Dunedin Pirates football back for another year

The Dunedin Pirates, a semi-pro football team, are back on the practice field and getting ready for the 2020 campaign

DUNEDIN – The Dunedin Pirates, a semi-pro organization playing in the 16-team Florida Football Alliance, are back on the practice field for another season.

The Pirates begin training with high expectations, looking to improve upon last year's 5-7 campaign. Much of last season's starting lineup is returning, including second-year quarterback Eric Vitale. The Fivay High graduate appeared in the 2019 FFA All-Star Game and is looking to guide Dunedin back into the FFA postseason.

Taking over as the team’s new head coach is coach Nate Barlow, who has been with the Pirates since the franchise’s inception back in 2009. His staff includes Josh Payne, Max Parker, Rodney Robinson, Tony Bellamy and Jim French. Barlow also served as an offensive coordinator at Anclote High School for multiple seasons under Head Coach Matt Kingsley.

The regular season begins in January and the Pirates have a preseason date scheduled for Dec. 14 against the Colorado Rockets. That game will be played at 7:30 p.m. at Dunedin High School, after the Pirates participate in the city of Dunedin’s annual holiday parade.

The Dunedin Pirates play 11-on-11, full-padded football and have home games at Dunedin High School on Saturday’s starting in late January. Their schedule has them facing teams in the Central Florida region, such as the Southwest Florida Gladiators (Bradenton), West Coast Soldiers (Hudson), Bay Area Panthers (Tampa) and Orlando Generals.