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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.
Some prep football observations from last Friday, and a glimpse of the games ahead.
By JOEY KNIGHT and SCOTT PURKS
Published October 11, 2006
DOWN, BUT FAR FROM OUT
Hillsborough is 4-3, the worst record the Terriers have had after seven games in coach Earl Garcia's 14 seasons.
Hopeless? No. Frustrated? Definitely.
"We're not used to losing," said Garcia, who has averaged almost nine wins during the regular season during his tenure. "What we're trying to do is put things in perspective."
Perspective includes these facts: 1) Hillsborough's losses have come against three of the state's best teams - Armwood, Jefferson and Plant - by a combined 24 points; 2) Hillsborough is in a rebuilding phase, starting 11 new offensive players, only two of whom are seniors; and 3) The Terriers remain 2-0 in Class 4A, District 11 and can reach the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years with wins against 0-7 Tampa Bay Tech and 3-4 Freedom.
"We still control our destiny," Garcia said. "And these kids do keep getting better. By season's end we should be much better and by then we just might do some damage (in the playoffs).
"Right now, though, we're concentrating on our next game (Thursday at Tampa Bay Tech). After our seven games this year we're not taking anybody for granted. No way."
GAME WEEK STARTS ON RIGHT FOOT
A year after losing 14-13 to Wharton on a missed extra point, Gaither began its game-week preparations for Friday's rematch with - you guessed it - extra-point work.
Pure coincidence, Cowboys coach Mark Kantor insisted. "This is what we do every Monday," he said.
Okay, we'll give him that. But if you think the Cowboys have forgotten about last year's devastating loss, we'd like to sell you some 2006 Bucs playoff tickets.
"A one-point game, anything that close you always want to come back and beat'em the second time you play'em," Cowboys junior linebacker Mike Whitescarver said. "It definitely plays a big part (in terms of motivation), at least for me."
...AND SPEAKING OF GAITHER-WHARTON
From a defensive perspective, this Class 5A, District 5 showdown easily could be dubbed the "Shutout Bowl." Both teams blanked their respective opponents last week and enter their matchup with seven combined shutouts (Wharton four, Gaither three).
Just don't expect any scoreboard goose eggs Friday. Gaither comes in averaging 29.8 points, slightly higher than Wharton (27.1).
THEY SAID IT
"I tell you what, that guy, he never lets up on those kids for one minute. They know every nuance of being a wide receiver, from route running to catching the ball to getting upfield to blocking." - Plant coach Bob Weiner on Panthers receivers coach T.J. Lane, a former Jesuit High standout in the mid 1990s. Seven Plant receivers have at least 100 receiving yards.
- JOEY KNIGHT and SCOTT PURKS, Times staff writers
With three regular-season games - and, more than likely, two or more playoff games - remaining in his prep career, Stephen Garcia remains in hot pursuit of Hillsborough County's record for career passing yardage and touchdown passes. In Friday's 25-7 victory over Robinson, Garcia finished 17-for-31 for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Statistics through Week 7 of this season:
GARCIA, JEFFERSON: 6,934 yards, 69 touchdowns
KENNY KELLY, TAMPA CATHOLIC: 7,949 yards (1993-96)
MARCELLO TRIGG, ROBINSON: 82 touchdowns (2002-05)
*Information gathered from official school records.