Young Squad on the Block: Clearwater Knights Battle for Recognition

“Football is our vehicle to provide these kids with a great future and football is family…”  ~Head Coach Jesse Chinchar, Clearwater Academy International. 

Clearwater, September 19, 2018– Clearwater Academy International, home of the blue and white Knights and diverse ethnic walks of life. The knights are undefeated at 3-0 in their 25-team Freelance standings, side-by-side with the infamous IMG academy powerhouse who by the way is ranked both number 1 nationally and statewide. Stiff competition throughout the district for a small non-profit, private K-12 school with young mentorship leading the charge; something to further appreciate as we take a closer look into what makes this high school football program so distinct and resilient.

“I had passion early on from a young age knowing I’d get into coaching, originally coached my friend’s little brother when I was 14. They had a terrible experience playing in the same flag football league I was in and I saw what impact football had on me and so my present Defensive Coordinator David Feldman and I decided it was time to give back. The program started in 2008 with 6 v 6 football, then grew to 8 man which were still all verse private programs, and we then went on to win 52 games in a row and 4 state championships at a smaller level.”

“David and I are childhood friends, we played and now coach together; as a player I was a quarterback, heavily involved in the offense since day 1, I’m also offensive coordinator now so the organization in general and helping the kids has been my mission- that’s why I fell in love with coaching,” states head coach Jesse Chinchar compassionately.

Loyal coach Jesse Chinchar and the Knights have numerous accolades throughout their lifetime together, starting with him as captain behind the front lines whipping the laces off the pigskin, totaling 2,915 passing yards on 166 completions, threw 74 TD’s and rushed 14 in, with a 146 QBR and 5 measly interceptions all in his junior debut, rallying the group to 10-2 and 9-1 in the league, ranking 3rd in the state of Florida!

“The team and school is doing very well scholastically; having that provides players with brighter opportunities to play at the next level- we are also starting up a new broadcast network called Knights Sports Network, where myself and Argi work all the production in the announcing booth. It’s a home-grown program and we’re making major strides,” says Chairman Board member, Jeff Feldman and father of Defensive Coordinator David Feldman proudly.

“It’s all about the culture here with Coach Chinchar, he’s not the type to get your face and yell- he’s young and connects well with all the players and holds you responsible on and off the field,” exclaims former student and QB Argi Radani, 2011-2013. (2014 senior season was spent at Dunedin High).

In 13 games in Argi’s junior campaign, he carried on the torch of success taking all the snaps in 2013, amassing 2,723 passing yards on 157 completions, tallying 35 scores with his cannon of an arm and 912 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns on the ground to his name, throwing only 2 pics with an overall QBR of 134! Radani’s contributions went beyond the offense, collecting 1,071 all-purpose yards, 48 total defensive tackles, 36 solo, defended 12 passes, caused 2 fumbles, blocked a field goal (wow) and last but NOT least, racked up 10 interceptions with 122 interception return yards!

Coach Chinchar goes on to say, “Argi was a pro under center, a true natural at the position; he had big arm that opened up our offense and a fun guy at quarterback, making you want to jump at 11-man competition like we did 2016, so currently in year three of 11 on 11 since we made the switch.”

“I’d say the international aspect is the most unique about the Knights, 50% of the team is from out of the country and 30% of the K-12 school is international; 85-90 of the kids are at the high school level and almost half of them play on the team here at Clearwater academy.”

“Our approach wasn’t the traditional route, myself and David are both 26 years old so we had to scour all the coaching knowledge ourselves overtime, building experience from the ground up. We met with college coaches, searched the internet, relentless in the pursuit in being great, absorbing every bit we can with eight coaches on staff right now.”

“With our youthfulness we have a lot of fun, we want these guys to remember these Friday night lights forever, while still working hard with high energy at all times on the practice field. Hard work and doing things the right way- big on developing the team with characteristics and teaching these kids life responsibilities. The main thing at end of day is to help these kids reach their goals in life.”

All in all, Clearwater Academy International has flourished throughout its program’s lifespan and it’s only looking ahead from here, with ethnic acceptance at all age levels and accountability as their core priorities, the Knights will be crowned for their unyielding accomplishments in due time, of course along with the support of the rowdy crowd!

Come show the Knights some love at home as they take on Jordan Christian Prep this Friday night at 7, coming off a punishing victory against North Florida Christian in Tallahassee tying the knot with a score of 52-14!

Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor