Posted: 2:19 pm Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Football: John Carroll set to return to FHSAA district play 

By Anthony Chiang

After spending two years in the Southeastern Football Conference, John Carroll’s football team is set to return to FHSAA district play next season.

The Rams finished with a 10-1 record and won the SFC championship last year, and they felt like it was time to play for a state championship moving forward. TCPalm first reported the school’s decision.

“We’ve always looked down the road at going back to the FHSAA,” John Carroll coach Mike Watkins said. “We felt like that was going to be a necessary step for our football program if we wanted to continue to grow in the right direction.”

John Carroll will be a part of District 3-3A, which already features Orlando-First Academy, Melbourne-Holy Trinity, Melbourne Central Catholic, Maitland-Orangewood Christian and Winter Park-Trinity Prep.

“I’m still young enough and naïve enough to think we have a chance at a state title at some point,” said Watkins, who just finished his second season as the Rams’ head coach. “It might be 15 years or 30 years down the road, but I would like to say that I made it to the third round.”

Since making the decision, the Rams have already scheduled a spring game and a nine-game regular season. Watkins said the school is still looking for one more regular-season opponent.

John Carroll recorded a 16-5 record in its two seasons in the SFC.

“It was great for the program,” Watkins said of the SFC. “There were a lot of our traditional opponents in it like Benjamin and Pope John Paul II. The league does things the right way and it was great.”