FPC has its sights set on a district championship and beyond.
The Bulldogs were down 7-0 to Winter Park entering the second half of the first round of the 2018 FHSAA playoffs. Although the No. 7 seed Bulldogs were the underdogs against No. 2 seed Winter Park, there was a belief that Flagler Palm Coast could pull out the victory.
That didn’t happen.
"We're going to be well-coached and our kids are going to be disciplined, so I don't expect them to struggle too much. We might have some growing pains. But at the same time, we have kids who have been waiting their turn, so they're hungry."
FPC coach Travis Roland on the Bulldogs' defense
Although the Bulldogs’ freshman quarterback, Preston Roberts, tied the game with a touchdown pass to Jordan Belle with 7 minutes left in the third quarter, Winter Park scored 28-straight points from that point on, including an 81-yard passing touchdown and two pick-sixes.
Winter Park won 34-7 and for the second year in a row, the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes were shattered in the first round.
But with the start of the 2019 season a few weeks away, the Bulldogs vowed not to let that loss define them.
“That was the worst loss I’ve ever had,” rising senior offensive lineman Devon Conkrite said. “We just came out and completely blew it. We just bowed down to them, and I know that’s not the team we are. People might say it every year, but there’s really something special on this team. I know there is. We’re going to go very, very far.”
First, the good: FPC returns the majority of its starters on offense, including quarterback Donovan Montoyo, future Division I running back Ty Jenkins and four senior offensive linemen. Bruising running back Marc Genis, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, is healthy for his senior season. The Bulldogs also added Jonathan Richard, who started at wide receiver for Mainland last season.
“I expect the offense to be explosive,” FPC head coach Travis Roland said. “Hopefully we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do: come out and dominate in the running game and the passing game.”
One of the most intriguing questions for the Bulldogs’ offense is what they’ll do with Montoyo and sophomore signal caller Preston Roberts, who showed tremendous progress throughout his freshman season and throughout this past summer.
“Preston’s got so much talent, same with Donovan,” Roland said. “It’s hard to sit either one of them. It’s going to be a game-by-game, week-by-week, series-by-series deal thing. But I think we can win a championship with either one of them. We want to win our district first and go from there, but I’ve got faith in both of those guys.”
Now, the not so good: The Bulldogs will feature an almost entirely new defense after losing 10 starters from last season.
Senior linebacker Tobin Hackett will be starting for the first time ever this upcoming season, but he’s not worried about how the defense will perform.
“It’s just lining up and performing your assignment,” he said. “Everybody’s got the intensity and skill. It’s going to be a new experience.”