The 2019 season was full of growing pains for a young Merritt Island Christian squad. The Cougars will look to turn things around this season under third-year head coach Greg Gage.
Last season was the first at quarterback for former running back Morgan Babb, who enters his sophomore season. Babb threw for 150 yards last season and ran for 191, he also had two catches for 29 yards as a receiver. He amassed 308 all-purpose yards.
Carson Shackelford backed Babb up at QB and caught a couple of passes last season for 24 yards. Daniel Kobobel was the Cougars leading receiver last season, catching 11 balls for 67 yards and the only receiving touchdown on the squad. He has graduated.
Dominic Pratt enters his senior season with the ability to help the Cougars wherever he is needed on the field. He finished last season as the teams’ leading rusher, with 406 yards on 126 carries. He had one touchdown and one 100-yard game and finished the season with 454 all-purpose yards.
Linebacker Nathan Nevad led the MIC defense in tackles last season with 61. He will be back for his junior season, and likely back at the tight end position. Defensive end Layson Handwork led the team in sacks with five. He had 26 tackles total, with 19 solos.
The defense had 14 sacks, but only two interceptions. They averaged just 39.1 tackles per game. The defense will need to take a step up if the Cougars are going to succeed this season.
Shackelford will handle the punting duties again in this season. He punted 16 times for 472 yards last season, averaging just over 29 yards per punt. He had two punts land inside the 20. Babb led the team in kickoff return yardage with 85, while Jayden Stricklin handled extra points and field goals.
The Cougars will open their season on August 21 on the road against Lakeside Christian. After a game at Warner Christian Academy the following week, the home opener will be against City of Life Christian Academy. The start times will be 7:00 p.m.