SHADY HILLS — A new chapter for Bishop McLaughlin football is coming, but the change will be led by a head coach other than Derrick Alexander, who stepped down last month to spend more time with his family.
The Hurricanes didn’t waste much time nor did they have to look far for the program’s next coach. Bishop McLaughlin hired Craig Moore, a former NFL and Arena Footall player and native of Immokalee, to be the face of Hurricanes football. Moore had been an assistant on Alexander’s staff two of the past three seasons and knows the ins and outs of Bishop McLaughlin football.
Moore’s biggest task will be rebuilding the Hurricanes after playing the 2013 season in Class 3A-District 4 against the likes of Tampa Catholic, Fort Meade and Frostproof and finishing 2-8. The former pro offensive lineman will have his work cut out as a first-time head coach, especially with fewer than 15 players participating on the first day of spring ball.
“The program has never really had a chance to take off,” Moore said. “We have skilled players, but we don’t have enough of them. The fight at Bishop McLaughlin is having more student-athletes at the school and coming out for football. I’d say that’s really more of the challenge.”
The rebuilding process will start without the school’s most accomplished passer, R.J. Perciavalle, who graduates and leaves a void at quarterback after throwing for 1,313 yards in 2013. Along with that loss, the Hurricanes lose seniors David Gibson, Kamran Zafar and Alex Stafford. Despite seven key seniors departing, the Hurricanes do return several key pieces at the skill positions.
Senior Will Potosky (30 catches, 599 yards) returns as the club’s top receiver the past two seasons and brings experience to the table. Also returing is running back/linebacker Noah Clanahan (196 yards, 77 tackles), tight end/safety Eric Pitton (52 carries, 332 yards) and receiver/defensive back Patrick Beatty.
“Those three are basically the heart of our team,” Moore said. “The thing with Noah is he can basically play anywhere. He can pick up things so quickly and sometimes know it better than the coaches. Will (Potosky) is such a good blocker and can really do a lot for us. (Pitton) is going to be our workhorse.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him Twitter @avillamarzo.