One of the first things Jason Lane did when he was hired to take over at Chamberlain in 2015 was reach out to Billy Turner, the iconic coach who directed the program for 30 years and still is Hillsborough’s all-time winningest coach with 254 victories.
One of Turner’s wins came against Jefferson in 2008 during his final season. Lane was an assistant coach with the Dragons at the time.
"We had some great battles, and he was such a respected coach not only at the school, but also throughout the whole county," said Lane, who was an assistant at Jefferson from 2003 until he became Chamberlain’s coach.
Lane wanted to find out about the history of the program, about dealing with the community. There was no better source than Turner, who coached Washington Redskins Jay Gruden and former FSU standout James Wilder Jr. during his tenure.
"Coach Turner really helped me out when I got here," Lane said. "My mission was to bring the program to the level of respect it had when he was here."
Lane has turned things around. This season, the Chiefs are 8-2 and in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They face undefeated Mitchell.
In June, Turner died after a decade-long bout with cancer. He was 79.
Lane attended the funeral. So did nearly all of his players, who were wearing their game jerseys.
"He means so much to everyone around here, even to this day," Lane said of Turner. "The family has been real supportive of everything we’ve done. It means a lot."
All games 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $8.
No. 6 East River at No. 3 Plant
No. 7 Gaither at No. 2 Viera
No. 5 Wiregrass Ranch at No. 4 Lake Nona
No. 8 St. Petersburg at No. 1 Venice
No. 7 Bloomingdale at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech
No. 6 Palmetto at No. 3 Pinellas Park
No. 6 Barron Collier at No. 3 Largo
No. 8 Clearwater at No. 1 North Fort Myers
No. 7 Chamberlain at No. 2 Mitchell
No. 8 Sebring at No. 1 Armwood
No. 5 Hillsborough at No. 4 Lake Gibson
No. 6 Jesuit at No. 3 Jefferson
No. 7 Tarpon Springs at No. 2 Lakewood
No. 6 Clay at No. 3 Hernando
No. 7 River Ridge at No. 2 Zephyrhills
No. 8 Nature Coast at No. 1 Baker County
No. 4 Tampa Catholic at No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic
No. 3 Calvary Christian at No. 2 Lakeland Christian
No. 4 Southwest Florida Christian at No. 1 Cambridge Christian
No. 3 Admiral Farragut at No. 2 Indian Rocks Christian
No. 4 Zephyrhills Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian