Ocoee football program enjoys upgrades

Ocoee has added new black Nike home jerseys to its rotation of uniforms, along with upgrades to its stadium and practice field for this season.

  • By
  • | 12:15 p.m. September 1, 2016
The Ocoee High football program has relocated the home stands at its stadium 30 feet closer to the action.
The Ocoee High football program has relocated the home stands at its stadium 30 feet closer to the action.
  • Sports
  • High Schools
  • Share

OCOEE Last fall, the Ocoee Knights were an improved product on the field — jumping to six wins in 2015 from two wins in 2014.

This fall, the program is hoping to continue that trend, with some new upgrades to complement it. Ocoee has introduced new black jerseys for home games and new decals for its helmets. It also has installed a new playing surface for its practice field and moved the home bleachers about 30 feet closer to the action.

Senior David Span sports the Knights' new home jersey at Ocoee's Kickoff Classic against Bishop Moore Aug. 19.Within the next week, the Knights scoreboard is scheduled to be moved back from directly behind the goalposts of the south end zone.

Of all the upgrades, though, there is one that stands out above the rest to the players.

“By far, the black jerseys; they look really nice,” said senior B.J. Bohler of the Nike tops. “Not saying that a jersey makes me play better or play different. But I play with more style, more swagger — like Deion Sanders said.”

New threads for uniforms are a popular theme around Central Florida, and athletic directors such as Ocoee’s Steve McHale recognize that, although it may seem silly to some, there is value in keeping players looking good and excited about new uniforms.

“It just helps drive the pride,” McHale said. “I’m not a big name-brand person, but I remember as kid when you got that varsity uniform, it felt like gold.”

For fans on game days in Ocoee, another of the upgrades may prove to be the most substantive: the moving of the bleachers. Previously, the Knights’ home bleachers at the stadium — also used for soccer, lacrosse and flag football — were far removed from the action with a large buffer between them and the action.

In the offseason, McHale and football coach Ben Bullock elected to move them about 30 feet, with the effect being noticeable during the Knights’ preseason game Aug. 19.

“I’m excited about the bleachers being moved up,” senior David Span said. “That makes the fans closer to the field and helps them get more involved in the game.”

The scoreboard’s new home will be the final upgrade this year. Currently, the Knights’ scoreboard is too close to the south end zone goal posts and often is struck by balls.

Away from the game action, the school also resurfaced its practice field for football, soccer and lacrosse to be the same style of playing surface as the game field. In addition to encouraging those programs to practice on it more often, thus reducing wear and tear on the actual game field, McHale said the idea was also to create some continuity and protect the players.

“They’re practicing on the same kind of field they’re going to be playing on, so it transfers over to the game field,” McHale said, noting that the previous playing surface of the practice field was more likely to produce rolled ankles.

Ocoee’s helmets, which are white, were given new decals this fall, also. The word “Ocoee” is now in black lettering along the side of the helmet and a new customized “Knight” decal runs down the center where a stripe would normally be.

In total, the various upgrades are a welcome sign to the players  that the school and the community are behind them.

“It’s nice to be invested in,” Span said. “It makes us feel more supported — it really does.”


Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


Latest News