FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: CONCHS KICK OFF SEASON THIS WEEK

Football returns to Key West High School on Friday night, Aug. 20, when Monsignor Pace arrives. The 7 p.m. pre-season game will be played at the school’s new Backyard as will all Conch football and soccer games for the next two years as Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium gets refurbished to the tune of $15 million.

The team practiced and played at TRMS last year before practicing at the Backyard before that.

Coach John Hughes now has scheduled five home games, including the pre-season game, to

go along with five away games.

Hughes began at Key West in 2003 as offensive line coach and after a two-year hiatus, he

became head coach in 2012.

His son, Zack, after playing at Jacksonville University, will be a line coach for the second year.

Oh, if all the games could actually be played! Such was not the case last year as Hughes was a

busy bee, scheduling and rescheduling as the virus took over. The result was a six-game

schedule. “It was a fluid situation,” said Hughes. The Conchs won five, which was certainly

presentable, and advanced to the state playoffs.

The playoffs will be the goal again this year, but it will be difficult. Key West will again be a

member of District 16-5 along with Killian, Miami Jackson and St. Brendan. Last year, it was

Northwestern, Killian and second-place Key West. Runner-up may not be good enough this

year. Only the champion goes automatically to the state playoffs. The runner-up could go, based

on a point system, explained Hughes.

The pre-season game will give Hughes an opportunity to make decisions on his starting lineup.

“We’ve had 55, 56 players out each day,” said Hughes. “That’s not bad. We’ll see how many

stick around.”

Thirty-eight of them were following a daily regimen in the well-equipped weight room.

“That was good. They were able to hit the ground running,” said the coach.

Friday night, he’ll play a pair of seniors at quarterback. Henry Audette will also play at defensive

back. Preston Herce did not play last season, but played running back two seasons ago when

he was named County Player of the Year, said Hughes. The coach said the player who isn’t playing quarterback will play another position. “We’ll find a spot for him.”

Another senior, Jeremiah Osborne, “a 200-pound wrecking ball,” said Hughes, is a running back

candidate. Osborne is coming off shoulder surgery. James Reynolds, a 200-plus pounder, “had

some nice carries filling in at running back last season,” he added. 

At slot back is senior Cam Watson, 6’3”, 180 pounds. He hurt his ankle and missed the end of

last season. Sophomore Clerf Alexandre is a pretty dynamic player who played defensive

corner, said Hughes.

Let’s play ball.More on Lionel Messi, from the Spanish daily “El Mundo”: Messi signed a contract for the past four years with Barcelona that paid him $168 million a year — the most paid to any athlete in the world. For Paris Saint-Germain, Messi, who spent 21 of his 34 years with Barcelona, settled for $41 million a year on a two-year contract.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.