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Largo players still winners

A Times Editorial
Published December 12, 2007


The tears shed by members of the Largo High School football team Friday night were an indication of how hard they had tried to win. Their hearts were in the game, and losing the dream of a win was almost more than they could bear.

When the game ended Friday, Largo blue had lost to St. Thomas Aquinas' gold and the scoreboard read 35-13. What hurt so much was not that they had lost the game, but that the dream of winning the state Class 5A championship would not come true.

Coaches try to get their players not to think about the end game. They tell them to just focus on each week's opponent. It doesn't work, of course, especially when each week brings a victory, records are broken, and the numbers in the win column keep rising while the number in the loss column stays at 0. Oh, the Largo players worked hard to prepare for each opponent, but in the back of their minds was the vision of hanging the state championship banner in Largo High School.

Although the dream evaporated on the field Friday night, the Largo players are not losers. They were winners all season. Their record proved it.

They were winners Friday night, too. Just look at the ways.

They brought the state 5A semifinal game to Largo. They made St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale come to them, Largo High, a place some people who follow state high school football thought would be easy to dismiss.

They packed the Largo High stadium for arguably the biggest night of high school football Pinellas has seen in at least a decade. They were the toast of the town the entire week before the game.

When the game began, the Largo team - undersized, underfunded, under-recognized - stormed the field, unafraid of Aquinas, a physically larger, better-funded powerhouse in Florida Class 5A football. At halftime, Largo had the lead, Aquinas was worried, and the crowd in the stadium was having a whale of a good time.

And then there was the second half.

Largo's players didn't give up, but their inexperience at that level of competition caught up with them and they suffered from the pounding and the warm temperatures. Limping, bruised and exhausted, they still kept trying.

And that effort, not the score, is the measure of their success.

Congratulations to the players and the coaches for a winning season from beginning to end.

[Last modified December 11, 2007, 22:39:31]

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