Varsity football keeps playoff hopes alive

Kate Caranante, Sports Editor

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Holding hands as they walk onto the field, junior defensive backs Christian Maxie and Matthew Rogero get ready for the game. The varsity football team fell 38-3 versus Armwood High School in the second game Friday, August 23.

In the past 16 seasons, the varsity football team has won 14 district titles, four state championships and two runner-up finishes. However, this season the team currently has a record of 0-5.  

They have lost their last five games to teams that either made the playoffs last year or are nationally ranked.  

This team has had to respond to a lot of adversity,” head coach Robert Weiner said. The end result of that is still unwritten, so we’ll wait and see how that turns out.”  

Despite their record, the team still has a chance to make the playoffs and contend for a state title since they have not started district play. The team looks to keep two streaks alive as they have won 14 straight district titles and have not lost a district game in that stretch. 

We have a great group of guys, and I’ve never lost faith as they’ve continued to fight the good fight, Weiner said. “The main thing is that all of our real goals, in terms of winning the district and being able to move on in the playoffs, are still in front of us. 

Their first district game is Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Dad’s Stadium versus Steinbrenner High School. This game will likely decide the Class 8A, District 7 title. 

The biggest thing for us is to stay positive, senior quarterback Tucker Gleason said. “When you’re 0-5 that’s kind of hard, but you always have to look on the bright side of things and there always is a bright side of everything.” 

Earlier this week, the team received news that Weiner had been suspended for six games by the FHSAA after self-reporting violations. He has an appeal pending, but in the meantime, he cannot coach at the game but is still able to coach practices. In absence of Weiner, defensive coordinator Greg Meyer will step in as interim head coach at game time.  

As far as managing the game goes, it’s going to be easy simply because of all the infrastructure already in place from Mrs. Winter and Ccach Weiner, Meyer said. “With this, everything is structured so well and runs so smoothly that I don’t see it being difficult from a logistical standpoint.”  

Meyer was previously the head coach at Plant City High School before taking a position as an assistant on Plant’s staff.  

I think managing the kids’ emotions and the overall flow of the game is my focus with it,” Meyer said.  “It’s really about keeping the kids locked in and trying to shutout all the distractions. 

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