Building the perfect season

By Times Staff
Published August 25, 2006

The morning was still gray and a few of the players still had sleep in their eyes when they converged on Flagstone Pavers on Cobb Road in Brooksville a few weeks ago. The sight was one to behold: five area football stars in full uniform and pads dodging fork lifts and flats of brick as they carried their helmets through the yard toward Times photographer Will Vragovic's set-up.

The looks they drew from the workers were priceless. So, too, was the end result. The theme of this year's preview is "Building a Program," and nobody will deny that players like these - Central's DuJuan Harris, Nature Coast's Josh Ortiz, Hernando Christian's Corey Drummond, Hernando's Robert Smith - are the bricks and mortar of any successful program.

But it is equally undeniable that coaches in this county face challenges that are different than schools in some of the more recognizable hot beds in the state: the Panhandle, Hillsborough County, Miami-Dade and Jacksonville, among others.

So we sat down with the four public high school football coaches as well as Hernando Christian Academy's Steve Johnson to discuss their varying philosophies on building a successful program in the area. Their perspectives vary: from an out-of-towner like Nature Coast's Jamie Joyner to a home-grown coach like Cliff Lohrey, who was raised in Citrus County and played for long-time Crystal River coach Earl Bramlett. But in the end, their goals are the same.