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#2 Senior wide receiver Juilliard Roberts, Jr. leaps high to bring down a catch against Clermont
East Ridge. (PHOTO BY ASHLEY BEYER/September 23, 2011)
Carver Heights Quarterback Club, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida
Leesburg Yellow Jackets vs. Clermont East Ridge Knights, High School
Can Leesburg Compete in Class 7A Football?
By Gerald Lacey
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
Monday, September 26, 2011
Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 12:06 p.m.
LEESBURG - Leesburg faced its first 7A opponent of the season Friday night at Clermont East Ridge.
The score was tied at the end of the third quarter 21-21, the Jackets seem to run out of gas in the
fourth quarter on the road against a much larger East Ridge team and lost 38-21. Leesburg is the
smallest school in Class 7A District 4 and normally would be playing in either Class 5A or 6A football.
East Ridge has dropped from just over 3,000 students last year to 2,318. South Lake is down about
400 to 1,765, and Leesburg is virtually unchanged at 1,674. First-year Lake Minneola, which has no
seniors, has a count of 1,285. The problem is that they are no other schools that size in Lake County
forcing Leesburg to play its road games a hour to a hour and half away. This keeps it form forming
rivalries with local teams. Can they compete with the larger schools? Second year Leesburg head
coach Randy Trivers thinks so.
"We need to step it up." said Trivers before the game Friday against Clermont East Ridge. "We are the
smallest school in our district that might apply a little bit but there are only eleven guys playing on the
field at the same time. So regardless of how many thousands of kids that you got or hundreds of kids
you have, all that stuff. I mean you only field eleven so they are going to have eleven and we are going
to have eleven."
East Coach Bud O'Hara likes the idea of having Leesburg in it's district. He will get to play them
annually now, the last time the two schools met was in 2008 despite being only about 25 minutes
down the road from each other
"It really makes for a good situation," said Bud O'Hara, who is 76-26 as the only head coach East
Ridge has known. "These are bragging rights games and they really mean something now."
After East Ridge's win over Leesburg Friday, some in the Jacket Nation started wondering if the
Jackets will be able to compete for a championship on this level. Leesburg would have been playing a
5A or 6A schedule but school administrators petitioned the FHSAA to move up to Class 7A this past
year. This was done so Leesburg could play most of its games in Lake County saving travel costs. It
also allows the Jacket fan base the opportunity to travel short distances for road games.
Some in the Jacket Nation believe that playing in a lower classification would give them the best
chance to win their first playoff game since 1992. Coach Trivers is building a program for the future.
He has plans on putting Leesburg on the national stage. He understands what it takes to build a
program from scratch. Trivers wants to play the very best every week. Under Trivers leadership the
Jackets may see offers to play on national TV in the near future. Trivers believes his program should
be able to compete with anybody in the state no matter the classification. He sees no problem with
playing Lakeland, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dr. Phillips and Miami Northwestern to name a few.