DUNEDIN – The Dunedin Pirates will kickoff their Florida Football Alliance (FFA) regular season home slate on Saturday, Feb. 1, when they face the West Coast Soldiers of Hudson. The home game will be played at Dunedin High School and kickoff is slated for 5 p.m.
Doing the honorary coin toss prior to the game will be former Detroit Lions head coach Wayne Fontes, who coached the team from 1988 to 1996. Fontes coached Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.
Dunedin was a snake-bitten team for most of the 2019 season, as the Pirates fell in close contests against the Jacksonville Cardinals (22-12), Southwest Florida Gladiators (19-0), Duval Raiders (18-8) and the Golden Isles Grizzlies (30-22) of Brunswick, Ga. The Pirates reached the FFA playoffs in 2019, falling to the Cardinals 28-22 in overtime in the Wild Card round. Dunedin played in a preseason game in December and fell 20-13 to the Lake County Storm.
The last meeting between the Pirates and Soldiers was played back in April 2014 when Dunedin traveled to Veterans Memorial Park and fell 13-6.
Dunedin is led offensively by quarterback Eric Vitale, who amassed over 850 yards of offense last season. Contributing in the receiving department is former Clearwater High standout Craig Parsons, DeQuon Bryant, Rico Holmes and Andy Villamarzo (nine catches, 99 yards in 2019), who also organizes and manages the program.
Defensively, linebacker Arseles Miller Jr. and defensive end Colin Grantham, who played at Dunedin High, have both been key players on that side of the ball the last couple of years. Former Robinson standout Alex Jennings has made plays at wide receiver and in the kickoff return game.
Taking over as the head coach of the Pirates during the off-season was the team’s offensive coordinator from last year Nate Barlow, who served as a coordinator at Anclote High in the past. On his staff this season are assistants Max Parker, Rodney Robinson, Josh Payne, Jim French, Wes Copeland and Tony Bellamy.
For more information on the Dunedin Pirates adult amateur football team, visit www.dunedinpirates.com and the team’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/DunedinPirates. The Pirates play 11-on-11 full contact football and are a member of the Florida Football Alliance, an adult amateur league that has been in existence since 2008.