Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leesburg at Mount Dora Game Preview, September 15, 2011

Eustis at Leesburg, September 9, 2011,  Leesburg Memorial Field at Hubert O. Dabney Stadium. Leesburg 23 Eustis 7.
LEESBURG - Second year Leesburg High School Head Coach Randy Trivers will lead his Yellow Jackets into Cane Country on Friday to take Vegas Harley and the Mount Dora Hurricanes (1-1, 0-0). The #1 ranked team in the Daily Commercial 13 will be visiting Hurricanes Field for the first time in the Randy Trivers era. The Jackets go on the road for the first time this season and face one of the country's most sought after quarterbacks Vegas Harley. The Hurricanes have been pointing at this game since last years 61-34 lopsided loss on Leesburg Memorial Field at Hubert O. Dabney Stadium. Junior quarterback Undra Mitchem, Jr. threw eight TD passes over a shorthanded Mount Dora team in last season's game to tie a state record set in '98 by Colonial's Mike Mitchell. Mount Dora was missing eight starters in this contest and they haven't forgotten the embarassing loss.

Mount Dora High School Hurricanes
The game might have had a different outcome if the Hurricanes had fielded all of their starters, but disciplinary action benched some of their key players including offensive gun Quarterback Vegas Harley. Instead, Mitchell Bourne put his arm to the test and found Marcus Brown much of the night. Brown scored four of the Hurricanes five touchdowns, putting enough points on the board to win almost any other game but this one. 

Mitchem and Mount Dora senior Mitchell Bourne combined for 847 passing yards, also a state record. Bourne,who got more time with junior starter Vegas Harley serving a one-game suspension, had 464 and four TDs. Mitchem threw for 383 against a defense hampered by suspensions. Coach Randy Trivers' first home game ended with a huge 27-point margin of victory against the Mount Dora Hurricanes.

Former Jacket and University of Southern Mississippi #11 Tory Harrison played in this series while at Leesburg High School. Harrison now plays professionally for the Hartford Colonels of the UFL.
There have been several notable Leesburg players who have played in this rivalry over the past few years. Leesburg players are Oran Singleton (Central Arkansas, Southwest Baptist, Northwest CC), Gene "Tank" Ellis (Southwest Baptist), D.J. Keith (Southwest Baptist), Ty Lawrence (Southwest Baptist, Valdosta State), Danny Trevathan (University of Kentucky All-American), Tory Harrison (University of Southern Mississippi, Hartford Colonels of the UFL), Matt Shepherd (Monmouth College, All-American plays professionally in Finland), Dondelaro Crosby (Missouri State) Luther McDowell (Monmouth College), Tim Erving (Monmouth College), R.J. Peppers (Towson University), Jeremiah Thompson (Florida State),  Dontra Matthews (Victor Valley College, Virginia University of Lynchburg), Rod Cosgrove (Susquehanna University), Demetrius Singleton (Averitt University), Danny Hardaway (Monmouth College), Marques Austin (Victor Valley College) James Asibey-Bonsu (Edward Waters College) to name a few.

Former Jacket James Asibey-Bonsu now with Edward Waters College was part of last years win against Mount Dora.
There have been several notable Mount Dora High School players who have played in this rivalry over the past few years. Mount Dora players Bruce Heggie (Notre Dame) Marcus Brown (West Liberty University), Brandon Simmons (Victor Valley College),  Dominique Wynn (Victor Valley College), Dakari Curry (Victor Valley College), Javante Berry (Victor Valley College), Mitchell Bourne (University of Central Florida), Jordan Ozerities (University of Central Florida), Cornelius Whitehead (University of Central Florida) to name a few.

Former Mount Dora High School Jordan Ozerities has played in the long running Leesburg vs Mount Dora series. MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE As time expires in the game, UCF defensive back Jordan Ozerities yells as he scores on an interception thrown by Tulane quarterback D.J. Ponder (12) during the game between Tulane and Central Florida at the Superdome on Saturday, November 20, 2010. As a true freshman Ozerities made the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2010.

This years game should be more exciting than last years contest. Vegas Harley will play, the Jackets defense will be tested early and often by the best quarterback in Lake and Sumter County. Nestled inside the Mt. Dora community is one of Central Florida’s rare finds. The small community outside of Orlando isn’t known for producing football talent, but Vegas Harley is putting his small town on the map.  The all-around athlete was the primary signal caller last season but can line up as a running back, wide receiver and safety.  The Hurricanes QB was the leading rusher in the area with 1,837 yards, which is quite impressive considering the numbers U.S. Army National Player of Year Dee Hart of Dr. Phillips posted.  Harley also accounted for 1,261 passing yards.  He totaled 29 touchdowns on the ground and through the air despite sitting out the Leesburg game last year. What's makes his numbers even more impressive was that he split time at quarterback with Mitchell Bourne (University of Central Florida) who also passed for over a 1,000 yards.

“There's never been one like him,” Mount Dora Head Coach Chad Grabowski pointed out. “As far as the major colleges coming after him early, Vegas has exceeded everything of any player to ever come out of here.” 

Mount Dora Quarterback Vegas Harley
“He's something special. You don't see too many players out there like him,” Grabowski

What's intriguing about Harley is his versatility. Although he plays primarily at quarterback for Mount Dora, he could end up at wide receiver, safety, running back, even outside linebacker on the next level. Leesburg will have to respect Harley's abilities no matter where he's lined up on the field Friday night.

“Vegas has started on defense since his freshman year for us,” Grabowski noted. “He can play multiple positions over there, too – does a good job of tackling and a good job in coverage.”

There has been lots attention bought to the city of Mount Dora because of Harley's Talent. Some of the nation's top school have expressed lots of interest in Harley.

“Alabama is really hot on him right now,” Grabowski confirmed. “They've sent him official invitations for all of the games, stuff to invite his parents up there. It seems like I get a stack from Alabama every day on (Harley).”

Vegas Harley of Mount Dora High School poses for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

The media and recruiting of Harley has been like no other player in the History of Mount Dora High School All of the Florida schools have shown interest in Harley also.  

“Florida has been on Vegas since last year. Miami, same thing,” Grabowski said. “A lot of these schools have been on him since last year, they just can't do a whole lot right now except talk to him now and then on the phone.” 

Alabama, Auburn, Ball State, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, LSU, Marshall, Memphis, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Alabama, South Florida, Temple, UCF and Washington State all are actively recruiting Harley according to
Former Mount Dora Standout Bruce Heggie now with Notre Dame was on the roster for last years game
“They are coming out watching practice and getting transcripts,” Grabowski said. ” They pretty much all are giving him a chance to play quarterback. They like his arm. George Tech really likes his speed. They run the option, so they aren’t as concerned about his throwing ability.”

Leesburg defense who is led by 2011 Butkus Award Watch List nominee Noor Davis, will have their hands full dealing with the versatility of Harley (6-2, 185) is quite apparent by his stats. Last season he accounted for 3,089 yards of offense between his running and passing abilities. As a sophomore he had more than 2,000 yards total offense. Harley did all of this in 2010 while splitting time with Mitchell Bourne at quarterback.

But, Harley’s has built quite a reputation around his rushing abilities. He had 1,837 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns last season, opposed to 1,261 yards and 14 touchdowns passing. The Jackets defense has not seen this kind of dual offensive threat in a long time.

Sagar Patel of Mount Dora High School poses for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
Look for Mount Dora to test the Jacket secondary early as Harley is starting to become a larger passing threat in 2011.

“I would like to throw the ball a lot more,” said Harley during the Sentinel’s Varsity Football Media Day on Saturday. “Most definitely, I think people respect me for the running game. This year it will be time for them to respect me for the pass.”

"He is as exciting a playmaker as you are ever going to find at this level," said one opposing coach. "They want the ball in that kid's hands on every snap."

Harley is a tall and wiry athlete as a dual-threat quarterback that is likely to make the transition to wide receiver at the next level. He is serviceable in the passing game, but raw and makes the majority of his big plays with his feet. He is very good as a designated runner and zone read operator. He is a slasher with nice feet and initial quickness. He has a nice blend of speed and quickness, he has very good elusiveness in the open field, he has nice vision as a runner and he is deceptively good in space given his height. He is a decisive runner that squares shoulders quickly and makes one jab and gets downhill. He shows good change-of-direction skills, he can plant and re-direct nicely considering he is high cut and he does an excellent job of making the first defender miss. His change-of-direction and ability to plant and cut are fun to watch as he weaves through traffic. 

His versatility is what makes him great and also what puts him in the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60 update as the No. 12 player in the six-county region's SuperDozen.
He's ranked as the 49th best overall athlete in the country for 2012 by

Ryan Rosado of Mount Dora High School poses for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
Mount Dora is 1-1 on the season coming off a 47-0 win over Tavares. The Hurricanes won the Class 2B District 4 championship last year. They were defeated in the Regional Semifinal round of the state playoffs by Jacksonville Bolles. Mount Dora is once again looking to secure a spot in the FHSAA state playoffs in 2011. Leesburg defeated Tavares 34-7 win in week one. If Mount Dora has any team weakness it would be on defense as it allow Groveland South Lake to have its way on the ground in a early season loss to the Eagles. The Jackets defense has outscored it's opponents offense 10-6 so far this season and will need a strong effort by them in order to contain Harley.

WR Marcus Brown now with West Liberty University
Although WR Marcus Brown (West Liberty University) graduated, Harley has several teammates expected to pick up the offensive load, including sophomore RB/DB Jordan Porter. Grabowski says Porter is the fastest player that's he ever seen including Jeff Demps (Groveland South Lake, University of Florida). Leesburg Has the speed to match up with them on defense. In last week's game against Eustis the Jackets held the area's leading rusher Jeremiah Sams to under 50 yards rushing. The Jackets defense have held both of it's opponents to less 100 yards total offense and have produced three defensive scores. Mount Dora's small offensive line will have it's hands full with the relentless pass rush of the Jackets front 7. Expect to see Jordan Tucker, Max Green, Noor Davis, Chase O'Donnell and others try to put as much on Harley as possible. As Harley goes so does the Hurricane offense go. This a fast athletic team looking to ride Harley into the playoffs again.

The Hurricanes defense is led by DE/LB Mack Davis (Sr., 6-1, 230) Davis has received offers from Charleston Southern,  Citadel, and Florida International. The Jackets offensive line will have the hands full with Davis who sheds blocks very easily. In Harley and Davis, the Hurricanes have two bonafide college prospects.

University of Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp with Leesburg High School OLB Noor Davis at unofficial recruiting visit in Gainesville earlier this year.
Leesburg has had all of its offensive success on the ground so far this year. They have rushed for almost 600 yards in the 2011 season. They will need more production out the passing game this week. This should be a shootout Leesburg comes into the game averaging 25.6 points a game. Mount Dora comes into game averaging 33.0 points a game. If D'Mauri Jones is healthy he could give the passing game the lift it needs. 

 Juilliard Roberts, Jr. has been the Jackets big play threat this season. This game will be a family affair for him and Vegas Harley. Roberts and Harley (pictured above left Vegas Harley right Juilliard Roberts, Jr) are cousins and will have a combined total of over 150 family members at Hurricane Field. Roberts is a hot college recruit himself and should have fine a ballgame. He has been a threat running and catching the football while Jones has been injured. If Jones continues to see double and triple team coverage in the game look for Roberts to have big time stats.

RB Emmanuel Nelson
The Hurricanes will have to shut down Emmanuel Nelson who has rushed for over 200 yards this season. He is a elusive runner and can break free from anywhere on the field. Flint Hicks has made big time contributions at fullback for the Jacket running attack. Look for Hicks to continue this trend in the Mount Dora game. Anthony Miller has improved with each game including a two rushing touchdown performance last week against Eustis. The Jackets will try to established the run early with double tight end sets with either the I formation or with a single back. If the Jackets can run the football early they will put the ball in the air with play action passing. This a early season non-district test for both of these teams. Both squads are favored to make the playoffs. This game will established bragging rights in Lake and Sumter County. There will a overflow crowd at Hurricane field as both teams have at least 8 bona fide NCAA FBS recruits.

Coach Chad Grabowski has bought the Hurricanes program back to prominence and is in his 3rd year at Mount Dora High School.
Grabowski, a 1996 Tavares graduate, spent nine years as an assistant coach at South Lake -- the last two as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Eagles.
Grabowski also coached the track program at South Lake, where Jeff Demps blossomed into one of the nation's top track athletes. Demps ran a national high school record time of 10.01 seconds in the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic team trials and now shines in football and track at Florida. Grabowski took over the program from Wade Beale, who stepped down to become the head coach at Lanier County High in Lakeland, Ga.

Coach Chad Grabowksi of Mount Dora High School poses for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
"I am excited to get over there," said Grabowski after being hired as coach at Mount Dora, "They have good athletes and a good community that is hungry for a good football team. I just want to get the program to the next level from where Coach Beale has taken it."

He has done just that leading the Canes to the state playoffs in 2010. 

Mount Dora Principal Pam Chateauneuf was the principal at the time of the hiring and made this official announcement after hiring Grabowski.

"I am very excited to welcome Chad Grabowski to ''Cane Country!' I am confident he has the experience and expertise necessary to continue the 'Cane tradition of building great character and pride in our athletes both on and off the field," Chateauneuf said in the statement.

Ryan Rosado, coach Chad Grabowski, Vegas Harley, and Sagar Patel of Mount Dora High School pose for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
2011 Record: 1-1
Head Coach: Chad Grabowski (3rd season)

Mount Dora Coaching Record: 14-9
Overall Coaching Record: 14-9
NCAA FBS Prospects: QB Vegas Harley (Sr., 6-2, 185), DE/LB Mack Davis (Sr., 6-1, 230)

Big Time Perfomers: QB Vegas Harley (Sr., 6-2, 185), DE/LB Mack Davis (Sr., 6-1, 230), RB/DB Jordan Porter (Soph., 5-8, 155)

Other top players:LB Ryan Rosado (Sr., 6-0, 220), DB/WR Ryan Akins (Sr., 5-9, 165), RB/DB Jordan Porter (Soph., 5-8, 155), WR/DB Jonta Scott (Soph., 5-8, 155), OL/DL Chais Carter (Jr., 6-2, 230); WR/DB Jalen Lamar (Jr., 6-3, 175).

Noor Davis, coach Randy Trivers, and Dmauri Jones of Leesburg High School pose for a portrait during Varsity Media Day at the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
School: Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida
Class-District: 7A-5
2011 Record: 2-0
Head Coach: Randy Trivers (2nd season)
Leesburg Coaching Record: 8-4
Overall Coaching Record: 81-31

NCAA FBS Prospects: WR D'Mauri Jones (Sr., 6-4, 190), LB/DE Noor Davis (Sr., 6-4, 230), DB Trey Perry (Sr., 6-0, 190), OL/TE Jordan Tucker (6-3, 200), WR Julliard Roberts, Jr. (6-1, 175)
Other top players:WR/RB Jalen Dozier (Sr., 5-5, 150),  RB Anthony Miller (Jr., 5-7, 185), LB Chase O'Donell (Sr., 5-8, 185), DB Jermaine Gadsden (Jr., 5-11, 170)

Big Time Performers: Trey Perry, Manny Nelson, Jordan Tucker, Jalen Dozier, D'Mauri Jones, Noor Davis, Max Green, Brandon Foor, Bryant Benton, Julliard Roberts, Jr


1973 CLASS 2A District Playoffs: Citrus (Inverness) 27, Mount Dora 6;

1982 CLASS 2A District Playoffs: Wildwood 7, Mount Dora 0;

1993 CLASS 3A Semi-State First Round: Rockledge 19, Mount Dora 9

1994 CLASS 4A Semi-State First Round:  Rockledge 28, Mount Dora 12

1998 CLASS 4A Regional First Round: Eastside (Gainesville) 65, Mount Dora 6

2007 CLASS 2A Regional Semifinals: Bolles (Jacksonville) 62, Mount Dora 14

2010 CLASS 2A Regional Semifinals: Bolles (Jacksonville) 56, Mount Dora 34

FHSAA Finals Record  0-0
FHSAA Tournament Record 0-7

State Championships 1927, 1929, 1934
State Runnerup 1928, 1969
District Championships 1969, 1971, 1992, 2007

1969 A CLASS 2A District Playoffs: Leesburg 12, Auburndale 0 

Semifinals: Leesburg 36, Belle Glade 23 

Championship: Blake 27, Leesburg 6 Blake (Tampa) 

CLASS 3A District Playoffs: Haines City 34, Leesburg 0 

1992 CLASS 4A District Playoffs: Leesburg 47, Land O’Lakes 0

1992 Class 4A Regional Playoffs: (Daytona Beach) Seabreeze 24, Leesburg 10

2000 CLASS 4A Regional Quarterfinals:  New Smyrna Beach 34, Leesburg 0

2001 CLASS 4A Regional Quarterfinals:  37 Palm Bay (Melbourne), Leesburg 0

2005 CLASS 4A Regional Quarterfinals: Nease (Ponte Vedra Beach) 63, Leesburg 20

2007 CLASS 4A Regional Quarterfinals: Columbia (Lake City) 21, Leesburg 0;

FHSAA Finals Record  0-1
FHSAA Tournament Record 3-7

Gerald Lacey
Staff Writer
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
September 15, 2011

Gerald is a professional Internet marketer and social media marketing expert. His online business ventures and websites generate multiple streams of income annually. His consulting clients include best selling authors and international speakers.

Gerald is the CEO/President of Lacey LLC and OmariWholesale, Inc. He runs his entire business from his home where he is able to spend quality time with his family and friends. He is passionate about helping individuals to build and monetize their personal brand online.

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