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Every now and then each of us has the opportunity to leave an indelible mark on our community and greater society. It is my hope that HBTV Sports Spotlight provides the opportunity for the person or persons we profile to give you, the reader, unique and personal insight into their contributions to the betterment of sports and humanity. Our stories capture what shapes the lives and the hearts of champions â€“ from high school to professional sports. Each writer and their stories are selected for the refreshing perspective they bring about the person(s) and the field of sports they profile. The excitement and energy of the game â€“ be it land, air, or sea is brought to life with the full inventory of losses and wins showcased in every intriguing detail with the intent of sharpening your perspective on the valuable lessons from the field of sports and how they shape our daily lives. HBTV Sports Spotlight is your magazine! In some cases, you will get exposure to the veterans and chieftains of sports with unique access to their formulas for success. In other cases, we will offer you access to the infrastructure that move the sports machine to include agents, decision makers, families, and sponsors who take great pride in providing products and services to improve the performance of the athlete and support the image of sports. My staff and I are dedicated to bringing you the lessons of heroism, determination, failure, and success through the lens of all things athletic. Our desire is toshape ideas and tell stories in a manner that increases your appreciation for our countryâ€™s undying commitment to being fans of those who go
A word from the Founder
c o n t.
into their individual arenas with heart, pride and dedication – pushing aside their personal agendas and instead responding to the noise of a supportive fan base, ultimately increasing their zeal to bring their best.
We intend to provide our publication on a quarterly basis with a focus on the current season of each sport. With our premiere issues we salute the artisans of the gridiron – the COACH – who invigorates through the relentless pursuit of the win and the passion for the game while serving as the transformer, the change agent, the mentor and advisor.
Every successful athlete needs this leader who encourages the athlete to capitalize on their natural ability by stretching the limit and tapping into their potential!
I extend a personal invitation to visit us at HBTVSportsNetwork.com for an interactive experience into the world of sports!
TEAM BIOs Ali Peek
Ali Peek was born into a sports crazed family, so it is no surprised that she ended up working in sports. After attending the University of Florida, Ali honed her craft as a writer and TV and radio personality.
Host of “Ali Peeks College Football Preview” and “Sunshine State Preview”
Dawn Gardener relentlessly pursues perfection in every stroke of the pen or tapping on a keyboard, to author works that allow the reader to escape into the pages - whether for a few minutes or hours. Her writing canvas includes exclusive writing assignments on the President of the United States, professional athletes, entertainers and business icons. Her intent is always to weave a story that feeds the senses, inviting the reading audience to think, talk, and return for more.
Carson Ingle is a sports columnist, reporter, TV & radio personality based in Orlando, FL. He is the host of The Rundown, a sports talk radio show 9-11 weeknights on AM 740 the Game.
Joshua is a native Floridian who holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from Flagler College in St. Augustine. He is a 2005 graduate of Middleburg High and currently resides in Lake City, where he current owns and operates FloridaHSFootball.com.
Today, Ali is the host of her own drive-time radio show in Orlando, called The Peek Hour with Ali Peek.
As a writer, his work has been featured on ESPN.com, ESPNFlorida.com, The Deseret News, The St. Louis Globe Democrat, Florida Panthers’ Insider Magazine, RISE Magazine, and The Central Florida Future Carson is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and a proud member of Knights Nation.
Mike Venditti Mike Venditti is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Upstate with a degree in Journalism and Music Business. He is an onair personality and the executive producer of Open Mike with Mike Bianchi on 740 The Game in Orlando.
Play|Sports Written By: Maureen Leister
In what order do you participate and value these concepts and activities? How do you feel about competing or having a family member compete? Generally, people like to say that family comes first. However, family is often forgotten when the “golden child” or aspiring college or proathlete begins to show promise. Suddenly, enjoying their sport for the sake of improving their own skills is overlooked. School is endured with just enough effort to keep the player eligible. Contribution to and participation in the family is forgotten as everything begins to rotate around the golden one’s sport. Family members too take on a level of status among their peers as the golden one’s ranking increases. Everyone seems to forget the family’s real function to nurture, teach and guide the child towards successful independence. I once attended a draft party for an expected first round NFL draft pick. He and his family were thrilled when the call came through. As soon as the celebration ended, he took off for the airport to meet the owner, general
manager and their press in his new team city. Everything was going great. He’d been handed his round trip tickets and then been driven to the airport by family. The flight was on time and smooth. Yet when he arrived no one was there to pick him up as planned. It was late at night and the team had decided to let him go directly to the hotel and they’d pick him up there the next day. At that point the young man frantically called his agent. He had no idea how to get himself from the airport to his hotel in a strange city; his college bus, high school coach or parents had always taken care of that. The agent spelled out the name and number of the hotel and told the young man to take a taxi. Ten minutes later the young man called back --- “how do you pay for the taxi?” He had never had to pay his own way before and had brought no money with him. Most people by the age of 22 are capable of preparing for a trip and taking care of their own needs. They’ve paid attention and learned the lessons needed from family and friends. Conversely, while working with a 30 year old man, he told me his dad was a person of few words who’d worked two jobs to keep his family
afloat. Dad had never had the time to play with him while growing up. He did, however, know his dad loved him because dad would get up before the rest of the family and take him to outdoor ice hockey practice. As the dawn came up, he’d sit in the car and watch his son practicing out on the ice. Then he’d drive them both home so the son could get ready for school and he’d head for his first job of the day. This went on three times a week, three months out of the year for several years. The son never forgot his dad’s sacrifices and valued it as he raised his own children. I’ve worked with high school athletes whose behavioral infractions at school or in the community have caused them to be sent for counseling. Often the problem behavior is described by the athlete as “no big deal”. Besides, nobody cares about the peer who they bulliedor pranked so why should they get punished? Often they believe all kids their age should be allowed to drink alcohol or smoke a little weed without being held accountable. They want to know how fast they can get through counseling so they can get back to playing their sport. They’ll know how not to get caught next time. Sometimes the athlete’s parents are frantic trying to control their arrogant, no-holds-barred child. Other times the parents rush to assure their teen that all will soon be well as the school principal, superintendent or judge was crazy and will pay for their mistake. There are parents who bully the team, coach or referee and parents who encourage participants, rally other parents together and provide grunt work as needed without demanding attention. Some adults push their child to live out the parent’s unfulfilled dreams. They are devastated when their frustrated child eventually sabotages their own performance or totally walks away from them or the sport.Some expect the child to provide for them when their sport achievement makes them financially successful. These parents are shocked when they discover their child learned the lesson “it’s all about me” too well. Some athletes are raised only to perform. They have few life skills or sincere close relationships.
These people struggle to live a “normal” life when they have to work forty weeks out of the year, manage their own budget and household, clean their own home, do homework with their children, interact daily with their spouse and children and get referred to as “mean old dad (or mom)”. When their athletic career ends, many times their relationship can’t stand the transition, especially with loss of status, reduced salary,and their spouse’s expectations,
and so ends in divorce. Occasionally, I have parents and children that believe being a rabid fan of a particular team or sport replaces family life and obligations. Their world revolves around the television (be it at home, man cave or sports bar), attendance at sporting events, arguing sports “facts” and opinions with peers and purchase of sports memorabilia. Families go to observe their team’s training camps and forget their idol is human and not centered on giving them an autograph at all costs. I’ve seen small children get shoved out of the way while the grown adult, who has given up his week of vacation to be in attendance, shoves an object to be scribbled on, into the idol’s face. This obsessive and intrusive behavior continues on the home front when there are other events requiring attendance (i.e. school, work, religious or community related) and finances or relationships are being sacrificed. Children are very aware dad is not attending their back to school night, awards ceremony or discussions with the teacher as dad’s team is being televised at the same time. Continued on pg12
“The crowd is hushed, heads shake with disbelief, tears stream, frustration mounts,
as fans and family members gaze at the disappointment seen on the scoreboard: 65 Visitors - 12 Home –
- out of the silence you hear “we’re number one,” on the sidelines of the home team whose dreams are dashed and any hope for a championship is gone, just gone – again you hear “we’re number one,” from a fan base that is less concerned about the numbers on the scoreboard, they just keep pushing through the agonizing silence with powerful school spirit – flips, tosses, turns, splits, pyramids and dance, reminding the crowd that they must celebrate the hard work and commitment of every player on their “home” team and they will remain number one in the eyes of the best ambassadors of the game – the CHEERLEADER,” describes Tracy Faison.
The Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference harness the power of these squads in bringing the energy to the crowd and invigorating the players to do their best.
Game Her Rules
Tracy Faison, a registered nurse committed to protecting the welfare of her patients, takes this nurturing into her other roles as Cheer Director, National Youth Cheering Certification, President, Lakeland Storm, and as a member of the governing board of United Football and Cheer.
“Fourteen years ago I got involved in cheerleading as a result of a very energetic four-year old daughter, and through the years I have watched a fantastic transformation in this field – to include being finally recognized as an intramural co-ed sport, offering its athletes the possibility of scholarships and gaining national recognition for being such a powerful element of any athletic program.”
The Conference’s website, http://midflorida. tigersix.com/, details their historic journey from inception in 1997 with founding member teams: Mulberry Panthers, Haines City Rattlers, Lake Wales Steelers, Winter Haven Warriors, Plant City Dolphins, and the Lakeland Eagles, to a robust and thriving membership in 2013 topping 285 Teams, in 58 Leagues, within 5 Divisions.
Her Game Her Rules The audiences in attendance have gone from a few hundred to as much as 60,000 at their annual Jamboree with family members, competitors, community leaders, media and admiring fans from across the state and the nationshowing their support to coach and players.
“We are so thankful for the support we receive from every member in the crowd, who knows and embraces our love for cheer, and our longstanding commitment to affording every child the opportunity to be a part of this community,” says Faison. “We never forget that the conference was created to offer an alternative to other conferences that use weight as a restriction to play football.
Mid-Florida offers every child a chance to play football regardless of weight.” This powerful recruitment tool of empowerment, self-confidence, and positive body image has some amazing athletic and social residual effects. Sisterhoods and brotherhoods are formed improving their lifelong outlook, problem solving capabilities and teamwork.
“These are lifelong lessons that not even the most well-authored book or prolific speaker can teach,” Faison shares. “So much of what they learn about themselves is a result of a sport that pushes them to their limit – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our 870 plus coaches, like any other sport embrace commitment to training and work from a platform of continuous pursuit of excellence – it is an expectation of the MidFlorida Football and Cheerleading Conference.”
With events throughout the state covering the 52 weeks of the year, the Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference, offers prospective sponsors the opportunity to gain exposure to a
group of enthusiastic consumers covering the I-4 Corridor, Gainesville, Fort Myers, and many other cities. One sampling of such an event, and a great marketing tool, is the upcoming October 19-20thCheer Off at the Lakeland Center with an expected attendance of more than 7,000.
“We are actively seeking sponsors to form a win-win relationship in helping us secure our programs for the long term by giving them a gateway to consumers readily seeking products and services that serve our market,” states Tracy.
Horace West of the Haines City Rattlers, the Conference’s first president, followed by two other presidents: Albert Bates of the Poinciana Predators, and Jack Dumond of the Lakeland Chargers, are dedicated to keeping the right focus on Cheerleading and Cheerleaders as servant leaders in their community.
They encourage every member to make a footprint in the community while showing their team spirit – it is a very holistic approach that will serve these young girls’ and boys’ ages 4 – 14 well into adulthood. The Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference recently partnered with HBTV Sports Network to assist in capturing their historic and ongoing events – assisting both the conference and its members in capturing these powerful moments and memories. H.B. Holmes, Founder and President of HBTV Sports Network say it best: “I am a product of collegiate sports and I fully understand and appreciate the life lessons the youth in the Mid-Florida Conference receive on a daily basis.
These lessons have served me well in as an entrepreneur.” Faison mirrors his sentiments with a simple statement-
“as our Cheer teams work to lift the spirit of others, they learn the best rewards come back to them as selfless ambassadors for their teams, their schools, and their communities, and Mid-Florida Conference would have it no other way – WE’RE NUMBER ONE!”
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Family Side continued
Work, Play and Sports will change dramatically over the course of a lifetime. The lessons from and connections to our family provides our anchors, good and bad habits and attitudes towards ourselves and the world. Maybe it’s time to look at how and if we balance family, work, play and sports, prioritize the needs (instead of wants) in each and set some goals. We only get one childhood, adolescence, young and then older adulthood, but if we focus on what the real priorities are one of each is enough. How do children think their work and needs are being valued in that home? What lessons are they learning?
Maureen K. Leister, LPC (804) 536-3884, Fax: (804) 706-1185 Ironbridge Counseling and Wellness Associates, Inc.
13 Class 14 Time for
Written By: Josh Wilson
The 2013 high school football season is here upon us once again and that means teams fighting it out through the season to reach the ultimate goal: A state championship. For teams and coaches, it is the time of year where all the hard work that has been put in during the spring and summer gets put to the test. For fans, it is the time of year where you get to see all the action of their favorite team and ultimately to see where that team might rank at when it comes to rankings.
Reclassification Before we dive into the top rankings in all eight classifications, letâ€™s take a look back at reclassification that just took place this past preseason. The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) every two years reclassifies teams based upon student enrollment of all its member schools. Once the enrollment numbers are compiled, the FHSAA evenly divides all of the member schools participating in football into districts based upon eight classifications. Do note that some schools do not participate in districts for football for a variety of different reasons. With reclassification for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, there were some exciting changes that took place with some teams moving up a classification or two, while others dropped down the same amount. No matter if a team went up or down, the matchups some of the districts provide are likely to provide some great games to watch during the season.
Looking at Class 8A to start with in the reclassification process, three of the most notable teams to join the ranks were Manatee, Fort Pierce Central and First Coast, in which all three were in Class 7A the past two seasons. Their move into Class 8A, helped strength this classification that includes 2012 defending state champion Apopka, Plant, Dr. Phillips, Miramar, Cypress Bay, Vero Beach and Columbus. Class 7A might have taken a slight hit with Manatee out of the picture, but it does not mean things are any easier for anyone else. Defending Class 7A state champion, St. Thomas Aquinas will be one of the teams keep an eye out for along with teams like Lincoln, Niceville, Fletcher, East Lake, Lakeland, Dwyer and Boyd Anderson to just name a few of the top teams making up Class 7A the next two years. The strongest of all classifications sits in Class 6A, where one of the top teams in the nation, defending Class 6A champion Miami Central, still resides at. Other teams top teams that give Class 6A such a strong billing include Gainesville, Miami Northwestern, Columbia, Miami Carol City, Miami Norland, Navarre, Lake Gibson, Largo, Venice, Naples, St. Augustine and Mainland.
Deep inside Class 5A some of the most notable changes include Yulee, South Sumter, Ribault taking the jump up from Class 4A, while the defending state champion for Class 5A, Godby, remains to defend its state title. Other top teams that help make up this classification include Wakulla, Immokalee, Miami Jackson, West Florida Tech, Jesuit, Pasco and Palm Bay. Inside Class 4A defending state champion Booker T. Washington out of Miami is another team high in the national rankings to start the season and will have teams like Madison County and University School join them in the classification this season. Other strong teams making up Class 4A include Bolles, Cocoa and Glades Central. Class 3A lost several of its top teams from last season including Madison County and University School, but there is still a strong plethora of teams. Those teams include Clearwater Central Catholic, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), Trinity Catholic and American Heritage (Delray Beach). Inside Class 2A, a lot of things look the same again and defending state champion University Christian, North Florida Christian, Glades Day, Warner Christian and Dade Christian are just a few of the top teams headlining the classification once again. Class 1A remains realtively untouched, with only Baldwin and The Villages exiting out of the classification with both moving up to Class 4A. Top teams surrounding the classification include defending state champion Northview, Lafayette, Union County and Trenton.
The Rankings preseason
Based upon my thoughts and research, I have come up with the top ten teams for Classes 5A through 8A and the top five teams in Classes 1A through 4A for the upcoming season. A lot of the teams that are listed are no surprises, but where they rank could be the thing that might surprise some, while others might not be surprised at all. The one thing to remember about rankings of any kind, is that they are always subjective in nature.
Class 8A 1. Apopka Blue Darters - Rick Darlington has now won two state championships with Apopka in two different stints with the school and his son Zack is one of the top quarterbacks in the state. Put the Blue Darters as a favorite to possibly repeat as a state champion this year. 2. Manatee Hurricanes – No Cord Sandberg at quarterback, but that might not mean much as Manatee could be a stronger team this season compared to last season. 3. Dr. Phillips Panthers – Dr. Phillips might be overshadowed by Apopka, but this team has been consistent in its presence on the field and is a big reason they are here. 4. Plant Panthers – Plant is lining up to field another strong team again this year and could be the biggest threat to the top three teams trying to make it to state championship game this season. 5. Cypress Bay Lightning – The Lightning would like nothing better to make it to Orlando again this season, but a crowded field in the south portion of Class 8A will make it a challenge once again. 6. Fort Pierce Central Cobras – The Cobras have been one team to expect in the playoffs and with several Division I prospects a return trip is expected again.
7. Sandalwood Saints – With the majority of the defensive starters back, including talented linebacker Kain Daub, the Saints should not have an issue making the playoffs. 8. South Dade Buccaneers – A strong turnaround last year for this squad has helped put them back in the limelight as a team to beat in South Florida. 9. Miramar Patriots – This one team that has become an consistent playoff contender and if everything gels right under the new offensive coordinator with a defensive that is usually tough, the Patriots could be back in the championship hunt. 10. First Coast Buccaneers – First Coast has become one of the most feared teams in the Jacksonville-area and again have quite of bit of talent that should keep them in the top 10.
Class 7A 1. St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders – The Raiders are one team that is always in the state championship picture and should have the talent once again to defend their state championship from 2012. 2. Osceola Kowboys (Kissimmee) The Kowboys with a K are back as one of the top teams in the state and would love nothing better this season to play for a state championship in their backyard. 3. East Lake Eagles – The Eagles drop down in classification, but the team looks very strong with a nice crop of Division I prospects and should be in the state championship hunt come late in the season. 4. Lincoln Trojans – While the Trojans might be younger than last year, there is no reason to be concerned right now as to what this team is capable of doing. 5. Dwyer Panthers – Despite not winning its district last year, the Panthers looked poised and ready to win it back this year. 6. Fletcher Senators – Thing have been running great for the Senators who look to make another deep playoff run this season.
7. Boyd Anderson Cobras – The Cobras are going to be a lot younger this year, but can the keep the course like they did last year? 8. Palmetto Tigers – The Tigers jump up from Class 5A, where they saw success in the playoffs, but with the weakness in their region of Class 7A, a deep playoff run might be possible this season. 9. Niceville Eagles – Niceville is looking up again and has several Division I prospect that should make some noise this year. A deep playoff run could be possible as well. 10. Lakeland Dreadnaughts – Hard to put a team that is usually towards the top here, but with the team being very young, this is a big reason they are here.
Class 6A 1. Miami Central – A new head coach is unlikely to derail the Rockets that have a 1-2 punch in the backfield with Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook.. 2. Lake Gibson Braves – Talent surrounds this Lakeland-based team and a deep playoff run would not be surprising come November. 3. Armwood Hawks – Some believe the Hawks will be a district runner-up again this year, but we think the Hawks have quite a bit of talent to say so otherwise 4. Columbia Tigers – Favorite to win their district, the Tigers have 10 starters returning that should keep the rhythm going. 5. Gainesville Hurricanes – Several top playmakers from last year’s state runner-up team are gone, but there is enough returning to help keep Gainesville in the rankings this season. 6. Venice Indians - Some people are sleeping on the Indians, but we are not, especially after shutting out Lakeland in its spring football contest. 7. Largo Packers – Much younger team this year, but the district is very favorable for another return to the playoffs once again.
8. Mainland Buccaneers – District is once again very favorable for Mainland, who looks to make the playoffs for the 20th straight season this year. 9. Naples Golden Eagles – Big shoes are having to be filled at several positions including running back and quarterback, but recent history shows how well Naples can do with what it has on the field. 10. Miami Northwestern Bulls – Tough schedule helped put the Bulls here, but the biggest question will is to see if the schedule makes or breaks them.
Class 5A 1. Godby Cougars – The defending state champion has a tougher schedule ahead this year, but with plenty of talent back, it should help Cougars in defending its crown. 2. Miami Jackson Generals – The Generals were a really young team last year that went to the state semifinals and is loaded even more for this season. 3. Lakewood Spartans – The team is loaded with plenty of talent and could be the biggest challenger to Godby deep in the playoffs this season.
scheduling some tough games should help the War Eagles become stronger during the season. 9. Dunbar Tigers – Dunbar has been a consistent winner over the last few seasons and we don’t expect that to change with the move up to Class 5A. 10. Bishop Kenny Crusaders – While several holes are needing to be filled to graduation losses, having quarterback John Wolford back will be a huge plus towards another winning season.
Class 4A 1. Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (Miami) – Nationally ranked to start the season, the Tornadoes are surrounded in talent that should help them get to Orlando for the third year in a row. 2. University School Suns – The 2012 Class 3A state champion makes the jump up to Class 4A and faces a tough schedule and a playoff road map to get to Orlando this season. 3. Cocoa Tigers – Always surrounded by talent, the Tigers should have no trouble to make another deep playoff run this season.
4. Immokalee Indians – Gone are some of the seniors and the head coach that helped the Indians get to the state finals last season, but there could be enough talent to help get them back to Orlando this season.
4. Madison County Cowboys – The Cowboys came close to winning the Class 3A state title last season, but now move up to Class 4A. A repeat trip to Orlando again would not be a surprise.
5. Pasco Pirates – Having been towards the top of possible teams in the state title hunt in the last few seasons, this year should be no different.
5. Bolles Bulldogs – Bolles should easily have another winning season again for the school that has won 11 state championships, but a crowded field in Class 4A could make it hard to get to Orlando this year.
6. American Heritage Patriots (Plantation) – The Patriots were a favorite among many to make a deep playoff run, but fell short. With Sony Michel back for his senior year, this could be the year for a deep run. 7. South Sumter Raiders – South Sumter makes the jump up from Class 4A and shouldn’t have a hard time transitioning to a district closer to home. 8. Wakulla War Eagles – This team is going to be a lot younger this year, but with
Class 3A 1. Clearwater Central Catholic Marauders – The Marauders made a deep playoff run this past season and with a lot of talent surrounding the team this season, the best chance to bring home the hardware is now..
2. American Heritage Stallions (Delray Beach) – The Stallions will have to fill some big shoes with Greg Bryant gone, but should not stop them from being state title contenders once again. 3. Trinity Catholic Celtics – Although the Celtics have been down since they won the Class 2B state championship in 2010, things are looking up for a deep playoff run this season. 4. Trinity Christian Conquerors (Jacksonville) – Trinity Christian has been one of the top teams in the Jacksonvillearea for many years and have another tough schedule that should prepare them well for the playoffs. 5. Tampa Catholic Crusaders – The Crusaders could have enough talent this season to make at least a deep playoff run and possibly a state title appearance, which would be a first since the 2009 season.
Class 2A 1. University Christian Christians– The Christians won their first state title since 1994 and there is plenty of talent that should help them get back to Orlando again this year. 2. Warner Christian Eagles – Tons of talent is surrounding this team once again and should be in the state title hunt once again this year. 3. Dade Christian Crusaders – While some of the talent that helped the Crusaders get to state last year are gone, things still look
pretty good for another deep run this year. 4. First Baptist Lions – After a strong showing in its first playoff appearance last season, the Lions are heading towards consistent top Class 2A team. 5. North Florida Christian Eagles – While the Eagles didn’t repeat as a state champion in 2012, things are looking up once again for a possible deep playoff run.
Class 1A 1. Northview Chiefs – Northview was the first northern Escambia County team to win a state title since the now-defunct Ernest Ward team did in 1979 and things look really great again for a possible repeat this year. 2. Trenton Tigers – The Tigers have some big shoes to fill including at running back to replace Cedric Stokes, there is still enough for a possible return to Orlando this year. 3. Union County Tigers – Despite having two perfect regular seasons in a row come to a crashing halt in the playoffs in the last two years, the Tigers are still a top team in the state to keep an eye on. 4. Lafayette Hornets – Despite losing several top players including All-State running back J.R. Bass, the Hornets should be talented enough to be a threat in the playoffs this year. 5. Liberty County Bulldogs – The Bulldogs looked poised to make another playoff run once again, despite having to fill in a major hole at quarterback this season.
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ho n o r i n g o u r
Student Athletes Written By: Josh Wilson
1. J.C. Jackson, Immokalee - Jackson literally exploded last season for Immokalee with his catching abilities and has become one of top prospects in the country. He is verbally committed to Florida. 2. Chris Lammons, Plantation - Lammons is very talented and uses his speed skills at quarterback and can also kick return. 3. Brandon Powell, Deerfield Beach - Powell has speed and hands to make plays and uses both at running back and cornerback. 4. Treon Harris, Booker T. Washington (Miami) - Harris can do damage either in the air or on the ground from his primary quarterback position. Harris verbally committed to Florida State.
3. Michael O’Connor, IMG Academy O’Connor comes to Florida this season and will play his senior year of football with the new upstart program, IMG Academy. O’Connor has shown improvements with athlethism and is verbally committed to Penn State. 4. Zack Darlington, Apopka - Darlington led the Blue Darters to the Class 8A state championship and is expected to help lead them to repeat this year. He is verbally committed to Nebraska. 5. D.J. Gillins, Ribault - Gillins transferred to Ribault from Eagle’s View Academy during the offseason and will be coming off an ACL injury that forced him to miss most of the 2012 season.
Running Backs 5. Ja’Von Harrison, Kathleen - Harrison is an all-around player and can mix it up between wide receiver and cornerback. Harrison is verbally committed to Virginia Tech
Quarterbacks 1. Quinton Flowers, Miami Jackson - Flowers is a tremendous athlete who led the Generals to the Class 5A state semifinals in 2010. 2. Sean White, University School - Was named MVP of the 2013 Elite 11 during Nike’s The Opening in Oregon and has made a verbal commitment to Auburn.
1. Sony Michel, American Heritage (Plantation) - Michel has been one of the top athletes in the 2014 class and has been talked about since his freshman year. He is verbally committed to Georgia. 2. Dalvin Cook, Miami Central - Cook is an explosive running back who has been part of a 1-2 punch of the Miami Central backfield. Cook is verbally committed to Florida. 3. Joseph Yearby, Miami Central - Yearby is the other part of the 1-2 punch for the Miami Central backfield and showed a lot of his talents off last season, including some time at quarterback. Yearby is verbally committed to Miami (FL)
4. Madre London, St. Thomas Aquinas London may not have had a big numbers year in 2012, but he has the skills to go far at the next level. 5. Tony James, Gainesville - James was a big factor as to why Gainesville made the Class 6A state championship game last season and he has the skills and athleticism to go very far at the next level.
Wide Receivers 1. Ermon Lane, Homestead - One of the top receivers in the nation, Lane could virtually go almost anywhere and he will be called upon to help lead his team this season. 2. Artavis Scott, East Lake - Scott has been one of the top targets for his quarterback to throw to and should have a big season once again. Scott is verbally committed to Clemson. 3. Johnnie Dixon, Dwyer - Dixon has the hands and speed to get down field and make the catches to win games. 4. Corey Holmes, St. Thomas Aquinas Holmes was instrumental to helping get St. Thomas Aquinas a state championship in 2012 and has been a favorite target of the quarterback. 5. Travis Rudolph, Cardinal Newman Rudolph is being counted on to help lead Cardinal Newman this season in what could be a tough 3A-7 district.
Tight Ends 1. Ravian Pierce, Plantation - One of the top tight ends in the state, Pierce has been targeted by a lot of major Division I programs in hopes to add his abilities to their program. 2. Marcus Mosely, Alonso - Mosely has been an overlooked player and in one game last
season was catching most of the touchdowns, which helps when in tight situations. 3. Dav’ion Riley, Lake Wales - Riley has been a factor for Lake Wales’ offense the last couple of seasons with his skills with Wisconsin and Miami (FL) up high on his list of offers. 4. Nick Nataro, Estero - Helped his team with playmaking skills make the playoffs last season and recently flipped his verbal commitment from Arizona to South Florida. 5. Alex Carswell, Strawberry Crest - Carswell had over 1,000 yards receiving and mixes up some of his playing time between tight end and wide receiver.
Offensive Tackles 1. David Sharpe, Providence - Sharpe has gone from unknown to one of the top offensive prospects in the country and has the size, strengths and attributes to contribute at the next level. 2. KcMcDermott, Palm Beach Central McDermott has shown as why he is one of the top offensive tackles with aggressive style of playing and protection each game. McDermott is verbally committed to Miami (FL). 3. Mason Cole, East Lake - Cole is a highly quality offensive tackle that has been using his size and strength to help lead East Lake. Cole is verbally committed to Michigan. 4. Trevor Darling, Miami Central - Miami Central’s winning ways on offense would not be complete without Darling on the line and being able to open up holes for the rushing attack the Rockets have. Darling is comitted to Miami (FL). 5. Benjamin Knox, DeLand - Knox can do a lot of different things overall as a tackle and is verbally committed to Florida due to skills.
Interior Offensive Linemen
(Guards and Centers)
1. Isaiah Wynn (OG), Lakewood - Wynn is a big force up front who has the skills and strength to give his quarterback protection and open up holes for the running back. Wynn is verbally committed to Georgia. 2. Corey Martinez (OG), Tampa Catholic - This big standout has risen up recruiting charts in the last year and he could be the force needed to help Tampa Catholic make a deep playoff run in 2013. Martinez is verbally committed to Florida State. 3. Montel McBride (OG), Plant City - McBride has risen up the carts as well and is a recent verbal to Alabama, which shows just how far he has come along with his skills on the line. 4. Travaris Dorsey (OG), Raines - Dorsey is a huge asset for the offensive line where he has helped protect his quarterback to having a big season in 2012. Dorsey is verbally committed to Florida. 5. Josh Allen (OG), University Christian Allen was a huge asset to the now-graduated Tim Betros having a huge season last year and is expected to contribute his frame and skills for another big season in 2013. Allen is verbally committed to North Carolina.
Defensive Ends 1. Chad Thomas, Booker T. Washington (Miami) - A big force in keeping defends at bay for Booker T. Washington, which has helped his team win the state title in Class 4A in 2012. Thomas is verbally committed to Miami (FL). 2. Denzel Ware, Crestview - Ware is one of the key players that will help Crestview rebuild and his size and athleticism should help along the way. Ware is verbally committed to Kentucky.
3. Trent Harris, Winter Park - Harris was attributes showed last season despite Winter Park missing the playoffs and that was enough for Miami (FL) to offer and landed a verbal commitment from him. 4. Mike Smith, Miami Northwestern - Smithâ€™s name has been rising during the offseason as a player to watch after having a strong 2012 season. Smith is verbally committed to Miami (FL). 5. Justus Reed, Clearwater Central Catholic Clearly a dominant force for his teamâ€™s defense last year, Reed could have a big explosive season once again. Reed is verbally committed to Florida.
Defensive Tackles 1. Travonte Valentine, Champagnat Valentine comes to Champagnat this season after being at Bayside for the last three seasons and gives Champagnat a huge boost to the defensive line. Valentine is verbally committed to Miami (FL). 2. Anthony Moten, St. Thomas Aquinas Moten was hugely instrumental to St. Thomas winning many big games last season including a huge upset over Manatee in the Class 7A State Semifinals. 3. Khairi Clark, Chaminade-Madonna - Clark is a disruptive player off the line and has been a huge asset to Chaminade-Madonna being a competitive team. Clark is committed to Florida. 4. Demarcus Christmas, Manatee - Christmas will be a huge senior leader this year for Manatee as he teaches the new members what it takes to help keep one of the best teams in Florida a winner. Christmas is committed to Florida State. 5. Adam Torres, Lake Mary - Torres skills led him to getting some nice offers and he is going to be called upon to lead Lake Mary through a tough district schedule this upcoming season.
Linebackers 1. Kain Daub, Sandalwood - Daub has everything you look for in a linebacker including the arms, height, speed and the ability make plays every chance he can. Daub is verbally committed to Florida State. 2. Dillon Bates, Ponte Vedra - Bates has been a dominating force for Ponte Vedra’s defense for the last couple of seasons and should have a huge season this year. Bates is verbally committed to Tennessee. 3. Jacob Pugh, Godby - Pugh is a big leader for Godby’s defense and and has everything as well that you look for in a linebacker. Pugh is verbally committed to Florida State. 4. Delvin Purifoy, Pensacola Catholic Purifoy has risen up on the recruiting charts with is play making abilities, something that allowed Pensacola Catholic to reach the Class 3A regional finals in 2012. Purifoy is verbally committed to Florida State. 5. Jaboree Williams, Fort Lauderdale Williams is a player who has been rising the charts quietly and could help the Fort Lauderdale program make the playoffs for the first time in a long time this season. Williams is verbally committed to Wake Forest.
Cornerbacks 1. Kendall Randolph, Lincoln - Randolph is aggressive as a cornerback and has the attributes to be able to play man-to-man and keep opposing receivers from doing what they have to do. 2. Nigel Bethel, Booker T. Washington Bethel has some amazing play making skills that included five interceptions last season. Expect big things from him this year.
3. De’Eric Culver, Godby - Culver is another leader and will help anchor the defensive backfield once again this season for the defending Class 5A state champions. 4. Mike Johnson, Countryside - Johnson has the abilities to make great plays when needed, but keeps low keyed when he does it. 5. Deatrick Nichols, Miami Central - Nichols’ size, speed and strength where keys to him being an asset last season for Miami Central’s title run. Nichols is verbally committed to South Florida.
Safeties 1. Trey Marshall, Columbia - Marshall is an outstanding safety who caused havoc for a lot of teams last season that were least expecting him to do so. Marshall is committed to Florida State. 2. Kyle Gibson, Armwood - Gibson will be the defensive leader this season and he has a love for hitting people with his size and strength that he brings with him. Gibson is verbally committed to Vanderbilt. 3. Deion Singleton, Godby - Again here is another Godby player that is in the tops of his position and is a big contributor to the defense. 4. Kendall Gant, Lake Gibson - Gant was the leading force of the defense that helped Lake Gibson go undefeated in the regular season in 2012. Gant is verbally committed to Georgia. 5. Michael Johnson, Champagnat - Johnson is one several key transfers that have come into to the program who has been rising up on the charts and should have some big stats this season. Johnson is verbally committed to Louisville.
State Championship Game Predictions
The Too Early Edition Written By: Josh Wilson
Some say it is way too early to make a state championship game prediction. However, I find it not only fun to do, it is to come back to at the end of the season, just to see how well these teams performed and to see how accurate we were when making these predictions. Here is who I think will actually make the state title game in each classification this year. (I am not going to call a winner in these predictions as strengths and weaknesses for teams can change from start to finish):
Class 8A – Apopka vs. Miramar
Class 7A – Niceville vs. St. Thomas Aquinas
Class 6A – Columbia vs. Miami Central
Class 5A – Godby vs. Miami Jackson
Class 4A –
Madison County vs. Booker T. Washington
Class 3A – Trinity Catholic vs. Clearwater Central Catholic
Class 2A – University Christian vs. Dade Christian
Class 1A – Northview vs. Lafayette
What is your
Brand? A brand is best defined by a word promise. The brand of product or service delivers a pledge of satisfaction and quality. For example: Gatorade it supplies and quenches your thirst. It gives your electrolytes to keep you hydrated. The ads show athletics working hard so they need a Gatorade to keep them working at a higher level. A service is a pledge of quality and satisfaction to the customer. Example: HBO network it delivers quality programming and shows and events that the consumer will buy to keep them entertained. The brand that I want to talk about is a brand that each of us has. Your Brand the one you display to your family, friends, fans, coaches and teammates. Itâ€™s the one you present every day of your life. The perception you relate to others example: The slogan I want to be like mike. Michael Jordan through his play on and off the court but youâ€™re not Michael Jordan you are your brand. The story starts in a recreational league on the field and on the court in a city or county you live in. Family, friends, and coaches are watching the way you play the game and the way you handle yourself off the playing field. Then you head to high school where you have a lot more exposure to fans, schoolmates, college coaches, local newspapers, Local TV sports, and other players in the area checking out your brand. The perception that you display to others can determine whether you continue playing sports in college or pro sports. If you are lucky enough to play college ball and play at a very high level you still will be building your brand to the fans coaches teammates pro scouts and your family. The way you handle your brand can help you get a pro contract but if you have problems such as attitude, low test scores, donâ€™t get along with your college coaches and teammates and people in the community. You can find yourself without a pro
written by: Dave Lowman
contract and having to go out and find a real job. If that happens you still can be successful because you have your college degree. I want to talk about an athletic that I know and how he built his Brand. It starts at a young age playing little league and recreational ball in his town. At the age of fourteen he was one of the best athletics he was playing before friends and family and traveling all over the country playing before friends, family, coaches, fans and college coaches. The key to this athletic was the way he developed his skills. In the classroom the way he treated other and on the playing field, he was the first one at practice and the last one to leave. This made him a leader to the rest of his teammates. This lead to over 200 colleges vying for is signature on a letter of intent to attend their school. He signed with a major division one school. He became a star and everyone wanted to be his friend. Despite all the fame he stayed true to his brand and he kept a high level of work on and off the field. After four years he got drafted and signed a big contract and headed to his pro team. He stayed true to his brand where he got huge endorsements for example: Car, Shoe contract, and Athletic drink contract. He played for ten years in the league and got elected to the pro sports hall of fame. By staying true to his brand he became a spokesman for companies speaks to schools and events.
We all need to remember the way we play and treat others on and off the playing field can determine how bright your brand shines to others to see... remember perception is reality.
“Since its beginning in 1936, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) has matured to a full-fledged powerful organization. High school coaches all over the state can point with pride and say, ‘I am a member of FACA.’” This pride was highly evident during a recent sit down interview with FACA’s current Executive Director, Coach Shelton Crews who, after 25 years of teaching and coaching in Florida, was thrilled to take the helm of this “coaches and athletes” first organization. By H.B. Holmes, Jr.
proud to be a
According to Coach Crews, “this organization is here to help our coaches in three key areas: clinics, provide exposure, and gain recognition and appreciation for their hard and heart work, commitment, and on some days 24-hour dedication, to their field and those kids.” With a membership surpassing 5000, FACA is the advocate that remains steadfast in meeting the needs of its Coaches. “Changes in technology, shifts in values in today’s young athletes, ongoing demands in personal and professional lives of our coaches, are some of our immediate concerns,” states Crews. FACA is determined to help coaches stay focused on the factors that impact their programs: safety, training, academic performance, fundraising, and the personal growth of their athletes.
is loaded with envious incentives to include one million dollars of liability coverage with each individual membership which comes at a minimal fee, conferences focusing on skills improvement and networking, as well as exposure to the masters of the game. For example, during their recent Summer Clinic: Football, Cross Country, Golf, Cheerleading, Volleyball & Swimming, held in Daytona Beach Florida, they had the rare opportunity to interact with and learn the successful training methodologies of the highly respected Super Bowl winning Coach Tom Shaw. As one of the many highlights for several attendees, Shaw shared his deliberate training approach to improve overall athletic performance with a focus on speed and agility. Attendees had nothing but praise in the form of, “wow,” “awesome,” “extremely helpful,” and the “timing couldn’t be better, since training starts in a week.” Coaches across all fields represented had nothing but praise for the workshops and interaction that took place over the three day event – many expressing “it only keeps getting better.” Supporting FACA were several vendors updating Coaches on the latest products in clothing, shoes, helmets, supplements, data collection portals, training equipment, marketing ideas, as well as getting immediate feedback from Coaches on their emerging needs.
Coach Crews is determined to be the voice of his members,
pushing ahead with key initiatives and agendas that strongly message to every Coach
that the organization is their out-front leader filtering distractions that remove their focus from the game, while being an effective gatekeeper getting them access to those invaluable resources that ensure optimal performance for them and their athletes.
I’m excited about what this means for families and friends who may not be able to attend and communities and hometowns that can celebrate and participate in every game whether at home or visiting an opponent.”
One of those resources is media access – allowing broadcasting of their games to gain sponsorship and more importantly showcase their program and their athletes. During the Daytona event HBTV Sports Network was officially signed on as the Official T.V. Network of FACA. Coach Crews enthusiastically stated,
H.B. Holmes Founder and CEO was equally ecstatic in how this partnership further increases community support of its athletic programs – “we are here for the long haul, determined to assist FACA in continuing in its zeal to get visibility to its programs. Through this vehicle, revenue is generated, membership increased, and exposure is given without compromising the integrity of the athletic programs.”
“This is a win-win for this organization and its members to know they now have their own venue to broadcast their games to a statewide and national audience.”
FACA’s website http://www.floridacoaches. org highlights numerous benefits for their coaches, upcoming events, online membership applications, history of the organization, and a recurring theme throughout: regardless of successes, failures, wins, or losses – they are determined to be right as the Coaches advocate.
He continues, “This shows our organization is forward thinking and investing in the longterm – our coaches don’t have to fight for face time on cable or other media outlets, HBTV is online and accessible 24-hours.
Bowden Every once in a while, a
Legend of the game by Ali Peek
writer is given the opportunity to speak to someone that has really impacted his or her own life in a very significant way.
the sport. In an era where men thought to be pillars in the college football community are crumbling right and left, Coach Bowden stands tall as a man that did things the right way.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak to one of my childhood heroes; former Florida State head ball Coach Bobby Bowden. To me, he represents everything that is right about
I always respected what Bowden was able to accomplish on the field for the Seminoles, and feared the fits he gave my Florida Gators. But what I admired most was what
he worked hard to instill in each of his players off the field. Coach Bobby Bowden shaped countless boys into men for 57 years and his footprint can still be found all over the game that he loves.
Coach Bowden is one of the reasons I love college football and one of the reasons I wanted to cover the sport. There is literally no one I would rather talk with about the changing landscape of college football. This man has seen it all. For years, I have read articles and interviews with Coach Bowden and always admired the fact that he never
subscribed to the political correctness that is so prevalent today. He never caved to media pressure. He didn’t change the way he approached the game to please anybody else. I have always wondered about Bowden’s philosophy on discipline. As a gator, I’ve heard whispers about Bowden’s unwillingness to kick players off his teams. The rumor was always that he needed those guys, criminals or not, to win ball games. But knowing what I do about the kind of man Coach Bowden is, I knew that couldn’t be the whole story. Right now, there is no denying that college football has an image problem. Every day, the newspaper is filled with stories about arrests, drug usage, poor academic performances and entitled attitudes. Every media pundit, fan and blogger in the country has an opinion on where the root of the problem lies, and how to fix it. But, with all due respect to fans and the media, very few, if any of them have been on the inside of a major college football program for six decades. The man that has can offer a unique perspective on the issues facing college football today. The first thing that stands out about my conversation with Coach Bowden is that he doesn’t think the problems we are inundated with on a daily basis when we turn on the four letter network, are anything new. “ The exposure now is so great, you know? Well, for instance, everybody has a camera. Don’t do anything wrong now, somebody’s going to film it. We
see that happening all the time. We didn’t have that 15 years ago.” And Coach Bowden is right. With the emergence of technology like cell phone cameras and the Internet and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, word travels 100 times faster than it ever has before. Coupled with the fact that the news cycle is now literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the days of committing a crime or even just acting foolish and getting away with it are gone. Not only is every man, woman and child with a cell phone or a computer now an investigative reporter, but even law enforcement is getting in on the action. College towns across the country buzz with talk of police officers that take pride in taking down local college stars. That’s a far cry from what it used to be like for Coach Bowden. “In the past, I know when I first started coaching, usually the law, the policemen, would try to help you. I remember when I first started coaching, when one of my kids got in trouble, the police would come to me and turn him over to me and really try to protect him. It maybe didn’t even get to the press. But that has all changed. Everything that happens now is exposed and exposed quickly, which probably makes it worse; it looks a lot worse than it did 30 years ago.” While the good old days of police officers just calling up head coaches
instead of arresting players are definitely gone, Bowden’s approach to “saving” his players remains the same. But, don’t believe the hype about Coach Bowden not being a strict disciplinarian. “A lot of people would think, well Coach Bowden, he don’t kick them off the team. He tries to save them.” Bowden took a long pause, gathering his thoughts on how to explain himself.
“I tried to save them but I did discipline them. Kicking them off the team isn’t the only way to discipline a guy.” And once again, Coach Bowden is right. In world looking for knee-jerk reactions and punishments meant to teach “entitled” college athletes harsh lessons, Bowden hasn’t waivered. Does he believe in discipline? Absolutely. But, as he explained to me, rarely did he think kicking a player off his team was the way to teach a lesson. Keeping the player on his roster wasn’t to benefit the team. It was to benefit the player. “I always tried to discipline them without losing them. Because if I lost them, I thought, okay here they go, back out on the street. Then they will end up worthless. I tried to give them a second chance if I could.” Bowden and I talked a great deal about what the rest of the world sees verses what is really going on
worth does more harm than good. “Discipline them without losing them,” is what Bowden did best.
in a locker room. He believes that many coaches across the country are disciplining players for their transgressions behind closed doors. Not to benefit the program, but to save the player. “A lot of times a coach will discipline a kid and don’t tell the press why or don’t tell the press what he is doing. But, he’ll discipline him. He might make him get up every morning at 5am and make him run laps or the stadium steps or things like that. A lot of that never makes the public eye.” No missed games? Bowden also has an alternate explanation for this as well. No, its not because the Coach wants to win at all costs. Again, the reasoning circles back around to saving the player.
The great debating raging in college football right now is how much responsibility for players’ actions falls on the head coach? The opinions are widely varied. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer recently deflected blame for Aaron Hernandez’s indiscretions, claiming it was dangerous to hold anyone but Hernandez accountable for his actions. Florida’s Will Muschamp countered by arguing that the head coach was one hundred percent responsible for his players’ actions. Coach Bobby Bowden’s answer falls somewhere in between.
“You can say a coach is responsible just like the Mother and Daddy are responsible. You know, the Mother and Daddy have one child or 5 children or 6 or 7. But the coach has got 100, so when you are dealing with that many people, there are always going to be some that step out of line. You couldn’t take 100 of anything without somebody stepping out of line. A coach is responsible to do his best to talk to his kids and try to guide them in doing what’s right instead of what’s wrong. But again, the players have to make the decision for themselves.” Having spent time talking with Coach Bowden, I can see why so many parents felt comfortable handing over their sons to him. His plan to win didn’t just include x’s and o’s.
Bowden believes that some of the most troubled players have low self-esteem. The one place that they feel good about themselves? The football field. Bowden believes Winning for Coach Bowden included that many times, taking away the teaching boys to be men, and saving a one thing that gives players self few along the way.
Athlete Spotlight Roderick Guinyard Striving for
Excellence By: Mike Venditti
In the sports world we are constantly provided with examples of triumph and perseverance in the face of unspeakable adversity. From Jon Lester to Mark Herzlich to Eric Davis, we are forever reminded of the amazing things that a person can accomplish with the right mindset and support system Jon Lester broke into the Major Leagues with the Boston Red Sox in 2006, and
was beginning to show that he had the potential to grow into a dominant force for the club. Late in the summer of â€™06, Lester was experiencing back pain, and was sent to team doctors. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkinâ€™s anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. Just over a year later, in October of 2007, Lester pitched in Game 4 of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies. He earned the win in that decisive game, clinching the World Series Championship for the Boston Red Sox. Mark Herzlich was in the middle of his final offseason at Boston College and coming off a season in
which he made a major splash in the college football scene. In May of 2009, Herzlich announced that he had been diagnosed with Ewig’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, which surrounded his entire left femur. Herzlich was then signed as an undrafted free-agent by the New York Giants and just before Super Bowl XLVI tweeted this:
“2 Years ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in the #SuperBowl
Cancer” The Giants went on to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, and Herzlich went from being given a 10 percent chance of surviving his cancer, to being a Super Bowl Champion. Eric Davis was a long time MLB star for the Cincinnati Reds, in 1997 he joined the Baltimore Orioles and began his season on fire. In late May he decided to sit out a few games due to stomach pains. After those few games, the pain hadn’t gone away. Davis was diagnosed with colon cancer. Soon after the diagnosis, Davis underwent surgery to remove the cancerous part of his colon and began chemotherapy treatments. He wasn’t expected to return to baseball. In September 1997, while still undergoing chemotherapy, Davis returned to the Orioles and went on to contribute to their deep playoff run that season. Amazing stories like these are not exclusive to professional athletes, nor to athletes in general, but in a society that is currently dominated by sports, these stories show through and provide us with true role models for generations to come. With charities like the Jimmy V Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer partnering with major sports corporations like ESPN and
Major League Baseball, the funding for cancer research has reached incredible new heights. Thanks to the support given to these charities, stories of survival continue to pop up all over the World, as well as stories of athletes returning to the field and rising to new levels of greatness.
Roderick Guinyard has given us another one of these truly inspiring stories. Roderick is a football player and track and field athlete at Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Florida. He is hoping to attend the University of Florida after high school and wants to play football for the Gators. He also has aspirations of the NFL, but has decided he will become a doctor if that doesn’t work out. By all accounts, Roderick is a normal 16-yearold high school kid, except for one thing… he is a cancer survivor. When Roderick was just 13-years-old he was diagnosed with fibro sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that originates in the connective tissue found at the ends of bones. Even worse, this cancer was found in his left jaw. Already invested in athletics, Roderick said he was “emotionally shocked” when he was told that he had cancer, but remained “pretty calm.” He credits his family’s support, especially the never ending support of his mother Sabrina Battle, with helping him stay calm in such a terrifying moment for such a young man. “I knew I was going to be able to play sports again, but I knew I had to take it slow to get back.” Roderick said. “I had to take everything one step at a time.” It is hard to imagine being told at such a young age that you have cancer. The amazing part of this story is Roderick’s ability to seemingly transform from a child to a grown man in an instant, and find the power to not only overcome such a devastating
disease, but persevere through everything and return to doing what he loves most. Since his diagnosis, Roderick has gone through roughly thirty radiation treatments and had his left jaw bone removed and replaced with a bone from his right leg. Through all of the pain, all of the anguish, Roderick stayed strong. He kept fighting, taking everything in stride and dreaming of the day he would run out of the tunnel at the Swamp in Gainesville, or onto an NFL gridiron. He kept looking to his teammates, using his natural abilities as a leader to inspire them while inspiring himself at the same time. “I had to stay strong for them too,” Roderick said of his teammates and friends. He refers to them as family. The power of sports, and his will to return to the field, kept Roderick on track. While lots of people look to the stories of Jon Lester and Mark Herzlich, Roderick has his own story to draw from. Of course athletes like Lester and Herzlich, among many others, are inspirations for many young cancer patients around the world, but Roderick had found a way to inspire himself so as to not need other stories to feed off of.
“I just make my own story.” Roderick said when asked about if he knew these stories. He went on to say he, “pushed myself, because somebody’s story might be different than mine.” He has a point. Jon Lester and Eric Davis had already reached the major leagues when they were diagnosed with cancer. Mark Herzlich was a star linebacker on a major Division 1 football team. All three of these men had hundreds of people directly involved with their team, and millions of fans across the country behind them as they battled cancer.
Roderick lives in the small town of Cocoa, Florida and is one of just 17,147 people who reside there. He didn’t have a staff of University or team provided doctors and surgeons. He didn’t have a slew of coaches, trainers and fans pushing him to regain his spot on the field. Roderick had his family, his friends and his dreams and now his cancer is in remission, but that hasn’t stopped his drive. Since his hard fought battle with cancer, Roderick has returned to doing what he loves. He plays running back and wide receiver in football, and still participates in track and field. He will be participating in both of these sports this fall as a freshman at Cocoa High School.
The story of Roderick Guinyard is one of perseverance. As with many other athletes before him, Roderick’s ability to rise above adversity and continue to push on and become the absolute best at whatever he decides to do. Stories like his will inspire countless generations of young children who have been diagnosed with such an awful disease.
What’s Roderick’s message to others? “That’s easy: Don’t ever give up. Just keep striving for excellence. God has the last word, it’s not what the doctor says, it’s what God says.”
Separation By: Carson Ingle
Those three words amount to a slogan, sampled from Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens two years ago by Plant High School’s four time state champion head coach Robert Weiner. When selecting it as a motto to guide his football team, Weiner had no idea how much it would symbolize his own journey just a few years later. With that phrase he challenged his squad to find out what separated them both individually and collectively from the rest. The 2013 offseason however became an internal battle for Weiner to show what his “point of separation” was. The big leagues came calling, Division 1 college football that is. His hometown team, the USF Bulls had an exciting new coach, Willie Taggart, and an open job to coach wide receivers. It was the opportunity that any coach, especially one coming from the high school ranks, would dream of. Weiner quickly accepted and delivered a heartfelt goodbye to his Plant family in which he, by his own admission,
could not last over a minute without tearing up. Seeing the emotionally wrought Weiner’s one person present remarked, “I hope Willie Taggart has a backup plan because that guy loves his kids.” That random face in the crowd would prove to have prophetic powers as later that night, doubt about his true mission crept into the coach’s head. “I called my mom and I said do you ever recall me saying I wanted to be a college football coach,” said Weiner. “Why am I pursuing something that maybe someone else’s dream, but is not mine?” “Here I had a BCS, full-time position job in my hometown as my first college job,” continued Weiner. “Of corse, the thought at the time was, what high school coach would not want that? If there is 99 out of a 100 that wouldn’t want it, I’m probably the one in the end.”
Weiner shocked many in the football community with his about-face back to Plant. Another emotional meeting waited with his team that was almost left behind. While some might expect anger or frustration to be the initial reaction for these high schoolers, relief was the common denominator on the roster. “It meant the world,” said current quarterback Colby Browne. “He just liked us too much to go to college. It was really special. It really made our team’s relationship and my relationship with him much tighter to really understand how much he cares about us.” Things were smoothed over with USF and Taggart.
Weiner first arrived in 2004 after 15 years as an assistant at his alma mater, Jesuit, he had just 32 players to work with. Plant had not seen a winning team in over a decade. Despite the obstacles, Weiner entered the scene with unbridled optimism. “The success was here at Plant waiting to be made. There is excellence here. When we got here, we saw there was a great opportunity.” To set the tone for what would become one of the most dominant programs in the country, Weiner walked the school hall to do what he says has been the only kind of recruiting he has had to do as a head coach. It was a tough sell in those initial weeks. The first roster Weiner had did not even want to wear their jerseys around on game days, but Weiner had a simple blueprint for the foundation that needed to be laid.
The Bulls coach acknowledged at the time they knew how hard it would be to pry Weiner away. The job at hand for this Tampa high school sports institution was yet again to help his team find what separated them from the fray. It was not always known what would make Plant Football stand out. When
“We really put an emphasis, I know a lot of people talk about this, but we don’t give it lip service, on character development. We came in and made sure we had the people we want.” In the hallways that first year, Weiner found Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy was striving to be the valedictorian and a standout wrestler. The new
coach found him to be one of the most outstanding young people he had met and a possible cornerstone. McCarthy was just one of a handful of guys persuaded to come give the football team their own identity and in 2005 set a county record with 24 sacks. “It was a matter of making football cool again,” said Weiner. “Getting people who were prominent in the school, not just for athletics, but who they were.” A 3-7 first year for Weiner was followed by 9-3 and a playoff victory in year two. Season three was the true breakout with an undefeated season, culminating in the first state title. Three more state crowns would follow giving this man who never even played a down of football the most of any Bay Area coach in the modern era.
Finding his professional point of separation that way was never something expected or preordained by Weiner. He was a student manager under Tampa legend “Wild” Bill Minahan. When Weiner returned home after college, Minahan, then Jesuit’s athletic director gave him a career choice. He could be an assistant coach for Dominick Ciao in football or head up the cross-country program. Unassumingly, he sauntered out to the football practice field on day one wearing a bright red polo to coach the navy blue and white dominated Tigers. He was a little lost, but would find his way with guidance from Minahan and Saio. “I don’t think that there was ever a time when I said (I want to be a coach), but the most influential people in my life have been coaches,” said Weiner.
He has come a long way, now eschewing college overtures to remain at a place he built into a premier job. Weiner has sent four quarterbacks to play in college, including Georgia star Aaron Murray, and with an offer from Georgia State already, Brown could be number five. “He’s the best guy,” said Brown. “You just want to run through a wall for him. He can make anyone a great quarterback.”
From those first 32 in 2004, Brown was one of close to 300 this fall trying to make either the varsity or junior varsity squads. As the Plant players enter 2013, they were given a reading assignment, The Dip by Seth Godin. Weiner describes the plotline as about “trying to be the best in the world at the thing that is important to you.” Fittingly, that is a lesson that Robert Weiner has already learned.
as mentioned on WebMd | By Jeanie | WebMD Feature | Reviewed byKathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
With the help of these nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, we’ve put together a list of the “best of the best” heart-healthy foods. The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. 1. Salmon
7. Red wine
Omega-3 fatty acids.
Catechins and resveratrol (flavonoids).
Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve “good” HDL cholesterol.
2. Flaxseed (ground) Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens. Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods -- yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
3. Oatmeal Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber.
8. Tuna Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin. Here’s lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep “Salad Spritzer” - a light dressing -- in your office fridge.
9. Tofu Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
10. Brown rice
4. Black or Kidney Beans
Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber. Give soup or salad a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
5. Almonds Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable monoand polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Mix a few almonds (and berries) into lowfat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
6. Walnuts Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber.
11. Soy milk Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens. Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
12. Blueberries Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber. Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too -- for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber.
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber.
Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. Itâ€™s a pretty side dish.
Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber.
Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
15. Broccoli Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber. Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrientpacked blends.
20. Tomatoes Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
16. Sweet potato
For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.
Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber.
21. Acorn squash
Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
17. Red bell peppers Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber. Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautĂŠed spinach, pine nuts, and raisins.
22. Cantaloupe Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!
23. Papaya Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
24. Dark chocolate Resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids). A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
25. Tea Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids). Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.
Your Guide to Nutrients in Heart-Healthy Foods Phytoestrogensare substances in plants (like flaxseed) that have a weak estrogen-like action in the body. Studies suggest that flaxseed lowers the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. It may also help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure. Phytosterols are plant sterols that chemically resemble cholesterol -- and seem to reduce blood cholesterol. All nuts and seeds, including wheat germ, have phytosterols. Carotenoids are heart-protective antioxidants in many colorful fruits and veggies. Alphacarotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are carotenoids. Polyphenols are another set of antioxidants that protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol. Flavonoid polyphenols include catechins, flavones, flavonols, isoflavones, resveratrol, and anthocyanins. Non-flavonoid polyphenols include ellagic acid (found in all types of berries). Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon) andalpha-linolenic fatty acids (found in plant foods like walnuts) help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. They also increase good HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are antiinflammatories, and lower blood pressure. B-complex vitamins -- like Vitamin B-12 (folate) and vitamin B-6 -- protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Niacin (vitamin B-3) helps increase HDL “good” cholesterol. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium help lower blood pressure. Fiber-rich foods help lower cholesterol levels. HBTV SPORTS SPOTLIGHT DOES NOT CLAIM ANY LEVEL OF EXPERTISE OR ENDORSE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. WE ARE COMMITTED TO PROVIDING A HOLISTIC APPROACH FOR OUR READERS AND PROVIDE THIS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.
HBTV Sports Network
Signs 3 Year Contract With
Florida Southern College
LAKELAND, FL, September 5, 2013 - HBTV Sports Network has announced they have entered into a 3 year agreement with Florida Southern College (FSC) as their Official Broadcast Network obtaining the Exclusive Rights to produce and distribute several regular season games and other sporting events. A Press Conference was held Friday, September 6th at 9:00AM in the Lions Conference Room (6th Man Club) on the Florida Southern College campus in the Jenkins Field House.
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Published on Feb 24, 2014
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