No. 1 Armwood Hawks
2016: 10-2, lost in the Class 6A regional semifinals to Lake Gibson
Head Coach: Evan Davis, first year as the Hawks head coach; previously served as offensive coordinator
Key Returners: QB Devin Black, DL Malcolm Lamar, RB Brian Snead, WR Warren Thompson, WR/DB Jerome Ford, LB Caleb Sutherland, LB Ricardo Watson, LB James Miller, DL Allah Whitaker
The Scoop: A lot has happened to Coach Davis in a short span of time.
He got the head coaching job with the Hawks. He moved into a new house. And he and his wife welcomed their first child, a girl, just before the start of the season. Big changes.
A really big one in taking over the reigns to the program from legendary Coach Sean Callahan, who announced his retirement from coaching the night of the Hawks spring game.
The transition has been a smooth one. Senior leadership has helped in that area. Armwood featured a very young roster last season and the playing experience gained will be a valuable asset this season.
This is a hungry team. After three-straight losses to Miami Central in the state championship game, Armwood failed to make it to Orlando last year when they lost to Lake Gibson in the regional semifinals. It marked the first time since 2002 that the Hawks failed to at least reach the regional final round.
Quotable: “Hard work, dedication, playing together as one. We have a good community here, but we don’t have the biggest community. Playing for one another, we don’t always have the biggest support, but they play for each other and that’s all that matters.” Davis on what it means to be an Armwood Hawk
8/25 at Tampa Bay Tech
9/8 vs. Plant
9/15 vs. Chamberlain
9/22 at Jefferson
9/29 at Blake
10/6 vs. King
10/20 vs. Brandon
10/27 vs. Hillsborough
11/3 at Durant
All work and no play makes Armwood a dull team.
“These kids can work but they’ve still got to enjoy life,” head coach Evan Davis said. “The game of football’s going to give you access to a lot of things but it can’t drive you to where you don’t enjoy the process as well.”
The process had been tweaked at Armwood with new head coach Evan Davis taking over for legendary Sean Callahan. Davis is holding the Hawks to the same standards as Callahan. But he’s changed the practice schedule to be more efficient, to get more out of his players.
“I always tell my kids, life and football are all about details, that’s fundamentals,” Davis said. “If we can take care of our details, no matter who we are playing, Plant, Tech, Miami Central, Miami Carol City, we’ll face that opponent when we get there.
“If we’re doing all the right stuff, we’ll be properly prepared to take on any team we face.”
Make no mistake, the goal at Armwood still remains a state championship.
“We have to stay focused and do all the right things here that will end up leading to that goal,” Davis said. “Because if you just say state championship, state championship you lose the process of how to get there.”
And getting there is half the fun.