May 22 vs. Santa Fe Catholic
Aug. 29 vs. St. Stephen's
Sept. 5 vs. Lakeland Christian
Sept. 19 at All Saints' Academy
Sept. 26 vs. Shorecrest
Oct. 3 at Warner Christian
Oct. 10 at Northside Christian
Oct. 17 at Evangelical Christian
Oct. 24 vs. Fort Meade
Oct. 31 vs. Bradenton Christian
Nov. 7 at Indian Rocks Christian
Nov. 14 vs. Calvary Christian
Last season: 3-7
Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: Chris Miller (fourth season, 12-16)
District: Class A-5 (Fort Meade, Indian Rocks Christian, Lakeland Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest)
Key losses: C/NG Arnold Bellini, OL/DL Hayden Buttner
Who's back: QB/DB A.J. Augustine, RB/DB Josh Burch, LB Taylor Davis, FB/DL/LB Noah Silverberg, OL/DL Cory Vanarnum
What's new: Personnel-wise, not much. The Blue Jackets had seven first-time players last season, and the experience those players gained should serve Admiral well this year. "We've got all these guys returning that should make us better," Miller said. "… We expect to be a little bit more fundamentally sound."
Silverberg, whom Miller calls the team leader, will play a major role in what the Blue Jackets do on offense and defense. "This is his football team," Miller said.
The Blue Jackets lost two stalwarts on the offensive and defensive lines in Bellini and Buttner, but Miller thinks the overall size of both lines has improved. Senior tight end Malcolm Viex missed all of last season with a knee injury but will be counted on heavily this year. Miller estimates he'll have nine guys playing both ways.
Audibles: "You've got to start over in a lot of ways every year. It's really rare that we keep a kid from middle school all the way through high school because of the military aspect of the school. It's not for everybody; it's very challenging." — Miller
Did you know?: AFA's roster has a decidedly international flavor. Roughly one-third of the Blue Jackets' 30 or so players were born on foreign soil.
Bryan Burns, Times staff writer