Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
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.
Although still a young program, Hernando Christian has begun to show signs of progress.
By DAVID MURPHY, Times Staff Writer
Published September 28, 2007
[Keri Wiginton | Times]
Hernando Christian head coach David Raley, center, in his first season at the helm, helped former coach Steve Johnson start the program four years ago and stepped in when Johnson resigned.
Which is the only undefeated FHSAA-sanctioned high school football team in Hernando County?
A Nature Coast
Sorry, it's a trick question.
The answer is Hernando Christian, that small, private school tucked away on Emerson Road. Sure, the Lions wouldn't have a prayer against any of the county's four public schools. But their progress is worth charting.
Four years ago, Hernando Christian's program was so new, the school didn't have a practice field. Players such as Corey Drummond, Stephen Johnson and Clay Kessler practiced on a patch of dirt beneath the towering power lines that run in front of the school.
"Our nickname was 'The Powerline Kids,'" Kessler said.
Now Kessler is a junior, and his team is 2-0 for the first time. True, the schools HCA has beaten aren't exactly Notre Dame and Michigan - sorry, bad example - but the fact remains: The Lions are undefeated.
"The kids are growing up," athletic director Mike Drummond said. "We've got some kids around the program who were the young guys three or four years ago who are now the seniors and are stepping up and making play."
Well, they aren't quite seniors. Hernando Christian only has two of those this year. But they are more talented than they've ever been.
"This year, I think we have the strongest team we've ever had," said Kessler, a junior running back/wide receiver.
Credit much of that to David Raley, the Bible-totin', scripture-quotin' son-of-a-son-of-a-preacher man who is in his first year as head coach. Raley helped former coach Steve Johnson start the program four years ago and served as assistant head coach for the team's first three seasons. When Johnson resigned after last season, Raley stepped in.
On Sundays, Raley preaches at New Life Assembly in Trilby. During the week, he runs a food bank and coaches football.
"My father and my grandfather were preachers," Raley said.
But coaching is in his blood. He started in the youth leagues while attending Auburn University. Later he moved on to stints at public high schools in Jacksonville and Pensacola.
When he moved to Brooksville 10 years ago, Raley thought his coaching career was over.
Then HCA started a program.
"I know what we are," Raley said. "I've coached public school. But for the kids, this is a lot of fun."
Now HCA has a practice field. It is in its first season playing under the lights at Ernie Weaver Park for the program's first three years, it played afternoon games on campus). It has two talented transfers from Hudson High: quarterback David Rotteveel and lineman Josh Romeo.
Most of all, it has legitimacy.
"I think it gives us credibility with the media and obviously the community," Drummond said. "There is something about America and football and the pageantry of high school football."