New coach Travis Homewood brings familiar formula to Dragons football program thirsty for success.
The FSDB football team has won one game in the last two years. There may be more interest in playing in the marsh behind campus at sunset than under the lights at Usina Field.
First-year coach Homewood has fewer than 18 players on his roster.
None of those facts, from the outside, appear conducive to a successful football season. But the fact the Dragons are playing for a 105th season is more important than any of that.
It means there is an opportunity for young men like Bryan Raffa to play football for the first time. It means young men like Fernando Dopico-Fernandez, Walter Douglas, and Alex Aldridge get to return to the gridiron. It means Homewood is going to pour everything he has in his first year as a varsity coach.
“I don’t know if we will be champions, or not,” Raffa said. “I want to try again and again, and I want to keep going.”
Raffa transferred to FSDB in March after a spell at Boone High School in Orlando. He did not play athletics at the 2,800-student school or feel welcomed.
Both have changed since he arrived in St. Augustine. His best friend, team manager Nathan De Los Reyes Diaz, encouraged him to play football and he has embraced the challenge. Raffa’s leadership, and willingness to endure, was immediately apparent. Homewood named the 18-year-old tight end a team captain before suiting up in red and white.
The Dragons were forced to cancel their spring scrimmage due to a lack of numbers. This year’s team tentatively has 18 players and is tasked with introducing a new quarterback and two running backs to operate the Power I, wishbone and double wing sets that Homewood expects to run.