At 2-4, the Chargers have an opportunity to reach their highest win total since 2013 this Friday.
It’s no secret that since Strawberry Crest opened its doors in 2009, they have been searching for success on the football field. But arguably more important than success, they’ve also been searching for consistency.
Now in their 13th season, Phillip Prior is the Chargers’ sixth head coach throughout the school’s short history. While this is his third season at the helm, 2021 was Prior’s first chance to really lay any groundwork with a full offseason of spring football and summer workouts after being hired just weeks prior to the 2019 season and watching COVID-19 cancel all offseason work in 2020.
“The last two years, we’ve basically been having to install a new offense and a new defense in the first two weeks of fall practice,” Prior said before the season. “So you just kind of hit the ground running and you don’t ever get a chance to get some traction. And that’s been one of the things — we’ve got a foundation laid now. We’ve been pretty consistent in what our schemes are from last year to this year, that’s another thing. We’ve had some consistency in our coaching staff that’s allowed us to do that. But spring football, that’s where you lay your foundation for the next season. That’s where you get to figure out who’s made the jump, who’s matured in the weight room, who’s matured from a mentality standpoint, who’s going to rise up and be your leaders that next year. We haven’t had the opportunity for that, so it’s been a breath of fresh air.”
Strawberry Crest currently sits at 2-4, which may look like a meager record through six games to the outside observer, but it’s a massive step for the program as those two wins are tied for the team’s best single-season mark since the Chargers finished 7-5 in 2013 — their winningest season to date and their one and only season finishing above .500.
“We still have an opportunity to have the best record that this school’s had in a very long time,” Prior said after moving to 2-3 with a win over Spoto on Sept. 10. “That’s our ultimate goal as a program and this is one of those games where it’s a step in the right direction.”
That opportunity may very well come to fruition this Friday night as Strawberry Crest heads to Brandon to take on a winless Eagles squad.
Offensively the Chargers will likely look to running back Ryan Weems to lead the charge, totalling 261 rushing yards and a touchdown on 49 carries, along with wide receiver/quarterback Coby Burger who has racked up 220 rushing yards on 33 attempts and three touchdowns.
In Strawberry Crest’s most recent win, a 28-14 victory over Freedom on Sept. 24, Burger was a key player as he gashed the Patriots’ defense by way of 175 rushing yards and three scores on 17 attempts, good for 10.3 yards per carry.