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More Than a Game

More Than A Game -- Week 6: Wharton's Jackie Hargreaves

Jackie Hargreaves lives and breathes football.

She's the wife of University of South Florida assistant coach Vernon Hargreaves, the mother of Vernon III, one of the nation's top high school football recruits, and a maternal figure for more than 50 other hard-working Wildcats.

Yes, she's the team mom for Wharton High.

"I've always loved football," she said. "Football doesn't end with the high school football season for us."

Fridays are packed full of team meals and selling programs, not to mention cheering on Vernon, Wharton's elite cornerback.

Then Saturdays, she anxiously roots for her husband at USF games in Tampa. While some of the other coaches' wives tailgate before the game, Hargreaves is usually too nervous and just heads to her seat right around kickoff.

Next year, she will step down as a team mom at Wharton as her son heads up to Gainesville to play for the University of Florida. While nearly 60 schools contacted Vernon III about playing football for them, Jackie Hargreaves is happy that he chose to play just two hours north of Tampa.

"I always thought I would be ready for it (Vernon III leaving to go to college)," she said. "I wanted him to go somewhere I could see him play.

"I don't want to miss anything."

Each week this fall, Times photographer Eve Edelheit will scan the county to focus on the ancillary aspects — players, drama, coaches, fans, highs, lows, tradition, cheerleaders — that make prep football in this area "More Than a Game."

More Than A Game -- Week 6: Wharton's Jackie Hargreaves 10/04/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 4, 2012 4:30am]
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