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Boca Ciega knows all about Naples

Boca Ciega offensive lineman Ryan Daignault could not understand why coach Jean Gordon made the team travel to Naples and get their faces refitted by the eventual state champions in the spring of 2001.

"I thought Coach was crazy. We got our butts kicked," said Daignault of the 59-7 loss.

Now that game is starting to make sense to him.

By winning their first playoff game _ against Clearwater _ last week, the Pirates advanced to the Class 5A region semifinals and get a rematch when they travel to Naples tonight.

"Looking back, I'm glad we got to play Naples," Daignault said. "It's only going to help us. We've taken this trip before, played in their stadium, so we know what the atmosphere is going to be like. We're going to be more prepared."

To make sure his team is ready, Gordon spent all week scouring videotape and rosters.

"I know as much as I can about this team," Gordon said. "Heights, weights. Where they line up. What they do. You name it, I've gone over it."

What Gordon found out was Naples still is a pretty good football team, despite losing 17 starters from last year's team that won the school's first state title.

"I've already told our team that we're going to have to play our best game in order to win because they are good from top to bottom," Gordon said.

The Pirates have played their best the past two weeks, averaging 40 points a game in wins over Pinellas Park and Clearwater.

"We've really come together the past few weeks," Daignault said. "We know that this game is a big motivator for us considering how we played the last time we went there. I think we have a chance to win this time. We're going to surprise a lot of people."

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