By Tamas Mondovics

Fottballriverview_sharksVarsity football hasn’t exactly been exciting for Riverview Sharks fans in recent times.

The program has struggled to stay competitive, but with senior quarterback Keisean Young at the helm, consensus is that the Sharks hope to shake things up a bit in the current Class 8A District 6 line up.

A proof of the team’s readiness and clear hunger for a winning season was evident in a solid game performance against Leto High during the season kickoff classic when the Sharks overcame the visiting Falcons 35-12 in Friday’s non-league bout.

Riverview, currently led by program Head Coach Mike Thornton (third season, 4-16), hasn’t won more than four games since 2007 and, while the team is not expected to contend for the district crown, it is promising a great season with strong players on both sides of the spectrum.

Thornton has reportedly deemed Friday’s game against Leto an important start and had high hopes for a revenge-game success against East Bay, which he said could give the program just the boost it needs to keep the momentum going.

To carry the defensive line this season, the Sharks are counting on seniors Hal Roberson (6-ft.-2, 280 lbs.) and Reggie Desronvil (5-ft.-11, 250 lbs.). The pair is joined by junior RB/DB Izzy Johnson, senior OLB Jesse Stillwell and junior LB Ryan Pipher, just to name a few.

The team is led by Young, considered by Thornton as one of the best in the league thanks to his ability as a “dynamic runner.”

Aside from facing East Bay, the Sharks are seeking to bring its best against the Brandon Eagles scheduled for Friday, September 12, not to mention a road game against area district rival and conference favorite, Bloomingdale Bulls on Friday, October 17.

District 6 also includes Newsome, Wharton, Plant and Alonso, bringing plenty of excitement to fans and players alike.

While Plant hasn’t lost a single district matchup or district crown in nearly a decade, the program had a few close calls last season including a shootout with Bloomingdale.

The Bulls completed its second winning season in school history last year and are once again expected to become tough contenders even as program Head Coach John Booth, who has coached the team for the past five seasons, has left the program at the end of the school year to become the Manatee Hurricanes new head football coach.

Booth replaces Joe Kinnan who helped lead the Hurricanes to five state titles and coached Booth when he played for Manatee.

The Bulls are now led by 1996 Bloomingdale graduate Brian Surcy as program head coach. Surcy has spent the past two seasons as a running back coach on Booth’s staff.

Bulls Athletic Director Donny Peek told reporters that he picked Surcy out of nearly two dozen applicants after narrowing the names down to three top choices, and said that Surcy’s love for the game and school contributed to the final decision.

Shaping the outcome of the new season will also have a lot to do with Newsome. The Wolves are in a rebuilding year following a 5-5 record last year. The team beat Alonso but lost to district runner up Wharton.

The Wolves are ready and hoping for another strong season as they are returning a solid lineup of players and a powerful offensive crew.

When all is said and done, the two particular games to look for may very well be later this month by means of a rematch between Plant at Bloomingdale and Alonso at Newsome. Both games are scheduled for Friday, September 19. Last year, Plant beat Bloomingdale 50-40, while Newsome toppled Alonso 38-26. For more information about the season, visit www.maxpreps.com.