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Leesburg Will Return To Power Running Game In 95th Season
Leesburg Will Return To Power Running Game In 95th Season
2018 Leesburg Yellow Jackets Football Archives
Leesburg's Isaiah Byrd (8) gains yardage during game against Gainesville on October 18, 2018, In
Gainesville. (Photo courtesy of  Gatehouse Florida)
Carver Heights Quarterback Club, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida
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RELATED ARTICLES
Leesburg Yellow Jackets vs. Ocala West Port Wolf Pack, High School Football Game

Leesburg Will Return To Power Running Game In 95th Season

By Gerald Lacey
Senior Writer
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
www.leesburgyellowjacketsfootball.com
Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 2:00 p.m.

LEESBURG - Leesburg enters its 95th season under 3rd year Head Coach Mark Oates this Friday night
against West Port Wolf Pack of Ocala. Throughout the programs 95 year history the bread and butter of the
program has been the running game; by the way of contrast, the last 10 seasons there has been much
emphasis placed on the passing game which featured record-setting quarterbacks Undra Mitchem Jr.,
Jabari Dunham and most recently High School All-American Wyatt Rector. On the other hand, Oates wants
to change the narrative and return to the power running game that he hopes will change the fortunes of the
program which has undergone five straight losing seasons one of the longest droughts in the programs
storied history.  

“Our goal is to be more physical and I think we showed that against South Sumter in the spring," Oates
said in a recent press conference. "We moved the ball pretty well against them and if we can do that
against a team like South Sumter, we should be able to do that against a lot of teams on our schedule.

“We’ve simplified the offense and we’re going to play harder than ever before.”

With the lack of depth in the trenches staying healthy will be one of the major concerns for Oates this
season. Leesburg now has only 36 players on the roster heading into Friday's game against Ocala West
Port.The offense will have to move the ball on the ground and keep his defense off the field and fresh. The
defense stayed on the field to long in most games last season; as a result, gave of 45.7 points per game.

“We can’t afford to have guys up front missing games,” Oates said. “We have a lot of quality on the
offensive line, but not much depth. It is also important that we fight through tough times and not point
fingers.”

The program has struggled since the departure of Randy Trivers after the 2013 season. Trivers led the
Jackets to a 28-15 record, two FHSAA playoff appearances which included the programs first district title in
2013 since 2007; as well as, its first playoff win since 1992.

Oates will be depending on his senior's Harrison Dicus, Deion Mensah, Isaiah Byrd and Dylan Black to
lead his squad to greater heights this season. Oates has noticed a change in the culture of the program is
excited about what this season may bring in the terms of a winning season and a FHSAA playoff berth.

“This is the most invested of the three groups I’ve had here at Leesburg,” Oates said. “They’re buying in to
what we’re doing and they want to be the group that returns Leesburg football to prominence. They’ve had
excellent turnout during our offseason conditioning trying to get stronger and more physical.

“The players we have want to be here for all the right reasons,” Oates said.

Oates and his coaching staff have put in a lot of hard work and long hours over the last two years to return
Leesburg Football to its former glory days. He believes that he has changed the culture around the
program and, he hopes that Jacket fans will enjoy having a winning program again.

“I feel like I’m coaching my team now,” Oates said. “A lot of these kids have been here for my two previous
seasons and they want to be here. They have the talent to contribute and they’ve done what we ask.

“I really believe we’re in a good place right now.”

Key Players
Harrison Dicus, quarterback; Isaiah Byrd, halfback; Dylan Black, lineman; Deion Mensah, defensive back,
Alex Gibson, lineman, BryTavion Jackson, running back-linebacker

Key Games

September 6, at Wildwood
September 27, Orlando L.C. Jones
October 4, at Washington, D.C. Gonzaga
October 25, Eustis



This article was provided by Gerald Lacey
Gerald Lacey is the senior sports writer covering Leesburg High School Sports for the Carver Heights
Quarterback Club™. You can reach him at:
geraldlacey@leesburgyellowjacketsfootball.com
2018 Leesburg Yellow Jackets Football Archives, Leesburg's Isaiah Byrd (8) gains yardage during game against Gainesville on October 18, 2018, In Gainesville. (Photo courtesy of Gatehouse Florida) Carver Heights Quarterback Club, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida