St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

4,000 miles to make a dream come true

A walk-on from California who grew up an FSU fan gets the thrill of his life: a series as Seminoles QB.

By ALEX ABRAMS

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000


TALLAHASSEE -- Stephen de la Motte had been hoping to wear a Florida State jersey since he saw Charlie Ward on television when he was 11.

The native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., not only suited up for Saturday's game against Duke, the freshman walk-on played nearly the entire fourth quarter as quarterback for his beloved Seminoles.

Who would ever have thought?

With backup Marcus Outzen suspended for his involvement in a fight Friday night, coach Bobby Bowden opted to play de la Motte, the fifth-string quarterback, rather than to waste a year of eligibility for scholarship players Chris Rix and Jared Jones.

"I have always wanted to play at Florida State since I was a kid," de la Motte said with a huge smile. "Tonight was a dream come true for me."

With 9:36 left in the fourth quarter of FSU's 63-14 win, de la Motte replaced Heisman Trophy candidate Chris Weinke in the backfield. The 18-year-old threw two passes, completing neither.

The story of de la Motte as an FSU player started in 1993 when he sent coach Bobby Bowden a letter, explaining how badly he wanted to play for the Seminoles. That correspondence made them pen pals, which blossomed into a player-coach relationship.

"I'd write to (Bowden) every season," de la Motte said. "I'd even tell him about how my baseball season was. He'd write back to me and say that he was glad that I was interested in Florida State."

Hailing from central California, de la Motte decided to go to college 4,000 miles away in Tallahassee to try out as a walk-on quarterback. He even told offensive coordinator Mark Richt that he was willing to be a ball boy, just as long as he could be a part of the team.

The freshman did not collect the footballs during Saturday's game. He instead was throwing them to the team's wide receivers.

"It was awesome to walk out onto the field for the first time," de la Motte said. "I was just trying to stay focused."

"Like I told him downstairs, "Who would have ever thought it?' " Bowden said. "That's one of the great things about football."

Saturday might have been the last time de la Motte sees playing time during a game for another two years. Saturday night was his night, however, as his childhood dream became a reality.

It was seven years in the making.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Bucs

  • D falling short on its guarantee
  • An early start in Germany
  • Finding faith in himself
  • Dungy searches for answers
  • Bucs chat
  • Experiences benefit Quarles
  • Baseball

  • Clemens' 1-hit gem sends M's to brink
  • Mariners almost came south
  • Reed rocked early
  • Selig has faith in Rays
  • Showalter: Can anyone say neurotic?
  • Highs and lows for New York
  • Hubert Mizell

  • Rex gives QB-starved Gators life
  • Mizell's mailbag
  • College football

  • Rexceptional
  • FSU rolls over Duke
  • College football this week on TV
  • College football around the nation
  • College football around the state
  • Bad memory raised for Bowden
  • 4,000 miles to make a dream come true
  • FSU sideliners
  • Team defends Swamp's honor
  • UF sideliners
  • Brown finally lives up to expectations
  • Deaths noted on helmets but kept out of minds
  • Irish reign over Navy
  • Lightning

  • Lightning facing crucial test
  • Mara & Co. no pushover
  • Motorsports

  • Talledega becomes a Daytona tuneup
  • Truck series driver Roper dies after crash
  • Five to watch
  • Sports Etc.

  • St. Petersburg Open left legacy
  • Sports briefs
  • Times tosses bone to NHL fan
  • Iverson vs. Rocker: You make the call
  • Baseball briefs
  • Highs and lows
  • NHL briefs
  • Dallas coach won't dance around issue
  • Slap shots
  • Local sponsor gambled on luring PGA stop and won
  • Classic is crucial to some
  • France rid of cancer
  • Captain's corner
  • Age-old contrast shows in MLS Cup
  • Feral pigs provide a wild hunt
  • 1998 winners repeat Ironman performance
  • Citrus, Central earn wins
  • College basketball briefs
  • Class of the county
  • Tampa Bay top 10
  • Plant, Durant win conference titles
  • Olympic Heights wins tourney
  • Eagles win Lake Gibson title
  • Around the county
  • Keswick pours it on in win over IRC
  • NFL games
  • Beltway rivalry heats up a notch


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts