Among the county's best, these guys are golden

By Scott Purks
Published February 8, 2007

TAMPA - For the 50th consecutive year "Golden Helmets" were passed out to Hillsborough County's top football players.

And ... the winners were:

CLASS 5A-6A: Wharton running back Joel Miller took the honor after rushing for more than 1,200 yards and helping lead the Wildcats to an 8-2 season.

"Joel was a guy who didn't like being told he couldn't do something," Wharton coach David Mitchell said. "When he was told he couldn't do it, or wasn't able to do it, Joel just got that much more determined. He proved a lot of people wrong and became one of the best players in the county."

The Citadel appears to be at the top of Miller's choices for colleges.

CLASS 3A-4A: Jefferson quarterback Stephen Garcia wasn't on hand to receive his award because he already is enrolled at South Carolina where he's working out with the team.

Before Garcia left Jefferson he set Tampa Bay area records for career yardage (8,018) and touchdowns (83). As a sophomore he led the Dragons to the Class 4A state final before losing to Jacksonville Bolles.

"Stephen's place in county history is set," Jefferson coach Mike Fenton said. "He will be missed very much for a lot of reasons."

CLASS A-2A: Berkeley Prep's Colin Boss was easily the largest winner, coming in at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds. Boss also signed a national letter of intent to play at Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday, a place, he said, "I absolutely loved. I can't wait to get up there and get started."

COACH OF THE YEAR: Plant's Bob Weiner won after leading Plant to a 15-0 record and the Class 4A state championship, beating Ponte Vedra Beach Nease 25-21 in the state final.

In Weiner's three years at Plant, the Panthers have improved from 3-7 to 9-3 to perfection in 2006.

"It was truly a dream season," Weiner said. "Everything just came together."