Bishop Verot coach Phil Dorn talks with enthusiasm and hope as he looks to the upcoming season. The Vikings went 7-3 last year, the best showing in his five years at the school.
The Vikings have shown a steady improvement during his tenure.
His goals for this season are to improve on the number of wins from last year, and compete for the district championship, but the primary goal and focus are on the team's development.
Bishop Verot linebacker John Alvarez works on stripping the ball from a ball-carrier during a recent practice.
"Week to week, we want to be the best team we can be," Dorn said.
If that is accomplished, he believes the other goals could be achieved.
"The atmosphere here gives us the ability to combine academics and athletics with a spiritual base." said Dorn. "I believe it provides an opportunity for our kids to make a difference in the competitive sense."
For years, Verot's rivals were Evangelical Christian, LaBelle and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney. Since moving to District 3A-11 last season, the Vikings have gained a new set of rivals. Last season they faced Fort Myers for the first time in 41 years and South Fort Myers for the first time ever. Looking at the district, Dorn sees South Fort Myers as the team to beat.
"We face them early (Sept. 24), and that's our first district game," he said.
That game is a key test for the Vikings.
The Vikings' style of offense is a mixed pro set. They like to run numerous formations and mix the pass and run. Dorn is confident the offense will run smoothly under the leadership of senior quarterback Jake Kistel. He has started since his sophomore year, and passed for 2,012 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. His chief target may very well be wide receiver Matt Brewer.
The offensive line and running game are question marks, however, with several starters from last year's team now gone and the new line and runningbacks lacking experience.
On the other side of the line, Dorn says, "We emphasize an aggressive, attacking defense."
The Vikings run a mixed front, which the coach refers to as an "over and under." The experience of the defense Dorn sees as one of this team's strengths. Jon Alvarez led with 121 tackles last year, fourth best all-time in Vikings history. At strong safety, Jordan Diggs is an impact player, recording 17 tackles against South Fort Myers last year.
The entire school just experienced a great loss. Father Joe Beattie, who had been involved in academics and athletics at Verot since 1984, died as the school year began.
"He did our football masses and the prayers before our games," Dorn said. "He was influential and exemplified our school motto, which means 'Never Give Up.'"
Dorn said the Vikings will wear something on the arm of their uniforms this fall to honor Father Joe.
Bishop Verot High School Vikings
Sept. 3 - vs. Evangelical Christian
Sept. 10 - at Lemon Bay
Sept. 17 - at LaBelle
Sept. 24 - vs. South Fort Myers-x
Oct. 1 - at Cardinal Mooney
Oct. 8 - at Mariner-x
Oct. 22 - vs. Riverdale-x
Oct. 29 - vs. North Fort Myers-x
Nov. 5 - at Fort Myers-x
Nov. 12 - vs. Westminster Christian
Head Coach: Phil Dorn, sixth season (23-27).
Assistants: Lenarick Thomas (DB), Glenn Maiolini (TE), Jeff Brady (def. coord.), Rod Williams (def. line), Dale Cole (off. line), Butch Moore (WR), Jay Michael (WR/off-field coord.).
Team Colors: Black & gold
Stadium: Viking Stadium, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers
Playoff History: 1990 - Verot 30, Pine Crest 7; Verot 34, Frostproof 33 (Regionals); Bolles 17, Verot 14 (2A Championship); 1991 - Verot 34, Pine Crest 6; Frostproof 7, Verot 6 (Regional); 1994 - Verot 20, Ransom Everglades 10; Verot 22, Frostproof 6; Verot 30, LaBelle 6 (Regionals); Union County 21, Verot 0 (3A Championship); 1997 - Avon Park 46, Verot 14; 1998 -Verot 21, Lake Placid 13; Tampa Catholic 17, Verot 14; 2000 - Clearwater Central Catholic 49, Verot 42; 2001 - Verot 45, Clearwater Central Catholic 0; Verot 20, Avon Park 6; Clewiston 49, Verot 17; 2002 - Verot 68, St. Pete Catholic 13; Clewiston 30, Verot 27 OT. 2007 - Clewiston 26, Verot 13.
Home: 5-0 Away: 2-3 District 3-2
Evangelical Christian 28, Verot 24
Verot 35, Lemon Bay 6
Verot 16, LaBelle 6
South Fort Myers 35, Verot 7
Verot 31, Cardinal Mooney 14
Verot 27, Mariner 21
Verot 38, St. John Neumann 6
Riverdale 18, Verot 7
Verot 31, North Fort Myers 30 (OT)
Verot 19, Fort Myers 14