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More Than a Game

Tampa Catholic coach rallies his troops

Excerpts from a speech from Tampa Catholic head coach Mike Gregory before the team's first playoff game last week against Holy Trinity Episcopal of Melbourne.

Close your eyes. And go back 11 months.

Going back to the punches, going back to the sledgehammers, going back to running cut drills, and bag drills on a rocky field. Going back to the summertime 110s. And you summer school guys had to do them with me.

Crying every Tuesday about having to do 110s. Going back to all the 7-on-7s. Going back to the beginning of the year at Sickles when we played poorly and got beat. Madison County came in here and we gave it away a little bit.

And then think about the run we went on and how much fun it was.

• • •

Open your eyes. You're here.

Everything that you've done has brought you to these last four games.

This is your legacy, seniors. This is your legacy. These next couple of weeks is your legacy and it starts with these 48 minutes tonight.

• • •

… Don't take anything for granted. That team didn't come three hours to lay down and roll over for you. They didn't make the playoffs to make a hell of a long bus ride, bring buses for their fans and the band and everybody else to roll over and lose in the first round of the playoffs.

They didn't. So don't take it for granted that you think you are a better football team. Work for it. All night long. Utter domination. Play after play after play after play.

• • •

We could go out there and have some fun and dominate all night long.

Or we can come out flat just because you don't feel like it for five minutes and you can sit at home and wonder what if. It's up to you.

It's not up to me. Or Coach Lewis. It's up to you. What are you going to do about it?

I'm not ready to go home tonight. I'm not ready to pack up my stuff and go home tonight. Hell no.

At 10:30, I'm going to start preparing for whoever we play next week.

Because you've earned it. Make something happen. Buy yourself another 48 (minutes).

Final score: Tampa Catholic 52, Holy Trinity 14

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."

Tampa Catholic coach rallies his troops 11/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1:49pm]
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