Posted: 7:42 pm Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Benjamin looking up despite injury-filled 2010 season 

By Matt Porter

Despite two backbreaking district losses and a season-ending injury, Benjamin senior Charly Schooley feels positive about his last year of high school football.

“As a whole, our team had a great season,” Schooley said. “The word that comes to my mind about our season is perseverance. After losing our two quarterbacks for the year and our center for a few games, our coaches and players never gave up on each other.”

Benjamin finished 7-3 (third in District 7-1A) despite losing two quarterbacks to injury.

Pressed into service at quarterback after senior starter Teddy Dwork went down with a separated shoulder, Schooley tore his right ACL and MCL in the Bucs’ Oct. 15 win over Pope John Paul II. He had surgery Tuesday at Broward General under Dr. George Caldwell, chief team physician for the Miami Dolphins and team physician for the Florida Marlins.

“The recovery should run into track season unfortunately but I’m optimistic I’ll be ready for districts,” said Schooley, a state silver medalist in the high jump as a junior.

Dwork had surgery on his throwing shoulder several weeks ago. In the preseason, coach Ron Ream was excited about the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, and his three senior wideouts — Schooley, Charlie Collins and Sean Marshall.

“All three should be top-notch receivers,” Ream said in an August interview. “They have very good hands. We’re going to run a lot of screens, short stuff, a lot of slants. It’ll play right into Teddy’s strengths.”

Ream was worried about one thing, though: depth on the lines. “We penciled in our offensive and defensive starters, and I said ‘Woah, it’s like a mirror here,'” Ream said, referring to the Bucs’ cast of two-way linemen. One of them, senior center/defensive tackle Conor Davidson, missed several games with a torn PCL. The rest suffered the normal fatigue that comes with playing both ways. 

Still, the Bucs put up 310 points in 10 games, fifth-best among small schools. They came up short in the two
most important games of the year;  losses to King’s Academy (24-7) and American Heritage (52-0) knocked them from playoff contention.

In five starts at quarterback, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Schooley was 40-of-79 for 530 yards, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. Collins relieved him in the second quarter of the Pope John game, helping the Bucs to a 26-19 homecoming win.

After that game, the Bucs switched from a spread offense to the Wing-T. They attempted a handful of passes in their final four games, gaining 131 yards. That meant more work for sophomore running back Charlie Nicklaus, Jack’s grandson, who for the season gained 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns on 153 carries.

Nicklaus (5-11, 180) runs like his cousin, Dwyer’s Nick O’Leary. He’ll be a big part of Benjamin’s effort next season.

Once he recovers, Schooley will put his mind back on football. A free safety and wide receiver at Benjamin, he wants to play somewhere next season. Already accepted to Auburn and Alabama, he said he wants to go to Florida State to play special teams. He has received letters of interest from UCF, Alabama and Louisville, who see him as a defensive back.

“I’ll walk on wherever I go,” he said.