Purple Hurricanes take storm for new season

The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes rush the field for opening kickoff. / Jon Benson

Just last year the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes had one interesting football season. In week two they faced rival Irwin County and left the game with a tie with a final score; 20-20. Then towards the end of the season they found themselves in a three way tie with Cook County and Early County for a playoff spot. The three way tie forced a Monday night showdown in Worth County where the three schools played in a mini game series. In order to advance two out of the three schools could continue their season with the number three and four spots in the region.

After Fitzgerald beat Cook County 3-0 in the first game their season would continue before falling in the second round of the playoffs to Benedictine, finishing their season with an overall record 6-5-1. It's a new year and the Purple Hurricanes have some new faces on the offensive side of the ball.

Starting with the offensive lineman head coach Jason Strickland is set on his starting front five. All the big guys up front do have playing experience from last season, but this will be the first time all five will plan to play together for the entire season. The back field is looking good with the return of three upcoming seniors; Taeylon Gaulden, Trey Graham, and Daniel Rivera. The only real question comes from the quarterback position.

Two year starting quarterback Romarius Gaulden left due to graduation, and taking over the QB spot will be upcoming senior Gerald Morgan. Morgan in his junior year was an All-Region and an All-State safety who will be moved to the quarterback spot. Morgan does have a little experience in the backfield after taking some snaps as a running back.

On the defensive side of the ball Fitzgerald has a strong linebacker core with the return of Caleb Ray and Michael Jackson and both will be seniors. In the secondary they an athletic weapon who led the team in interceptions name Joe Reliford who could be moved from the corner position to the safety position.

The special teams side, there is a big hole as far as who will be the placement kicker. The Purple Hurricanes loss All-Region kicker Manuel Chavez from graduation and Coach Strickland is still searching for who will take over that job.

Coach Strickland said, "Right now we don't know who will be kicking the extra points, and for all I know we could be going for two after every touchdown and kicking onside kicks every game."

Fitzgerald will open their season up against Worth County on 8-22 in Worth.