Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lennard High football coach expects winning results

RUSKIN — Lennard High School football coach Keith Chattin is a straight shooter.

Sitting inside the Longhorns' locker room, Chattin, an ex-military man, speaks succinctly. He doesn't care about last year, or the year before that. This has been about a process, not a Band-Aid.

"We've had a three-year plan and this is Year 3," he said. "We've been building toward this. And we're going to be good."

Such confidence seems out of place for a guy who was 1-19 his first two seasons at Lennard. The Longhorns' lone win during that stretch came against Leto, which hasn't won a game on the field since 2009.

And it wore on Chattin.

"As a coach, you always have to stay positive," he said. "But it wasn't easy. It's human nature to get down on yourself."

Chattin came to Lennard from Gainesville Buchholz after a successful stint as a player and coach in Georgia. And his past success didn't make the transition any easier.

"I was used to winning every Friday night," he said. "I was lucky enough to play for some great teams in Georgia that played for state titles and coach at schools that faced the best. No one knew me down here and it was tough. I'm sure people were like 'Why did they hire this guy?' "

Chattin and the Longhorns may have answered that question last week when they hung 57 points on St. Petersburg Catholic en route to shutting out the Barons. It may have just been a preseason game, but it sure was a statement.

"You could see the relief because everything we'd been preaching about and the hard work they'd put in during the offseason and the weight room paid off," Chattin said. "They aren't overconfident or cocky, but they knew right there they could compete every Friday night."

Jahryn Bailey said last year was a grind, but the team came together during a tough offseason.

"We all got together and said we didn't want it to be like that anymore," he said. "We knew we had some talent and it was a matter of putting in the work in the weight room and just getting ourselves ready."

One player not part of the losing is Devin Black. The freshman quarterback, who tossed four touchdowns against SPC, has drawn raves from Chattin for his play and locker room maturity.

"All I've ever done since I was 7 (years old) is win," Black said. "I wasn't surprised at all (about the preseason win)."

The Longhorns get their first crack at proving last week was no fluke when they travel to rival East Bay tonight for the season opener. The Indians won their first district title in 40 years last season.

"We have that natural rivalry being 10 minutes away, and they are coming off a successful season," Chattin said. "We know they are tough and I expect it to be the most physical, intense game of the year."

But Chattin also added that after two years of getting kicked around — East Bay has won the previous two meetings by a combined 65-12 — the Longhorns are ready to turn the page.

"All these kids know each other and a lot of our parents went to East Bay because Lennard didn't exist back then," he said. "But we're tired of hearing about East Bay. The kids are tired of hearing about East Bay. It's going to be a packed house and it's going to be a lot of fun."

Lennard High football coach expects winning results 08/27/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida Gators announce 2018 football schedule


    The Florida Gators announced their 2018 football schedule Tuesday, including an early SEC game against Kentucky and a matchup against Colorado State, which was part of coach Jim McElwain's buyout from the Rams.

  2. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs in Joe Maddon's return to Trop


    Joe Maddon's return to the Trop will be the main story tonight, but there is still a baseball game to be played, between a Cubs team surging toward another division title with six straight wins and a Rays team struggling to keep alive a longshot bid for the second AL wildcard spot.

    RHP Chris Archer will be on …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since leaving the Rays to become manager of the Cubs.
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis


    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Strange case: Bucs could face nemesis Case Keenum again


    Who, you might wonder, will be the first NFL quarterback to beat Jameis Winston three times?

    Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings drops back to pass in the first half Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. [Getty Images]
  5. USF men's basketball gets off lightly with NCAA


    Former USF men's basketball coach Orlando Antigua, center, with former assistants Oliver Antigua, left, and Rod Strickland during a game at the Sun Dome on Nov. 9, 2015. (Octavio Jones, Times)