Posted: 12:56 pm Monday, October 4th, 2010

King’s Academy is confident, but about to run the gauntlet 

By Matt Porter

King’s Academy (5-0) has reason to feel pretty good.

Three weeks ago, they went to Orlando and beat a bigger, more physical Bishop Moore team, 14-7. Then they stomped Miami-Ransom Everglades on the road, 48-0. Last week, they beat district rival Calvary Christian 42-7, avenging last year’s loss that left them on the outside of the District 7-1A playoff race.

But the biggest tests are yet to come.

On Friday they face Benjamin (3-1, 1-0). The Bucs’ loss was to Cardinal Newman (5-0), No. 9 in The Post’s Top 10 (see full rankings here). If King’s beats Benjamin, it heads to American Heritage (2-3, 1-0, playing Pahokee this week) Oct. 15 with a chance to earn top billing in District 7-1A.

“We have to keep our kids focused, not looking ahead to American Heritage, not living off what they last week against Calvary,” coach Craig Dobson said. “Keeping them focused is the biggest thing.”

“They’ve had success against Benjamin at the lower levels, but that doesn’t meant anything. It’s a head game, sometimes, with these young guys. You have to stay on top of things as a coach,” Dobson said.

King’s closes the season by hosting Glades Day, where Dobson coached for 14 seasons before coming to King’s Academy in 2005, and Cardinal Newman.

Dobson admits his team is a bit small — “We don’t have any size on the lines. We have kids who weigh 220, 235 pounds, kids who just come after it” — but rest is one factor in its favor. King’s has a pair of defensive backs and one linebacker regularly playing both ways.

“The reason we’ve been able to do it is, we’ve got some pretty good coaches. It makes for a happier team, that’s for sure,” Dobson said. “It makes you feel like everyone can contribute. We might be a slight bit weaker, but the conditioning really improves as the season goes on.”

The Lions could improve next year. Junior running back Brian Grove (5-10, 195, 4.5) and middle linebacker Gage Batten (6-0, 215) lead a class of 24 juniors (see team page here). Grove’s 662 yards on 79 carries ranks second among small school running backs (see leaders here). Dobson said Grove has strong interest from UCF and FAU, and UCF is asking about Batten.

In his first year as a starting quarterback, junior Shane Bussey has thrown 8 touchdowns and two interceptions.