Having to follow an undefeated regular season and the first district championship since 1993 plus back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances creates a huge chasm of expectation facing the Cape Coral Seahawks for the upcoming football season.
They will have to do it in 2010 without the services of 18 seniors lost to graduation, including four solid college Division I recruits, and with a new head coach at the controls.
Brad Metheny took over before spring practice for Mike Goebbel, who stepped down for medical reasons after compiling a 28-8 record over three seasons.
Senior Prince Holloway will be catching a lot of passes for the Seahawks this season.
"Our goal right now is to get better every day, keep progressing and polish what we've done since the spring and be ready for the Riverdale classic game and Mariner in the opener," said Metheny, who brings 23 years of coaching experience during which he has never had a losing season. "We want to continue to get better in practice. Our seniors have done a nice job in the weight room this summer. We've got some 30 seniors, which is a large group, but they have been leaders in the offseason program."
After four years at Frostproof (34-11), Metheny obviously brings a positive influence to the Seahawks.
The cupboard is far from bare with that many upperclassmen in the program. On offense, Metheny said Bryan Greenwell "will be the trigger at quarterback." He takes over the duty from Florida Gators recruit Jaylen Watkins.
Greenwell's key targets include returning receiver Prince Holloway with junior Tyreece "TJ" Jiles, one of three transfer pickups from Dunbar.
"Runningback will be done by committee until we find out who is doing the best job," said Metheny. "We are very talented in the area of speed. Some of these guys can flat out run."
If one unit has what it takes to keep the Seahawks on top of the District 4A-12 standings, it's the defense.
"We will lean on the defense a lot early on, at least until the offense comes along," said Metheny. "They all know the system, so we will hang our hat on them early."
Leading the defensive unit are three solid linebackers, all seniors, in Edsel Caprice (22 sacks last year), Mark Bailer and Josh Monteagudo. Linemen Jaylen Edwards and Chris Johnson give the Seahawks a formidable wall.
When it comes to opponents, the Seahawks put the most importance on their three district rivals - Palmetto Ridge, Gulf Coast and Ida Baker. Gearing up for those three can get them back to the playoffs for a school-record fourth straight year.
It's the bragging rights that comes from success against traditional rivals that builds team confidence that carries over into the key district games.
The Seahawks will have four games under their belts - and a better idea of what players and what packages work best for them - before they get to their first district foe, Palmetto Ridge on Oct. 8.
"All the games on our schedule are tough games," said Metheny. "We have to go one game at a time because you have to win the first one before you can get to the second one. Being my first year, it will take some time for me to know the styles of the teams we face."
He need look no further than his coaching staff from which to draw tid bits of information on each opponent.
Cape Coral High School Seahawks
Sept. 3 - vs. Mariner
Sept. 10 - at Fort Myers
Sept. 16 - vs. North Fort Myers
Sept. 24 - vs. Port Charlotte
Oct. 8 - at Palmetto Ridge-x
Oct. 15 - vs. Island Coast
Oct. 22 - vs. Gulf Coast-x
Oct. 29 - at South Fork
Nov. 5 - at Ida Baker-x
Nov. 12 - at Lehigh
Head Coach: Brad Metheny ('10), first year
Assistants: Rod Jamison (OB), Tyler Zebkar (OL), Mike Brigandi (OL), Larry Gary (def. coord.), Jim Bruni (secondary), Victor Hall (DL), Wilford Rivera (WR), Kelvin Greene (JV/Fr), Deshaun Cummings (JV/Fr), Rev Watkins (JV/Fr), Gary Fischel (JV/Fr).
Team Colors: Orange and Blue
Stadium: Dave Warkentin Field, 2300 Santa Barbara Blvd.
Playoff History: 1980 - Venice 32, Cape Coral 6; 1993 - Cape Coral 10, Jupiter 0; Cape Coral 34, Auburndale 20; Deerfield Beach 12, Cape Coral 10 (Semifinals). 2005 - Bradenton Manatee 27, Cape Coral 20. 2007 - Cape Coral 27, Venice 10; Cape Coral 31, Manatee 28; Largo 28, Cape Coral 13. 2008 - Venice 35, Cape Coral 14. 2009 - Cape Coral 27, Lakewood Ranch 0; Charlotte 24, Cape Coral 16.
Home: 6-1 Away: 5-0 District: 3-0
Cape 35, Mariner 14
Cape 26, Fort Myers 13
Cape 25, North Fort Myers 20
Cape 28, Port Charlotte 23
Cape 24, Palmetto Ridge 14
Cape 32, Island Coast 0
Cape 54, Gulf Coast 21
Cape 34, Stuart South Fork 14
Cape 25, Ida Baker 0
Cape 28, Lehigh 7
Cape 27, Lakewood Ranch 0
Charlotte 24, Cape 16