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)

Robinson takes on visiting Tallahassee Godby in 5A semifinal

TAMPA — So, what's the magic recipe that has allowed this particular Robinson High School football team to look like it may be the one?

Longtime coach Mike DePue, in his last year and hoping for the grandest send-off one could imagine, is too busy to bother with such a question. Or really, too busy to be jinxed with it. That's okay because there are plenty of other knowledgeable coaches on the Knights' staff who have a handle on what has been so different this year.

"Nothing. We're not doing anything differently," swears Shawn Taylor, one of a handful of Knights' assistants who are also Robinson graduates. "We had the same format this offseason, same goals. First is to win district, then a region title."

It's just that the formula has never translated to a state title for Robinson. And yet, this year, there seems to be an overwhelming sense that the Knights could be destined for the school's first.

The Knights' next test is a Class 5A semifinal contest tonight against visiting Tallahassee Godby. If the Knights advance, they'll play the winner of tonight's other semifinal contest pitting Immokalee at Miami Jackson for the state title. Kickoff for both games is 7:30 p.m.

None of Robinson's longtime coaches says DePue has stressed anything special, or been any more emotional through the year despite knowing it's his last chance.

Until maybe just recently.

"The week of the Plant game, we passed each other in the hall and we joked about something. We laughed, but then, we started to cry," said defensive line coach Tomas Montero, a 1988 Robinson grad. "You can tell what's going on. So all of us want to win it for him."

Montero and Taylor are joined by other former Knights players on staff — longtime assistants Vaughn Volpi, Rob Burns, David Kiranen, Josh Saunders and Gene Blalock.

Having that consistent group of leaders, familiar with and loyal to the program and to each other, has been something DePue constantly points to as a reason for the Knights' recent success.

But as for this year's unprecedented triumphs, Taylor, the captain of the 1999 Knights squad, admits a couple of factors have been very helpful.

"Really I think it's that we have a strong group of seniors, at least one at every position. And with the bracket having us at home for every playoff game, it's played out just how you'd plan it," he said.

"Well, except for losing to Plant, things have played out just how we planned it."

For Taylor and his Knights, a state title would do a pretty nice job of erasing the sting of that defeat.

Robinson takes on visiting Tallahassee Godby in 5A semifinal 12/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  3. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  4. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108