The Brandon High School Eagles team.

The Brandon Eagles have had a tough time building a full roster because of a shortage of players trying out for the team and transfers leaving the school. Brandon is one of at least six football teams in Hillsborough County to not have a junior varsity program this season.

In the past, the two-way football team has converted athletes from other sports and has also recruited first-year players that have been at the school but have not played football before to help fill the void.

The Eagles are led by third-year head coach Daryl Stewart. The former lineman graduated from Brandon High School in 1995 and wanted to take on the challenge of rebuilding his alma mater. He was the defensive coordinator at East Bay for seven seasons prior to taking his first head football coaching job in 2020. He also coached at Brandon as an assistant from 2000-06. He thinks that this program has potential and can be successful if they can retain their players and keep them grade eligible.

Brandon is a spread-to-run offense. Junior lineman Ayden Spencer will anchor the offensive and defensive lines. The Eagles are a young and fairly inexperienced team. The players will have to learn on the fly and improve on the offensive and defensive lines.

Stewart thinks that his team’s biggest strengths are their willingness to learn and their ability to play together and play through adversity. He has said in the past that his players have bought into the message that they might not win a state championship, but they will work hard enough to.

Stewart wants his team to just focus on the things that they can control. Wins and losses aren’t something that they solely key in on in terms of the process of getting better. They want to be the best that they can be, reach their potential as quickly as possible and play the best football that they can. This year will be a measuring stick for next season and future seasons to come.

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.