A season that started with such promise at Ponte Vedra High took a sudden and unexpected turn with the sudden resignation of head football coach Jeff DiSandro and the loss of all-star quarterback Jacobi Myers.
DiSandro confirmed his departure from the Sharks’ sideline, saying: “Sorry, I had to step away not too long ago with some personal things.”
Ponte Vedra Athletics Director Eric Frank repeated DiSandro’s reason for leaving the team, adding, “It goes with the year 2020.”
Defensive coordinator Brad Kessel will serve as the interim coach for the rest of the season, Frank said.
Myers, who missed all but eight plays of the 2019 season with a torn Achilles tendon, was injured two weeks ago against Bartram Trail. Sophomore Joseph Wisner will be the starter when the Sharks play at 4-2 St. Augustine this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Myers threw for 927 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games before being injured. If and when the senior can return hasn’t been determined.
“That’s sports,” Frank said. “You see it at the professional level all the way down to high schools. When someone goes out, somebody else has to step up.”
Without DiSandro and Myers, Ponte Vedra lost 14-0 last week at Live Oak Suwannee. After starting with four consecutive victories, the Sharks now have lost two of their last three to be 4-2.
“With COVID and everything else, nothing has been normal this year,” Frank said. “That’s life right now. Things happen. But these kids have adapted and will succeed.”
Both Ponte Vedra and Nease, which travels to Oakleaf on Friday, have earned a spot in the playoffs. Since the brackets were created by a blind draw, the regular season is little more than dress rehearsal.
“You just want to be 1-0 after the first week of the playoffs,” Frank said.
Columbia and Jacksonville Englewood open the Class 6A playoffs on Nov. 6 with the winner hosting Ponte Vedra of Nov. 13, while Nease will play at Oakleaf on Nov. 13 in the Class 8A tournament with the winner moving on to a road game at Oakleaf on Nov. 20.
Nease (1-5) lost 49-16 at St. Augustine last week. The Panthers have three regular season games remaining
Counting a Nov. 6 home game against Creekside, Ponte Vedra has two regular season games remaining.
DiSandro came to Ponte Vedra ahead of the 2019 season after working at Bishop Kenny. He was 11-4 overall, including a trip to the 1-6A playoffs a year ago.
“No one else on the staff left,” Frank said. “We have every bit of confidence in our football team. We’ll get into a coaching search, but right now, the players are the only thing that matters. We’re only focused on them.”