Lecanto coach Dick Slack wouldn't trade Terence Hollis for any player in the county - and for good reason.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001
LECANTO -- Terence Hollis fell in love with football when he was 2.
He even has proof.
"There's a picture of me doing a linebacker stance," Hollis said. "I just love to play. I always have. I've been playing ever since I could walk."
A senior running back/linebacker at Lecanto, Hollis is, without question, his team's most valuable player and spiritual leader. With him, the Panthers get the complete package. A talented player with heart.
"From the time he got here, he's been a 100-percent kid," Lecanto coach Dick Slack said. "He gives you everything he's got and he expects the people around him to do the same thing. He's a competitor. When the game's over, it's time to start working on the next one. He's the kind of kid coaches love."
At 5 feet 7, Hollis isn't an imposing figure.
"Some people look at me and don't think much of me," Hollis said. "The big guys think they can knock me on my butt, but there's a saying: Dynamite comes in small packages. I use that to my advantage."
Height isn't everything.
At 170 pounds, Hollis can bench press 285 pounds. He's also one of the Panthers' fastest players.
"He uses every ounce he's got," Slack said. "He plays a lot bigger than he is. He's got natural ability, but he's also a hard worker, which is a rare combination. He has an undying commitment and an unquestioned loyalty. He understands the importance of work ethic, which is what will make him a winner in life. He's not afraid to work."
On a team that struggled to an 0-10 finish in 2000, Hollis was one of Lecanto's few bright spots. He led the team in rushing with 535 yards and three touchdowns, was its top defensive player and also shined on special teams, all of which helped him land a spot on the Times All-Citrus/Hernando football squad.
No other Lecanto player earned that honor.
"He really seems to be the heart and soul of their team," Citrus coach Larry Bishop said. "He's been there in the good times when they made the playoffs (in 1999) and in the bad times as well. His fortitude is to be commended."
Hollis began making an impact in the ninth grade, when he earned playing time as a part-time starter. He became a full-timer the following season as Lecanto went 5-6 and reached the playoffs for the first time in school history.
Last season, Hollis did everything asked of him, but there was only so much he could do. As the season progressed, losses piled upon losses and players dropped like flies, leaving Lecanto with 17 players and no wins.
"I still had fun," Hollis said. "I love the sport too much. It's like a big family out here. Losing isn't everything and winning isn't everything."
Last year is yesterday's news.
This fall, Hollis hopes to lead a Lecanto turnaround. Slack believes Hollis has the talent and leadership skills to make it happen.
"His level of play at practice and in games sets a standard, and the other kids feel guilty if they're not working as hard as he is," Slack said. "He's not the kind of kid that berates people. He leads by example. He's willing to do the work and not talk, and not brag. I wouldn't trade him (for any player in Citrus County). He's a guy you hang your hat on."