Leesburg Jackets Trample Winter Park 46 to 0, Page 1, Wednesday, November 12, 1961, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
Leesburg Jackets Trample Winter Park 46 to 0, Page 1, Wednesday, November 12, 1961, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
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Leesburg Jackets Trample Winter Park 46 to 0, Page 1, Wednesday, November 12, 1961, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
Leesburg Jackets Trample Winter Park 46 to 0, Page 1, Wednesday, November 12, 1961, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
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1997 Leesburg Yellow Jackets Football Archives

Carver Heights Quarterback Club, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida
Leesburg Yellow Jackets vs Umatilla Bulldogs, High School Football Game

Coaches Launch Into Kickoff

Coaches Relish The Chances Tonight's Kickoff Classics Afford Them To
Try Out Their Teams And Study The Opposition.

August 29, 1997|By Joe Williams of The Sentinel Staff
Orlando Sentinel
Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 10:08 a.m.

The football programs at Leesburg and Umatilla high schools don't have much in common.

Yes, they share the same school colors and run the same offense, but that's about as far as the
similarities go.

In fact, the two schools have not even played each other for at least 20 years, maybe longer.

''Somebody said there was an Elks Bowl back in the 1940s, and that was the last time we played, but I
don't know,'' Umatilla coach Bill Gagnon said.

That ends tonight when Class 3A Umatilla is host to Class 5A Leesburg at 7:30 in one of three Kickoff
Classic preseason football games involving Lake County teams.

In the other games, 4A Tavares travels to 5A South Lake, also for a 7:30 contest, and 4A Mount Dora
travels to Marion County to face 5A Belleview in an 8 p.m. game.

Though these are preseason games, coaches are attacking them like regular-season affairs.

''We put a lot of emphasis on it,'' said Gagnon, whose team lost its final five games last year. ''We know
it is a Kickoff Classic but we haven't won in a while and we were one game shy of .500 last season.
We want to get on the right track from the start.

''If we play hard and lose, I can live with that. If we don't play hard, the kids won't be able to live with me.''

The game also marks the fall debut of new Leesburg coach Bud O'Hara, who is in the midst of a
rebuilding project with the Yellow Jackets.

In addition to evaluating talent, O'Hara will also evaluate how his players handle different situations
during the game. One of the areas he has been concentrating on in the fall is improving the mental
toughness of his team.

The game will feature a matchup of Wing-T offenses.

The difference is that Umatilla's has been installed for a couple of years and the Bulldogs also are
going to be using a passing attack quite a bit this season. Leesburg's offense is new, having been
installed by O'Hara in the spring.

''I think they are doing well,'' O'Hara said. ''We are just going to have to be patient because they are
going to make mistakes.

''We want to be a ball control offense and try to get the ball close enough at least for (kicker) Clark
(Saylor) to kick it through.''

Gagnon would also like to see his team score some field goals with David Burrill stepping in as kicker.

''We just want simple execution of our basic plays,'' Gagnon said. ''After all, how much of your offense
do you want to show in a Kickoff Classic? I also want to see our kicking game with David Burrill.

''In the two years I have been here, we have never successfully kicked a field goal. It would be nice to
have an extra weapon.''

The junior varsity teams will play the first quarter before the varsity teams play in the final three periods.

TAVARES AT SOUTH LAKE: This is a game that should prove interesting for fans of both teams who
will have a lot of new faces to watch.

Tavares graduated 17 seniors from last year's 5-5 team. South Lake had 18 seniors on its team,
which went 10-0 in the regular season before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Both teams, though, have key players returning to build around and to provide a note of optimism.

At South Lake, the biggest returnee is running back Wilton Irvin, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards
last season. At Tavares, quarterback Davis Talmage, who passed for 1,055 yards and 17 touchdowns,
is back.

''We have a quarterback back who has been in the system,'' Tavares coach Steve Seward said. ''Our
offensive line is mobile, strong and physical. If they execute well and let us run the ball, we will be all
right.''

When Tavares runs, Willie Craig and fullback Donas Hanken are expected to be the primary carriers.
Craig has speed, Hanken can provide power.

As with Tavares, South Lake won't rely on just one player to move the ball on the ground. Rufus Dykes,
a 6-0, 170-pounder, also has looked good carrying the ball.

MOUNT DORA AT BELLEVIEW: Why would a Mount Dora team that was 0-10 last season pick a bigger
Belleview team that features an explosive offense led by running back Lamar Rembert to play in the
Kickoff Classic?

''Experience for the young kids,'' Mount Dora coach Craig Cosden said.

''I think the story of our season is we have five sophomores starting,'' he said. ''We need to get them
ready for the district competition that starts in the middle of the season. Our first four games we play
tremendous opponents (Umatilla, South Lake, Lake Weir after Belleview) to try to get the sophomores
ready.''

Let the maturing of sophomore linebackers Steve Johnson, Anton Dawson and Kendrix Jones, along
with free safety Steve Brown and receiver Gene Johnson, begin.

But, Cosden admits, he is taking a chance by playing a Belleview team that averages 280 on its front
line.

''It's a gamble,'' he said. ''My fear is if Belleview comes out and simply outclasses us in speed and size
and strength, we will have a drop in our self-pride. We are going to get good experience, which is
positive. But, if we get waxed, it will be a negative for us.''