tampabay.com

Suspensions sideline 3 Central players

By DAVID MURPHY
Published November 3, 2005


The Central football team will be without three offensive line starters for its final game, and the wrestling squad could be without its top heavyweight for the entire season.

Juniors Joe Marty and Joey Homan and senior Andy Leavine were suspended from school prior to the Bears' win over River Ridge on Friday night. Their suspensions run through this week, meaning they will miss the football finale against Nature Coast Tech.

Leavine, meanwhile, said he likely will transfer at the end of the fall semester.

Though he said the move wouldn't have much impact on his football future (the 6-foot-6, 289-pound offensive lineman is a potential Division I player), he likely would miss the wrestling season. Leavine last year was an honorable-mention all-county selection and made Central's regional tournament as a heavyweight.

Bears wrestling coach Alan Solomon said he was aware of the situation but did not think Leavine's decision to transfer was definite.

"It would be a major loss to me if he did," Solomon said. "He was only a few steps from states last year."

Leavine declined to get into specifics about his decision to transfer, saying he didn't want to be a distraction to the football team. He admitted that Friday he and his two teammates "pulled a prank" and were given weeklong suspensions.

"We did something stupid," Leavine said without elaborating.

Over the weekend, Leavine went to coach Greg Bigham's house to apologize. Neither player nor coach went into specifics about the conversation, but Leavine said that afterward he talked with his parents and some former coaches and decided that his best option was to transfer.

Leavine's mother lives in Pasco County. He lives with his father in Spring Hill. Leavine said his dad is setting up a meeting with the School Board this week. According to Florida High School Athletic Association rules, the only way Leavine would be eligible to wrestle at a new school is if he won a hardship request.

As a football player, Leavine has received interest from Central Florida, South Florida and Duke, though no one has offered him a scholarship.

Bigham said he was not aware of Leavine's intent to transfer.

Central was minus four offensive starters in Friday's win.

Running back DuJuan Harris, who injured his groin and missed a practice during the week, wasn't in the backfield but did play on defense. The Bears trailed River Ridge 13-0 but scored 30 unanswered points for a 30-13 victory.

"It's disappointing," Bigham said. "But you move on."