LEESBURG — The two-time defending state champion Lee County Trojans are back at work. Almost 170 young men grades 9-12 are dialed into the summer workouts now taking place for the Trojans. Their next challenge will be a 7-on-7 tournament in Atlanta — an exclusive invite to the Corky Kell 7-on-7 beginning Friday.
The Trojans were going through drills and scrimmaged against each other Monday morning and were scheduled to do it again Wednesday.
“Earlier in my career, all you could do in the summer is have the boys in the weight room,” said Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio. “Now we get to do so much more. These days it is all about the 7-on-7s and the OTAs, (organized team activities). The days of the summer football camp are over.”
Last year the Trojans blew through the regular season and playoffs without a loss to capture their second consecutive state championship. The Trojans only loss came in the national championship game against St. Francis Academy of Baltimore, Maryland.
“We are out here working on fundamentals and installing the offense,” Fabrizio said. “We can’t chase last year’s team, we have to adjust to this team and help them understand this is a new year and a new team,” he said.
Fabrizio and his staff are working to replace 42 seniors that graduated from the 2018 squad, 20 of which will be playing college football in the fall.
“When you have 160 kids in the system, you always have a big number to graduate,” Fabrizio said. “We have kids that have been in the system, waiting their turn, and now it is their turn to shine.”
One of those looking to shine is senior wide receiver James Hopson.
“We are out here trying to be as productive as possible,” said Hopson. “We have some people back but there are new people in the offense and we want to be ready for Corky Kell and for Friday nights,” he said.
When asked about his future after high school, Hopson said he has his eyes on Ivy League schools or other strong academic schools, like Duke University.
Teammate and rising junior Chauncey Magwood says there is a lot of work ahead to get ready, but he believes the Trojans will be good again this season.
“We have a lot of progression to do,” Magwood said. “We have pretty much the same offense, but with different plays and different routes — maybe a different perspective so we are going to work hard and be prepared.”
“We good,” Magwood said.
Hopson and Magwood will be two of the offensive weapons for quarterback Kyle Toole who returns for his senior season after throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns last season.
“I am looking forward to the challenge (of getting back to the state championship),” Toole said of the upcoming season. “We want to get back to the state championship again and we can if we come together as a team and work together.”
Toole announced over the weekend that he would be playing college football at Troy University in Troy, Ala. — a Division 1 program that competes in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Corky Kell 7-on-7 is the next challenge, but the summer will be full of work for the defending champions. The last hurdle they will face in the summer will be a scrimmage against 7A powerhouse Tift County on August 15. The Trojans will begin their regular season on August 24 when they host the Trojans of Dougherty High School.