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Football: Mike Gottman’s career comes ‘full circle’ with 100th win

There’s a bit of deja vu as Durant’s coach notches his milestone victory under the Monday night lights.
Durant coach Mike Gottman got his first win on a Monday night ... and his 100th win comes almost the same way. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
Durant coach Mike Gottman got his first win on a Monday night ... and his 100th win comes almost the same way. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Sep. 10, 2019

TAMPA — Durant High School football coach Mike Gottman can remember his first career victory vividly.

That win against Plant in 2003 was scheduled for a Friday but was postponed by weather. The teams had to wait through the weekend and played on a Monday night, extending Gottman’s wait and curtailing the celebration due to a subsequent short week.

His memory of his 100th victory, a 27-6 decision at Blake on Monday night, will vary little.

“(The first win was) almost exactly like tonight; it’s amazing how things go almost in a full circle,” Gottman said.

With school on Tuesday, a short week to prepare, and neighboring rival Bloomingdale looming as the District 7A-7 opener, Gottman had little time to savor the milestone.

“Hopefully, I’ve touched a lot of kids: gotten them prepared for life, ready to move on and be productive citizens,” Gottman said. “We’ve won a lot of games and, hopefully, molded some young men along the way.”

Gottman is molding another team built around the running game and a stingy defense, and both assets were on display against Blake (0-2) in a game ended 97 seconds early by the evening’s second lightning delay. The first, between the third and fourth quarters, lasted 65 minutes.

Junior Eli Reed rushed for 145 yards and two first-half scores, 43 and 1 yards.

“He has a little slipperiness; he can cut and make people miss,” Gottman said. “He is a tough little runner; he is going to be really good.”

The scores sent Durant (2-1) into halftime with a 14-6 lead.

Blake kept the game within a score behind the legs of Joey Chatman, who scored on a 6-yard rollout with 2:40 left in the second quarter. Chatman, however, sustained a leg injury on a 19-yard-run midway through the third quarter and did not return.

“He banged his knee,” Blake coach Duane Thomas said. “Right now, we have to wait for the swelling to go down and see what his status will be.”

Though hoping for a return by Chatman, Blake now must work through a quarterback battle among sophomore Justin Cummings, senior Ja’quez Riggins and junior Andrew Kindell-Wilson — all of whom took snaps after Chatman’s departure — in the short week leading into its District 6A-10 opener against Hillsborough. Cummings went 4 of 7 for 74 yards on the Yellow Jackets’ final two possession.

Chatman’s injury came one play after Durant extended its lead to 20-6 on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Sean Williams to Marcus Miguele, one of 16 sophomores on the roster in this reloading season. Williams, one of only 10 seniors on the roster, completed the scoring on an 8-yard run with 4:34 left to play.

Durant’s defense allowed only five first downs through three quarters — two by penalty — and collected three fumble recoveries. The unit has allowed 25 points through three games.


  1. Eighth grader Kaja Dionne notches both goals Tuesday night for Shorecrest, which advances to the Class 2A state semifinals.
  2. Plant junior Victoria Cura celebrates after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Newsome in a Class 7A region final Tuesday night.
  3. The Land O' Lakes girls soccer team advances to the Class 5A state semifinals on Tuesday after beating Lakes Wales 7-2. (BOB PUTNAM | TIMES)
  4. Carrollwood Day senior Weeyah McGill, seen here in a game earlier this season, came up with a needed double double (21 points and 12 rebounds) Tuesday night.
  5. With star player Janiah Barker still out of the lineup, Tampa Bay Tech is getting key contributions from multiple players.
  6. Sydney Jackwin, seen here in a game earlier this season, was a force for Keswick Christian in Tuesday's region semifinals.
  7. CC Mays led Seffner Christian with 25 points and will face her former team, Carrollwood Day, on Friday night.
  8. The Jesuit High bench celebrates a home run hit by BJ Graham during a scrimmage against Lake Wales on Feb. 11.
  9. Florida State's Elizabeth Mason (5) is on deck Friday as fans pack the stands and line up along the fence during the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  10. The high school baseball season is in full swing starting with Monday's Steve Georgiadis Memorial Tournament at Seminole High.
  11. Team USA's Bubba Nickles gets a hit against the Liberty University Flames at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Wednesday.
  12. Shorecrest's Samuel Idinge poses with a team award. Created by graduated senior Brendan Smith last year "from PVC found in the locker room and a soccer ball," each gold ring indicates a team victory. Saturday's region semifinal win over Indian Rocks Christian will add ring  No. 15.