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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Adam Stegeman doesn't tolerate disobedience on or off the field, illustrated by last week's mass benching.
By SCOTT PURKS
Published September 6, 2006
TAMPA - In two weeks, Freedom admittedly has gone from overconfident to despondent to disjointed to - and the Patriots insist this is the case - focused.
"Before the first game (against Wharton), we thought nobody was going to beat us," Freedom quarterback Andrew Carr said. "But did things ever change after that (a 36-0 loss to the Wildcats)."
That's when coach Adam Stegeman said it was time to "lay down the law." As in: miss a practice or don't make your grades or cause problems at school "and you won't play."
True to his word, Stegeman sat seven players for disciplinary reasons during Friday's 21-3 victory over Sickles.
"They were all on the sideline not dressed," said Stegeman, who on Tuesday had plans to have all the players back for Friday's game against Wesley Chapel. "I think it got their attention.
"I could see that if we didn't get this discipline thing down now we were going to pay for it in the future. ...
"We have a lot of talent on this team and I want to make sure we get the most out of it. I told our guys the old Vince Lombardi saying, 'Winning isn't a sometime thing, it's an all-the-time thing.'
"And by that I meant we need to have a winning attitude all the time: on the field, in the classroom and in life in general."
Carr said he and the team have taken the first two weeks to heart and he believes the lessons have been learned.
"That first week wasn't just a loss because it made us sick," Carr said. "In a way I think it's good though because it did happen in the first week of the season and it wasn't a district game.
"It woke us up. All this has woken us up."
Stegeman noted that team captain Matt Patchan - a 6-foot-7, 265-pound junior offensive and defensive lineman who has been offered scholarships by several Division I schools - missed Friday's game against Sickles because of an injury and not because of disciplinary reasons.
Stegeman said he expects Patchan to play against Wesley Chapel.