Advertisement

Dad was right (mostly) about Lakewood’s Greg Spann II

The senior thought he’d be a receiver like his father, but quarterback was his destiny. He leads the unbeaten Spartans into Friday’s state semis.
 
Lakewood quarterback Greg "Deuce" Spann II passes in the second quarter of a Class 4A region football final over Tampa Catholic.
Lakewood quarterback Greg "Deuce" Spann II passes in the second quarter of a Class 4A region football final over Tampa Catholic. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Published Nov. 28, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — Greg Spann Sr. wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. He played wide receiver well enough in the small town of Macon, Miss., to get an offer at Jackson State University. After four years he was taken in the seventh round of the 1996 NFL draft by Jacksonville.

He played briefly for the Jaguars, Bucs and Vikings, then spent two years with the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League and the Orlando Rage in the XFL.

When his playing days ended, he settled down in St. Petersburg, where he had met wife Kim years earlier. But football wasn’t out of his system. He had two young sons, Greg II (Deuce) and Diezel. They were going to be football players just like him. Spann would take Deuce, the oldest of the boys, to his practices and games with the Storm. And when both kids were in elementary school, it was time for Football 101.

“He’s been around the game ever since he could walk,” Spann Sr. said of his oldest son. “I used to take them to Coquina Key field every day after school. Rain, sleet or snow, we were going to the field.”

Related: RELATED: A closer look at Friday’s state semifinals involving Tampa Bay teams

For the record, there was never any sleet or snow. But there was plenty of sweat. Dad would put his sons through their paces. There were routes to run, balls to catch, instructions to give. Deuce was a wide receiver. His little brother was a running back.

A good time was had by all. Eventually.

“At first they didn’t want to go,” Spann Sr. said. “They couldn’t catch or run. But once they got the hang of it they were fine.”

So just about every day, during the school year and through the heat of summer, the Spanns could be found on Coquina Key. Dad running his sons through drills and throwing pass after pass.

“That’s when I thought I was a receiver,” Deuce said. “I used to like going out there. It was always one-on-ones. I’d train with my little brother.

“I thought I’d be anything but a quarterback. I liked playing wide receiver.”

Greg Spann II is equally adept at running the ball. Here he breaks away for a touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Tampa Catholic.
Greg Spann II is equally adept at running the ball. Here he breaks away for a touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Tampa Catholic. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

But when his youth league team needed a quarterback, his coach — also his dad — moved him under center. Deuce has been a quarterback ever since.

He is now in his third season as the Spartans’ starter. Lakewood is 27-8 with him under center. This season, they are 12-0 and playing Miami Washington in the Class 4A state semifinals.

It’s not exactly what Greg Sr. had in mind for his son all those years ago. But it is satisfying for a few reasons. First, Deuce is playing for Lakewood coach Cory Moore, a man dad knows well.

The two were teammates briefly for the Vikings.

“I told (Moore) that my boy is going to come play for him,” Greg Sr. said.

Related: RELATED: Seven unsung players from Tampa Bay to know for Friday’s state semifinals

Second, Deuce is having an outstanding senior season. He has thrown for 1,896 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

“Deuce has been special all season,” Moore said. “But we’ve known what he can do for a long time.”

He has several Division I-A offers, including Illinois, Louisville and UCF. Deuce said he won’t commit until sometime after the season. One of the schools not on his list is Jackson State.

“He’s going to go bigger than that,” his dad said.

The whole family will be there Friday night when Lakewood plays its last home game of the season.

Greg Sr. said he has talked to his son about the recruiting process since he has gone through it himself. Deuce said he was too young to remember his father on the football field. But he is reminded every once in a while about his dad’s playing days.

He hopes to do as well — or better — than his dad.

“I heard the stories,” he said. “I’ve seen the pictures. But those pictures are in the garage.”

Contact Rodney Page at rpage@tampabay.com. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.

State semifinals

All games 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Class 2A

Seffner Christian (10-3) at Hialeah Champagnat (8-3)

Class 3A

Clearwater Central Catholic (10-3) at Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna (10-2)

Class 4A

Miami Washington (11-2) at Lakewood (12-0)

Class 5A

Jesuit (11-2) at Miami Northwestern (11-2)

Class 6A

Gaither (12-1) at Escambia (13-0)

Class 7A

Edgewater (12-1) at Armwood (12-1)

Class 8A

Steinbrenner (12-1) at Apopka (11-1)