Football team preview: Academy at the Lakes

Academy at the Lakes

At a glance

Coach: Shawn Brown(sixth season)

Class: Coastal District (Sunshine Conference 8-man league)

Last year: 6-2 (Lost to Canterbury in the first round)

Key players: QB Jalen Brown, Sr.; WR/DB Adrian Leverette, Sr.; WR/TE Tayshawn Pendleton, Sr.; WR/DB Caleb Yann, Sr.; RB/DB Sean Saccomanno, Sr.; C/DL Dwight Downing, Sr. (C/DL).


Oct. 2 vs. Jacksonville Duval Charter

Oct. 9 at Gainesville Oak Hall

Oct. 16 TBA

Oct. 23 TBA

Things to know

Seniority rules

Nine of the 19 players on the roster are seniors. Academy at the Lakes returns its leading passer and rusher (Jalen Brown), three of its top four leading receivers (Caleb Yann, Adrian Leverette and Tayshawn Pendleton) and three of its top five leading tacklers (Leverette, Pendleton and Dwight Downing). This nucleus is one of the big reasons the Wildcats have a chance to win its third state title in the past four years. “With this group we can make a push to do some great things,” coach Shawn Brown said. 

Caleb Yann

A healthy start

Last year, Academy at the Lakes was a depleted bunch. Once the playoffs started, the Wildcats were missing key starters, including Brown, who has been the team’s quarterback since the eighth grade. Without Brown, who threw for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season, Academy at the Lakes lost to Canterbury in the first round, ending the program’s two-year reign as state champions. “We had a lot of injuries last year,” Brown said. “This year we are healthy and hungry.”

The waiting game

Following guidelines from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the school is waiting until the first week of October before playing its first game. The move was made to see how many positive cases of COVID-19 there are once students start classes. Another strong start will be critical, especially with such an abbreviated season. That should not be a problem considering Academy at the Lakes has such a veteran team.