sept. 3, Creekside at Nease

Sept. 10, Fleming Island at Creekside

Sept. 17, Creekside at Sandalwood*

Sept. 23, Creekside at Tallahassee Chiles

Oct. 1, Mandarin at Creekside*

Oct. 8, Creekside at Atlantic Coast

Oct. 15, Creekside at Bartram Trail*

Oct. 22, OFF

Oct. 29, Oakleaf at Creekside*

Nov. 5, Ponte Vedra at Creekside

* indicates district game

About the Authors:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.

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