Dan PearsonBy:  J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

St. Cloud salvaged what was turning out to be uncharacteristic dismal football season last year with a huge 31-30 upset over arch-rival Harmony in the final game of the year.  And although that win did not totally heal the wounds of a 3-6 campaign, it created a lot of momentum for a young Bulldogs team heading into the upcoming season. After their kickoff classic was cancelled due to inclement weather, the Bulldogs were able to play their opening game at home last Friday. It was a tough game for St. Cloud as they fell to Central Florida Christian Academy 54-27, but brighter days likely lay ahead for the Bulldogs.

It will be a season of change for the Bulldogs, as Michael Short takes over for Bryan Smart, who resigned after spending nine years as head coach to become the school’s new Athletics Director.

“We were a pretty young team last year and it’s going to be more of the same this year,” Short said after directing a summer workout.  “Normally that would be a huge concern, but these kids are a pretty fearless lot and want to play football.”

The offense will revolve around one of those young players, sophomore quarterback Logan King. The brother of former three-year starter Garhett King, Logan is a big (6-2, 215), strong-armed player who made several starts last season for the Bulldogs and finished with a 55.4% completion percentage and three touchdowns and six interceptions as a freshman.

Short believes King has made tremendous strides in the off-season.  “Although we tried to bring him along slowly last year we still threw him into the fire,” Short said.  “It’s a really tough position to step in and start as a freshman.  He looked so much more comfortable this spring and during the summer.”

St. Cloud will most likely use a running back by committee approach.  Senior Isaac Nieves (182 yards, 1 TD) is the top returning running back.  Look for linebacker Noah Carr to go both ways and see a lot of action in the offensive backfield; while sophomore TJ Griffin, started as a freshman defensive back, has looked good at running back both this spring and during summer drills.

Joe Clukey, a defensive stalwart for the Bulldogs last year, will become a fulltime two-way player for St. Cloud this year.   Short has praised him at wide receiver this summer.  “He had a great spring and has been unreal during these seven-on-seven tournaments,” Short said.  “Joe is a big target at 6-4 and rarely drops a ball.” Senior Jake Dabrowski will be a part of the regular receiving rotation and Owen Conner, a transfer from Lake Minneola, has looked good in summer drills.

Sophomore  Connor Howes (6-5, 270) is a massive presence and is starting to come into his own after seeing some varsity action as a freshman.  “He has improved by leaps and bounds since last fall and has already caught the eye of recruiters from his work at summer camps,” Short noted.

Although young, Short said his defensive line might be the deepest position on the team.  Junior Kareem Elgin (6-0, 230) is an extremely mobile lineman who recorded 25 tackles and three sacks last year.  “We’re expecting a big year out of Kareem this year,” Short said.  “He can play both inside and out so we are going to move him around a lot and try to create some mismatches.”  Jose Martinez, Bobby Madden and Elvis Quetzal are others to watch on the defensive line.

As mentioned Carr will receive some play at running back but it is at linebacker where he is most effective.  The rising senior and all-state weightlifter led the Bulldogs in tackles (126), tackles-for-loss (13) and tied for the lead in quarterback sacks (6) and is probably the one player St. Cloud cannot afford to lose. Although listed as a safety, Clukey often plays close to the line and recorded 60 tackles.

Griffin (2 interceptions) and Clukey will shore up the defensive backfield; while Wyatt Castellucci returns as the starting placekicker and punter.  He average 31 yards per punt, made all 19 extra points and was a solid 5 of 7 on field goal attempts last year.

Under the new Suburban/Metro alignment, St. Cloud has been placed in Suburban Class 4A, District 10 with county opponents Osceola, Tohopekaliga, and Celebration.  The seven non-district opponents include Central Florida Christian Academy, Winter Springs, and Ambassador Christian Academy at home and road games with Pine Ridge, Liberty, Gateway and Harmony.  The Bulldogs will travel to Windermere for its season-opening Kickoff Classic exhibition on Aug. 19.

“We’re playing a challenging schedule,” Short said.  “And we are going to be playing that schedule with a lot of sophomores and juniors on the field.  Our biggest key is that we have to stay healthy.  We simply do not have the depth to withstand a lot of injuries.”

St. Cloud Schedule

  • Aug. 19 Windermere* 7 p.m. – canceled
  • Aug. 26 Central Florida Christian 7 p.m. (Loss) 54-27
  • Sept. 2 at Pine Ridge 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 9 at Liberty 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 16 at Tohopekaliga** 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 22 Winter Springs 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 30 Osceola** 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 7 at Gateway 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 14 Ambassador Christian Academy 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 21 Bye Week
  • Oct. 28 Celebration** 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 4 at Harmony 7:30 p.m.
  • *Kickoff Classic Exhibition Game
  • **District Opponent

2022 St. Cloud Roster

  •  0 Adrian Gonzalez K, P Sr.
  • 1Terrance GriffinRB, CBSo.
  • 3Luc BeaulieuCBSo.
  • 5 Joseph Clukey FS, SS Sr.
  • 8Ryan ParryWRJr.
  • 10 Logan King QB So.
  • 11Jolaney QuinonesWRSr.
  • 14Jacob HernandezWR,CBSo.
  • 14 Marshall Traynor WR So.
  • 15Isaac NievesSBSr.
  • 16Lucas WernerWRSo.
  • 17Owen ConnerWRJr.
  • 18Zack LafondWRJr.
  • 18Johnathan SantiagoWRSo.
  • 18Jake DabrowskiWRSr.
  • 19Gabriel AstolWRSo.
  • 20De Dios IversonWR, TSo.
  • 23Malcolm SenonoDBSo.
  • 28 Jeremiah Muriel RB, CB, OLB Jr.
  • 32James BaillieOLBSr.
  • 33Fabian GonzalezCB, FSSo.
  • 34Tyler GreenRBSo.
  • 40Ahjay BaezWRSo.
  • 42Noah CarrMLB, OLBSr.
  • 44Jose MartinezRB/LBSr.
  • 47 Rylon Richard-Taromino MLB Jr.
  • 50Daniel TorresCSo.
  • 54Jayden WoodsTJr.
  • 54Elvis QuetzalDTSo.
  • 55Mason GreenOLSr.
  • 56Bobby MaddenG, NGSr.
  • 61Kareem ElginDE, DTJr.
  • 64Eduardo SotoDE, DTJr.
  • 65Connor HowesTSo.
  • 68Yahill LopezDE, DTJr.
  • 70Ronnie HenryOL/DLJr.
  • 72Alden SmithT, GSo.
  • 72 Terenz Stroughter T Jr.
  • 82 Kelvin Cuao WR Jr.
  • 84Yadiel RiveraWRSr.
  • 88Landon MillmanWR, OLBSo.
  • 89Noah CampbellKSo.
  • 89 Wyatt Castellucci K, P Sr.
  • 99 Jacob Oviedo DL So.