After being hired during the team's second week of practice last fall, Mariner High coach Chris Siner did what he could to improve the Tritons, who went 3-7 in his first season after winning only one game in 2009.
The Tritons alum is excited to now enter a season where he has directed the team through spring and summer workouts.
"It's makes a huge difference," said Siner. "I got to know the kids and they got to know me. I got to see our strengths and our weaknesses, and how each player developed."
Mariner senior running back Donovan McAmis runs with the ball during practice. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Despite the loss of two-year starting quarterback J.T. Etnoyer by transfer to Palmetto Ridge, Siner is enthusiastic about returning eight starters on offense, including the entire offensive line and a trio of runningbacks the Tritons will lean on heavily.
Senior Tyler Pigott heads the group of backs and is the "everything guy" for the Tritons, according to Siner. "Pigott has incredible work ethic, and despite being a quiet kid the players gravitate toward him. It is the way he plays the game that makes the other players follow him. When we need to make a play he's the player we turn to."
Two-year starter Donovan McAmis will start at fullback, and also take snaps at runningback. Junior Jaylen Mitchell, who will start at receiver, will see some time at runningback as well.
"Mitchell brings us speed while McAmis brings us the power. He is going to help us grind out games and control the clock," said Siner.
Taking over at quarterback is senior Andrew Torres, who started at wingback last year. Torres was impressive in the spring game, completing 6-of-6 passes, two of them for touchdowns.
Siner expects a strong season out of Torres, who has matured since becoming the team's starting quarterback, and spent all summer improving his throwing accuracy. Snapping to Torres is the Tritons' best offensive lineman, center Dominic Sansone, who leads a line that all started last season. Siner believes that unit will guide the Tritons to success this year.
"A team with a good offensive line will be in every game, and we believe this group will do that for us," said Siner.
Defensively, the Tritons return six starters, including a very talented secondary.
At safety are Pigott and Torres with Mitchell and junior Chaston Carter starting on the corners.
"Pigott has a knack for the ball at the safety spot, and Torres is a safety that plays quarterback. He'll play safety at the next level," Siner said.
Junior James Alvarez has been tabbed as the team's middle linebacker, and has big shoes to fill for last year's starter Kenny Moore is considered a key loss.
Up front are Sansone at defensive tackle, as well as Michael Logsdon, who also will start on offense at guard. Defensive end Charles Bell, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is expected to be the top playmaker and should provide a solid pass rush.
"We could have up to seven players starting on offense and defense at the start of the season," said Siner. "Our players will have to be tough and younger players have to step up and help if we are going to achieve our goal of making the playoffs."
The Tritons begin the season on Sept. 2 at Bishop Verot.
Sept. 2 - at Bishop Verot
Sept. 9 - vs. North Fort Myers
Sept. 16 - vs. Island Coast
Sept. 23 - at Lehigh-x
Oct. 6 - vs. East Lee County-x
Oct. 14 - vs. Port Charlotte
Oct. 21 - vs. Cape Coral-x
Oct. 28 - at Estero-x
Nov. 4 - at Cypress Lake-x
Nov. 11 - at Ida Baker
Head Coach: Chris Siner ('10), 2nd year (3-7)
Assistants: James Iandoli (def. coord.), Travis Smith (off. linemen), Andrew London (RB/LB), John Dickman (def. linemen).
Team Colors: black & silver
Stadium: Tony McKenna Field, 701 Chiquita Blvd.
Playoff History: 1991 - Mariner 21, Jesuit 6; Haines City 19, Mariner 16 (Regionals); 1997 - Miramar 40, Mariner 30; 1998 - Plantation 49, Mariner 19. 2003 - Bradenton Bayshore 20, Mariner 0. 2004 - Mariner 30, Charlotte 27 (2OT); Seffner Armwood 50, Mariner 7.
Home: 2-3 Away: 1-4 District: 2-3
Cape Coral 56, Mariner 14
North Port 30, Mariner 24
Charlotte 62, Mariner 6
Riverdale 47, Mariner 13
Island Coast 61, Mariner 0
Mariner 24, Bishop Verot 20
Mariner 30, North Fort Myers 16
Fort Myers 35, Mariner 16
South Fort Myers 50, Mariner 7
Mariner 21, Ida Baker 14