GULF SHORES, Ala - Through the many realignments in the athletic classes, the Gulf Shores Dolphins are one of the few teams that held their own. The Dolphins have endured six straight losing seasons …
GULF SHORES, Ala - Through the many realignments in the athletic classes, the Gulf Shores Dolphins are one of the few teams that held their own. The Dolphins have endured six straight losing seasons dating back to the 2014 season in the last season with Ben Blackmon (now at Spanish Fort) as head coach. His former assistant, now head coach Matt Blake is looking to bring that winning season back at Gulf Shores.
Blake is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Gulf Shores Dolphins football program and feels the pressure to win. He also feels the excitement and urgency of the players and coaches to win.
In the previous three seasons as head coach, Blake has accumulated a 5-25 record including a 3-21 record in region play. Blake took over a program that only won one game from 2015 to 2016.
This past season, the Dolphins finished with a 1-9 record (0-8 in 6A play) that included some heartbreaking losses. Offensively, the Dolphins know they must improve with productivity as they averaged 10.7 points per game.
On the defense side of the ball, the Dolphins allow an average of 37.1 points allowed per game.
“In terms of full-time starters, we are returning six on offense and six on defense,” Blake said after one of their practices earlier this month.
Defensively, the Dolphins will be led by senior middle linebacker Bobby Williams and sophomore safety J.R. Gardner. Preseason practice settings for most teams, including the Dolphins, got under way in the first week of August.
They are preparing for a football season while also being careful of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams are being more careful and safer on how they prepare in a contact sport.
When asked about the transition to training camps while in the pandemic, Blake said “It’s been pretty simple for us because we’ve been in the same process all summer long as far as masks. We wear masks anytime we are outside, masks anytime we are in the weight room, masks anytime we cannot maintain that social distancing.
There is no real social distancing when you are teaching form tackling, you’re teaching blocking, things of that nature. We have been doing a little bit more than normal, just trying to be extra careful. Trying to make sure we can get to the season.”
The schedule for the Dolphins includes four teams that suffered losing records this past season. The Dolphins start off the season at home against the Elberta Warriors, who are entering their third season as a program. They have achance to start off the season with a 3-2 record with two tough back-to-back games against Spanish Fort and McGill-Toolen (now as a 6A team).
The Dolphins have a chance to get a 4-6 record, potentially a 5-5 record. This would be the best record that the Dolphins would account for since 2013 when they were 8-3. Blake was on the team as an offensive assistant and assistant running backs coach.