Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mighty DeLand Brings NO. 10 Rating Into Friday Night Game, September 22, 1970

1970 Leesburg High School head coach Wilbur Lofton
Sports Editor
Daily Commercial
September 22, 1970

This Friday night at Memorial Stadium, Leesburg's Fighting Yellow Jackets usher in the 1970 local football season with an opening game clash that could very well be the toughest game of the year for the Jackets of Coach Wilbur Lofton.

The opening foe of the 1970 Yellow Jackets will be the DeLand Bulldogs, a Class AA team that is always a well prepared ball club and one that gives the Yellow Jackets a titanic struggle in every game they engage in.

Friday night promises to be nothing less than a donnybrook, after the notice that the Bulldogs served concerning their strength in their big 35-32 victory over highly-regarded Gainesville in their first game Friday night.

Gainesville was a team that was accorded much preseason ink regarding their fine prospects for the upcoming year but were outplayed by a DeLand team that refused to pay any attention to the experts and simply beat the GHS Hurricanes at their own game, offense.

Led by Rodney Harris, a whirling dervish quarterback who gave the Yellow Jackets fits in their battle last year, DeLand used the big play to turn back the challenge of the Hurricanes. Harris is a quarterback who appears to be simply an average thrower at first glance but in crucial situations, the senior signal caller can unleash a tremendous passing arm to five Bulldogs a very potent long distance aerial threat.

1970 Leesburg High School Assistant Coach Hubert O. Dabney
In his big receiver Prince Durant, Harris has a target for his long bombs and this pair is bound to provide the Yellow Jackets with a major defense problem in their Friday night duel.

This game shapes up to be a very big one in the 1970 plans of both schools and DeLand very likely will be the strongest team Leesburg will face during the upcoming season. After the performance of Winter Garden-Lakeview against Dade City in their opener Friday night, the Red Devils of Vel Heckman don't appear to be as strong as most area football people figured.

Sanford-Seminole, another powerful team on the Yellow Jackets slate this year, played a strong game as anticipated but showed a leaky defense against a weak Oviedo team.

The prospects of the 1970 Yellow Jackets appear very bright for 1970. Despite the loss of several top performers off the 1969 State Class A runner-ups, a fine football team is available for local fans to rally behind this year and Friday night's game with DeLand holds the promise of being an outstanding high school football game.

At the conclusion of last week's practice session, Lofton was pleased with the overall condition of his squad's physical health. He should be set for his big opener with a strong lineup to throw against the visiting Bulldogs.

The spirit of the Yellow Jackets is sky high, paying a tribute to the way Lofton and his assistants, Max Wettstein and Hubert Dabney, have primed the Yellow Jacket Machine for their tough opener. The practices have been lively affairs, even in the throes of a sever heat wave that has made the afternoon sessions a torturous experience.

The spirit will be one of the major factors in the way the Jackets fare in a game where they will be regarded as the underdogs by the state-wide press. The 1970 group shows a lot pride in their ability and will be trying to overcome the critics who say the 1970 group is not nearly as strong as the team Leesburg fielded last year.

The new swarm of Fighting Yellow Jackets are a very solid, well balanced squad, being strong on offense and defense. The line is anchored by the highly regarded future high school all-American, Greg Johnson, and big Greg has a solid supporting cast in Lynn Gilbert, Phil McEachern, Leon Scott, and Dale McClelland, with a very strong performer working at the tight end spot.

Kenny Hicks holds down the spot at tight end and he has developed into an all-star prospect at his new position. Hicks catches the ball very well and turns in a devastating blocking job.

The same crew does double duty when on defense, with Ken Mosely coming into the lineup to man one of the defensive end spots.

The forward wall of the Jackets has a lot of experience and ability. It will be their responsibility to put the heat on the DeLand quarterback and if this is accomplished, the Jackets will win the ballgame.

The pass rush of Leesburg this year should not be exceeded by any team in the state. The talent and strength is there and it is here that the key to the Jackets chances for victory over DeLand is found.

We think that the line will get the job done in proper fashion and the quick secondary should have field day against the sure-to-come aerial attack from Rodney Harris.

Get your tickets early, because Friday night will find a packed house in Memorial Stadium as the Yellow Jackets open up 1970.

Sports Editor
Daily Commercial
September 22, 1970

Leesburg Public Library

Article written by:
Gerald Lacey
Staff Writer
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
1986 Varsity Jackets Football Lettermen #82
Class of 1988 Leesburg High School 

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.

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