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Spotlight on: William Floyd Colonials

Hometown: Mastic Beach, New York

Group: Section 11, Division

 

 

 

 

 

By Jimmy Oliver

FootballPower.tv Correspondent

 

Like the Atlantic Ocean waves that continually batter the nearby shores of Mastic Beach, N.Y., William Floyd (State PR: 75.38, Rank: 15) has been pounding opponents into the turf time and time again.

 

Just in the past decade alone, the Colonials have quickly proven themselves to be one of the top teams on Long Island – and perhaps the state – and the proof is there for all to see. 

 

Since 2004, the Colonials have produced a whopping 44-1 overall record, which includes three consecutive Long Island Championships. The mark is one of the most impressive stretches by any football team in Long Island history.

 

Currently, William Floyd is in the midst of a 34-game winning streak, 38-straight home victories and 41 consecutive Suffolk Div. I regular season wins.

 

The streaks truly are unprecedented in Long Island high school football history.

 

And it’s apparent that the Colonials are already a dynasty still looking to change the record books. And so far this season, Floyd has shown no signs of a regime change.

 

Thus far in ‘08, the squad is off to a 3-0 start after giant wins over Lindenhurst, Longwood and Sachem East -- by a combined score of 80-34.

 

Meanwhile, the reigning champions are keeping the streak alive this season thanks to a multi-faceted attack. The Colonials are winning games both in the air and on the ground, despite a relatively inexperienced core due to heavy losses from graduation and injuries.

 

Steven Murphy leads the way as a first-year starter at quarterback and is proving to be capable of leading the team into the endzone.  Helping to unload the burden on Murphy is highly touted running back Vaughn Magee. The senior has been dynamic early on and has put up consistent, superior play, including a 100-yard performance last week against Sachem East and a 100-yard second half effort versus Longwood.

 

And while the ’08 version of the Colonials may not be as dominating as the ’07 squad (which produced an average margin of victory of 35 points per game), the team is still finding a way to earn victories, even in a tough and balanced division. 

 

It’s also evident that head coach Paul Longo is not afraid to go with what works and play to the strengths of his players. 

 

The Colonials are currently one of many teams that have instilled the spread offense, and have done so to great success. But Floyd and company have shown the ability to adapt when adversity strikes.

 

During the squad’s recent 24-15 win over Longwood, many of the team’s passes were contained early and not gaining much offensively. So, instead, the squad implemented a power running game and quickly rattled off 154 yards on the ground in the second half en route to the win.

 

Meanwhile, the Colonials were up to their old tricks this past weekend against Sachem East, as the squad put up 42 points in convincing fashion, with 20 of those points coming in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. Magee accounted for three touchdowns in the game to help the Colonials clinch their 34th victory in a row.

 

And so while this may be a different Colonial team compared to the last three undefeated squads, one thing remains certain. The Colonials continue to put up wins, add to their unprecedented total and then plan on being part of the Long Island championship game for the fourth time in four years.

 

Next up: Friday, October 3 at Patchogue-Medford (State PR: 49.00, Rank: 62).

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight on: Summerville Green Wave

Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina

Group: SC Class 4A

 

 

 

 

By Ryan Rohde

FootballPower Correspondent

 

 

 

His name is legendary around the Palmetto state. South Carolina named a day after him in 1977 and Harry Truman was even president when he began his current profession.

 

One might wonder who might warrant such an impressive resume: perhaps a politician, an actor or humanitarian? Actually, it's Summerville (State PR: 65.88, Rank: 21) head football coach John McKissick.

 

558 wins, 10 state titles, and 30 regional championships later, McKissick still patrols the sidelines for the Summerville Green Wave. Now embarking in his 57th season at Summerville, McKissick is the winningest football coach at any level.

 

McKissick’s coaching career actually commenced in Clarkton, North Carolina, where he was hired as the head football coach not knowing it was a 6-man program. In reality, he knew very little about 6-man football, so he read a book about it and soon lead his team to a 7-2 record – all while coaching the boys and girls basketball teams and the baseball squad.

 

Understandably, he only stayed at Clarkton for one year.

 

Then in the summer of 1952, McKissick applied for head coaching position at Summerville. The job was open after the Green Wave won two state titles and the previous coach moved up to the college ranks. McKissick won the job over some highly qualified coaching candidates and clearly, the decision paid off, and not just on the football field.

 

The 82-year-old is known as a father and even grandfather figure around the South Carolina city of around 30,000.

 

"I think the most important element of coaching is teaching the kids how to be successful; that it takes hard work; that it takes perseverance; to keep trying,” said McKissick in a recent article by Alan Ross of AmericanProfile.com. “In football, you get knocked down a lot; in life, you get knocked down, but you’ve got to get back up."

 

The Summerville athletic program has honored the long-time coach by naming a college scholarship after him. This scholarship is awarded to the football player who does not receive an athletic scholarship, but exemplifies what John McKissick preaches in the classroom and on the field.

 

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 players have heard his message during his 56 years of coaching.

 

"John McKissick is a life-lesson coach," said Billy G. Baker, who has known the Summerville coach for 35 years and is the co-author of two books with McKissick, Called to Coach and Called to Coach II.

 

What may be even more amazing than his records or accomplishments is that all 3,000 plus athletes that came out for the Green Wave earned a jersey. The living legend has never cut a player that has come out for the team in all of his years of coaching.

 

And he has kept that mentality since day one.

 

Perhaps the reason the athletes keep coming out is that he keeps the game as easy as possible.

 

“The game is so simple - all it is tackling, running and blocking,” said McKissick in a recent NFLHS.com article by David Krider.

 

And that is exactly what McKissick does these days; he keeps everything simple.

 

After the Friday night games, he and his wife head straight to their beach house for the weekend, travel back home on Sunday and then starts preparing for the next week’s game. That is the legend’s routine.

 

If you ask any regional experts or coaches, they too would say that his routine works just fine.

 

Next up: October 3, 2008 vs. West Ashley (State PR: 53.02, Rank: 30). 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight on: John Curtis Patriots

Hometown: River Ridge, Louisiana

Group: LA Class 2A

 

 

By Omar Muhammad

FootballPower Correspondent

 

 

There are thousands of high school football programs across the nation that likely dream about having one legendary coach during their tenure.

 

But for the John Curtis Patriots, they’ve actually had two, and believe it or not, they’re father and son. 

 

John T. Curtis, Sr. started his own dream in 1962 when he erected John Curtis Christian School from the ground floor in tiny River Ridge, Louisiana. 

 

With five children and a loving and devoted wife, he soon became the “father” of many students that walked through his doors of his school.  After Curtis Sr. stepped down as head coach of the Patriots in 1969, his oldest son John T. Curtis II took the reins and kept the winning tradition alive and moving forward. 

 

Since he commenced coaching several decades ago, Curtis II has earned extraordinary honors by winning 424 games. He trails only Summerville (S.C.) head coach John McKissick, who has tallied 529 victories in his brilliant football career.

 

Perhaps even more amazing is that Curtis has accumulated those numbers with just a student body total of 305.

 

Meanwhile, the achievements attained have been nothing short of incredible. Curtis has won nearly 90 percent of his games, coached 21 state championship teams, sent 160 players to college on scholarships and 11 have entered into professional football.  

 

Today, Patriots football is still a family affair.

 

Curtis’ brother Leon is currently the defensive coordinator has been a key assistant since 1971. The staff also includes two of John’s sons (John III and Jeff) and three of Leon’s sons (Steve, Preston and Matt).

 

The only non-relative is Mike Robertson, who has been offensive coordinator since 1976.

 

Altogether, the Curtis family coaching timeline has extended over 40 years, and looks to extend into the fourth generation with John III’s six-year-old son John T. Curtis IV.

 

During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, as Curtis’ coaching career began to take off along with his state and national powerhouse, many parents in the region even started sending their children to play for Curtis due to his resume and his terrific rapport with his athletes.

 

Now, Curtis is just the second coach in high school football history to reach over 400 wins.

 

But not only has Curtis been a tremendous coach and teacher, but in some cases, a one-of-a-kind mentor off the field. 

 

Recently, Curtis came to the aid of one of his players Joe McKnight and his entire family when Hurricane Katrina forced him along with his mother and his brother from their home.

 

Curtis invited McKnight and his family – in addition to two other displaced players in Darryl Brister and Jonathan English -- to live with him and his wife. 

 

And in the Curtis household, everyone carried responsibilities.  As reported in the 2006 November issue of Sports Illustrated, Curtis gave the players chores, including garbage duty, dishwashing and laundry.

 

"It's been an adjustment for the guys," Curtis said. "They don't want to make it look like they're the teacher's pet."  McKnight, who has a nonexistent relationship with his father, said Curtis "put me in a stable household; he's made a really big difference in my life." 

 

Since the program’s inception, it’s clear that the main ingredient towards success is that family comes first.

 

There is no doubt that without a family affair being present at John Curtis, this storied program would look vastly different than it does today.

 

Next Up: Saturday, October 4 against North Miami Beach (State PR: 68.82, Rank: 25).

 

 

 

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Spotlight On: St. Xavier Bombers

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Group: Ohio Division I

 

 

 

 

 

By Andre Coles

FootballPower.tv Correspondent

 

 

Saint Xavier Athletic Director John Sullivan believes that Bombers Football is more than just accolades and achievements. 

 

“At St. Xavier, we believe the goal of games is to win, while the goal of athletics is to grow," says Sullivan.

 

 

Clearly, Sullivan understands the true meaning of athletics for the young adults at St. Xavier.

 

“Our program’s mission is very simple: Strive for the magis (for the greater glory of God) in everything we do,” Sullivan said. “Our goal is to produce championship caliber young men that understand that winning is more than who scored the most points at the end of the 4th quarter. Ultimately, we want our young men to be better people when they leave the St. Xavier football program than when they arrived.”

 

With those ideals in place, the Bombers football program, headed by a superior head coach in Steve Specht, has undoubtedly produced productive members of society, and at the same time, top-notch athletes who have risen to the elite ranks in sports.

 

Currently there are 38 former Bombers on college football rosters with 14 of those individuals being from Specht's undefeated state championship squad of 2007.

 

Meanwhile, Rocky Boiman and Lamar Marshall also represent the Bombers in the National Football League.

 

And with a coaching staff that believes in the school mission and preaches it every day, it’s no wonder that the Bombers have been at the top of an elite list in Ohio football.

 

The program also has a very capable leader in Specht. The former Bomber is in his 14th season with the team and his 5th as the head coach.

 

In an interview with Danny Hotochin of USAFootball.com, Specht outlined his passion for coaching and the mentors who helped teach him valuable lessons along the way. That passion merged with the positive influences in his life, and the mantra of the athletics department, has a direct effect on the program today. 

 

“I know I wanted to coach when I was in high school,” Specht said. “I had the good fortune of playing under some great coaches. My coaches had a direct impact on my passion for the game.”

 

Among those coaches is current Florida head coach Urban Meyer, who was once Specht’s secondary coach.

 

All the while, Specht is quick to point out that perhaps his biggest influence came from former Bomber head Steve Rasso, who is a current member of the Ohio High School Football Hall of Fame. 

 

Says Specht, “I learned an awful lot from him about football and an awful lot about life. When I talk about my football philosophy as far as teaching, these kids about football and life -- that’s what Rasso did for me.”

 

Specht appears to have taken what he has learned and kept the tradition of Bombers football in full stride.  Overall, Specht owns a 43-5 overall record and boasts two undefeated state championship teams and back-to-back appearances in the highly competitive Ohio vs. USA Challenge.

 

Meanwhile, this year’s squad is off to a tough start in comparison to seasons past.  The ‘08 Bombers are currently 3-3 with losses to three of the toughest teams in the country: Colerain (OH), Trinity (KY) and Elder (OH). 

 

It should be noted that the Bombers play one of the nation’s toughest schedules, with opponents spanning across five states and wins already against three very difficult opponents in Prattville (AL), Indianapolis Cathedral (IN) and Don Bosco Prep (NJ).

 

Indeed, St. Xavier is still among the Greater Catholic League's elite. There is no doubt that Specht and the Bombers – with four games left in the regular season to earn a playoff berth – will seek to do their best, all while striving for magis along the way.

 

Next up: October 3, 2008 at La Salle (State PR: 50.92, Rank: 70).

 

 

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