Last Friday, Blake High School won the latest chapter in its longstanding rivalry with Middleton High School, downing the Tigers 40-34.
The six-point victory marked just the third time in 10 years that Blake ended up the victor in this rivalry, and the first for new Head Coach Darryl Gordon. After taking a late lead on a five-yard touchdown run by running back DeAndre James, Blake sealed the victory with a last-second interception.
The final score also sealed a special accolade for Gordon, who on Thursday was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' High School Coach of the Week for Week Six of the 2012 season.
“I put my trust in James,” Gordon said, regarding the game-winning score. “He’s one of the fastest guys in Hillsborough County and I said, ‘I’m going to put the ball in my best tailback's hands versus whatever Middleton brings.’”
Gordon was invited to One Buccaneer Place to receive his award and he was accompanied by James, linebacker Javon Kitchen and linebacker Richard Newton. The group enjoyed a tour of the Buccaneers’ state-of the art training facility and were then invited to watch practice. During the visit, they were greeted and congratulated by Head Coach Greg Schiano, who presented Gordon with a Coach of the Week certificate, an embroidered hat and a $1,000 donation towards the school’s football program.
As important as football is to his players, Gordon believes education is paramount to their success.
“When you say the word student-athlete, the word student speaks for itself,” Gordon said. “You let the players know they are students first. I want to see each kid every game, and that lets me know they are doing what they need to do in the classroom.”
The Buccaneers will honor 10 high school coaches from Central Florida during this year’s prep football season. A Coach of the Year, who receives an additional $1,000 for his football program, will be selected from the 10 weekly winners at the end of the season. The Buccaneers and the National Football League’s Coach of the Week program aids in the development of youth football, which has a positive influence on young athletes and the communities in which they live.