Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012 Leesburg vs. Eustis Game Preview, September 6, 2012

The Panther Den, Eustis High school, Eustis Florida
By Gerald Lacey
Staff Writer
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
September 6, 2012

LEESBURG, Florida - Leesburg High School head football coach Randy Trivers will lead his Fightin' Yellow Jackets into the hostile confines of the Panther Den Friday night. You can throw out all of the records in the intense rivalry. The Leesburg vs. Eustis rivalry is one of the longest running rivalries in the nation. The schools started playing each other in 1927 with Leesburg dismantling the Panthers in the initial contest 61-0. 

The two schools are only 16.7 miles apart have battled almost every year since 1927 in this storied rivalry. Leesburg has won the last four meetings and looks to continue its dominance over the Panthers in Friday's game. Leesburg leads the series with 44-25-1 over a 85 year span. The Jackets won last years meeting 20-7 at Leesburg Memorial Field at Hubert O. Dabney Stadium.

Leesburg at Tavares, August 31, 2012 Photo by Ashley Beyer
Both teams looked impressive last week in wins over non-district opponents. Trivers is 2-0 against the Panthers and will be making his second visit to the Panther Den. On the Eustis sideline first year head coach Mike Hay is trying to tradition and swagger of past teams is Panthers' focus. The two schools have a combined total of 7 State Championship game appearances, 4 State Championships, 3 State Runnerup finishes, 17 District Championships and 28 FHSAA playoff appearances overall. 

"I know they've been down for a couple of years, but Eustis has traditionally been one of the powerhouse football programs in Lake County," Hay said. "They have a lot of good young players who got some valuable experience on the varsity roster last year."

"The best piece of advice is that football is a game, but it teaches you life lessons. You need to trust in your teammates, you have to be accountable and always be on time and you can never give up. What you want in life, you learn on the football field."

Senior OLB/P/RB Austin Walker will play a big role in Friday nights game against Eustis
 Eustis returns 19 starters off of last seasons 3-7 squad. The key loss was on offense when Jeremiah Sams who rushed for 1,024 yards as a junior at Eustis and picked up a Memphis offer during spring practice with the Panthers transferred to Lake Mary Prep.

After several playoff-bound years under coach Steve Moser, which included 27 wins between 2005 and 2007, Eustis' gridiron struggles began with a pair of two-win seasons in 2008 and 2009. Leesburg has had two consecutive winning seasons under Trivers and is looking to win it's first playoff game since 1992. The Jackets are 8-2 against Lake County opponents in the Randy Trivers Era. 

"Coach Hay was the committee's top recommendation to (Larry)," Cole said. "He is held with the highest regards from all the references, interviews, and telephone calls made on his behalf. His face-to-face interviews also were excellent. 

William M. "Billy" Rhodes, Jr. (Eustis High School, Eustis Florida) was Florida State's highest drafted offensive lineman at the time when he was selected in the fourth round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Rhodes joined teammate Ron Sellers as the only Seminoles to play in the 1969 Senior Bowl. During his four years, 1965-68, Rhodes played for legendary FSU Head Coach Bill Peterson. He lettered on three teams that went to bowl games, the 1966 Sun Bowl, the 1967 Gator Bowl, and the 1968 Peach Bowl. Rhodes was picked by Bill McGrotha to the all-time FSU football team and longtime Seminole line coach Bob Harrison listsed him as one of the toughest and best lineman to play for him.
"We're very excited to welcome coach Hay into the Eustis High School family." 

Hay is a graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He originally walked on at Ball State and, eventually, earned a scholarship as a long snapper for the Cardinals. 

Hay believes Eustis is the right place for him to begin his career as a head coach.

"I've wanted to be a coach for as long as I can remember," Hay said. "My dad introduced me to football and I've always admired his ability to inspire players to perform at their highest level. I want to have the same impact on young people as he had."  

Denver Broncos Danny Trevathan (Leesburg High School, Leesburg Florida) has played a big role in this longtime rivalry.
"My dad has been a football coach my whole life," Hay said. "He coached for 33 years. Growing up, I always wanted to be a head football coach.

"I know the community is hungry for a winner, I am hungry for a winner."

Eustis comes into the game after a big win against Lake Minneola. The Panthers had 326 yards total offense and the passing games appears to be solid led by junior Jabari Dunham who started last years contest as a starter. Dunham was 17-of-27 for 281 yards, 2 Tds and 2 Int's last week. Eustis runs a balance attack last week they had 27 rushing attempts and 27 passing attempts. They are a little suspect in the running game only picking up 45 total rushing yards against Lake Minneola.

Dunham like to spread the ball around Eustis had seven receivers with a least one catch last week. The Jackets defensive secondary will have their hands full with senior WR Clarence Few. Few led all Panther receivers last week with six receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown. Senior receiver Anthony Allen had 3 receptions for 92 yards.

Eustis Panthers junior Quarterback Jabari Dunham
Leesburg also features a balanced attack led by junior running back Mr. No Benton, who led Leesburg ball carriers with 74 yards on 16 carries. Benton feels like the Jackets haven't put their best game together yet and the sky is the limit for Trivers offense.

"I feel as if we can make it," Benton said. "We just have to touch up a few things."

Trivers will try to find a way to put the ball in sophomore WR Brian Jefferson. Jefferson had 103 yards, four receptions and two touchdowns from 34 and 47 yards out last Friday against Tavares. 

Leesburg Head Coach Randy Trivers leads his Fightin' Yellow Jackets down into the hostile environment of the Panther Den, Eustis High School, Eustis Florida, September 2010. The Jackets return to the Panther Den Friday night to face the panthers in one of the nations oldest high school football rivalries
Defensively the Jackets will rely on some veterans to shutdown the Panthers. Senior DE/OLB Jordan Tucker, will be counted on heavily in stopping the Panthers passing attack. Senior P/RB/OLB will have his hand in all phases of the game in will provide senior leadership on special teams and defense.

Eustis defense caused 7 turnovers last week including 4 interceptions. The Panthers are being more aggressive on defense this year under Hay. Leesburg will have to protect the football in order to have a chance to win.

2012 Varsity Football Team


Coach: Randy Trivers

2012 Record 1-0, 0-0
Last year: 8-2
Overall: 88-33

Top players: OL Chris Smith (Sr., 6-0, 225), OL Adriel Hansborough (Sr., 6-3, 240), DE-LB Jordan Tucker (Sr., 6-2, 210), WR-TE Lee Bennett (Jr., 6-1, 200), Austin Walker, Demetric Blue, Bryant Benton, Bryan Jefferson, Germaine Gasden, Estader Maurepass, Lee Bennett, Adrian Falconer

The Buzz: The Jackets are looking to start off 2-0 for second straight season. Bryan Jefferson is doing a nice job so far in replacing D'Mauri Jones. The Jackets have more depth and speed than Eustis and will try to use it their advantage. Junior running back Bryant "Mr. No" Benton will look to have a breakout game at the Panther Den.

2012 Eustis High School Varsity Football Team


: Mike Hay

2012 Record 1-0, 0-0
Last year : 0-0
Overall: 1-0

Top players
: RB-CB Darnell Hill (Sr., 5-10, 170), WR-CB Clarence Few (Sr., 6-0, 170), WR-LB Anthony Allen (Sr., 6-3, 181), OL-DL Wayne Perry (Sr., 6-2, 234), Jabari Dunham, McKinley Kirkpatrick, Dustin Dunham, Tyric Reid, Trey Fieldings, Darius Anderson, Marc Wilson, Tommy Files, Jaylon Graham

The Buzz
: New staff has brought new optimism. With 10 offensive and nine defensive starters returning, Panthers look to turn around recent down times. Hill (1,027 yards rushing) is explosive runner. LB D.J. Scott (Sr., 5-10, 193) missed last season with an injury.


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

The Panther Den, Eustis High School, Eustis Florida


1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1983, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2005

1965 Class B Semifinals Eustis 13 Avon Park 13 
1965 Class B Championship Holmes County (Bonifay) 32 Eustis 0

1966 Class B Semifinals Avon Park 27 Eustis 0

1967 Class B District Playoffs Clay (Green Cove Springs) 14 Eustis 0

1968 Class B District Playoffs Eustis 13 Father Lopez (Daytona Beach) 7
1968 Class B Semifinals Carver (Delray Beach) 31 Eustis 7

1970 Class B District Playoffs Wildwood 6 Eustis 0

1971 Class 2A District Playoffs Eustis 25 Wildwood 14
1971 Class 2A Semifinals Port St. Joe 13 Eustis 0

1972 Class 2A District Playoffs Wildwood 22 Eustis 20

1983 Class 2A District Playoffs Eustis 16 Wildwood 2 
1983 Class 2A Regional Playoffs Eustis 39 Hardee County 7
1983 Class 2A Sectional Playoffs Eustis 14 Clewiston 7
1983 Class 2A State Championship Eustis 21 Fort Walton (DeFuniak Springs) 6

1991 Class 3A District Playoffs Pasco (Dade City) 28 Eustis 7 

1993 Class 3A Semifinal State First Round Jones (Orlando) 13 Eustis 7

1994 Class 4A Semifinal State First Round Astronaut (Titusville) 14 Eustis 9

1995 Class 4A Regional First Round Eustis 21 Atlantic (Port Orange) 18
1995 Class 4A Regional Quarterfinals Eustis 22 Eastside (Gainesville) 12
1995 Class 4A Regional Semifinals Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) 21 Eustis 13

1996 Class 4A Regional First Round Eustis 40 L.C Jones (Orlando) 12
1996 Class 4A Regional Quarterfinals Crystal River 28 Eustis 14

1997 Class 4A Regional First Round North Marion (Citra) 45 Eustis 22

2000 Class 2A Regional Quarterfinals Lake Highland Prep (Orlando) 50 Eustis 19

2001 Class 2A Regional Quarterfinals 55 Dixie County (Cross City) Eustis 7
2002 Class 2A Regional Quarterfinals Lake Highland Prep (Orlando) 62 Eustis 14

2003 Class 2A Regional Semifinals Bradford (Starke) 41 Eustis 0

2005 Class 3A Regional Quarterfinals Eustis 14 Zephyrhils 6
2005 Class 3A Regional Semifinals North Marion (Citra) 25 Eustis 7

2006 Class 3A Regional Quarterfinals Eustis 22 Zephyrhills 14
2006 Class 3A Regional Semifinals Eustis 22 Williston 6
2006 Class 3A Regional Finals North Marion (Citra) 24 Eustis 8

2007 Class 3A Regional Quarterfinals Eustis 32 Pasco (Dade City) 16
2007 Class 3A Regional Semifinals Harmony 37 Eustis 0

FHSAA Finals Record 1-1

FHSAA Tournament Record 14-20

Former Jackets standout #9 Andy Carlton (Wake Forest University) has played in this series.
There have been several notable players who have played in this rivalry over the past few years. Leesburg players are Jonathan Cannon (Mississippi Valley State University, Arkansas Pine-Bluff), Greg Johnson (Florida State, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Oran Singleton (Central Arkansas, Southwest Baptist, Northwest CC), Gene "Tank" Ellis (Southwest Baptist), D.J. Keith (Southwest Baptist), Ty Lawrence (Southwest Baptist, Valdosta State),  Dayne Williams (Florida State University, New York Giants) Max Wettstein (Florida State University, Denver Broncos), Wayne Hamilton (University of Alabama, San Diego Chargers), Bubba Pratt (University of Florida), 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 (Virginia University of Lynchburg), Rod Cosgrove (Susquehanna University), Demetrius Singleton (Averitt University), Danny Hardaway (Monmouth College), Luke Freeze (Lenoir-Rhyne College), Shon Gunn (Ranger College), Anthony Saincilaire (Bacone College), Evan Hayden (Meghodist Unversity), Nathan Cornell (Chowan University), Joe Perry (Ranger College), Mike Lewis (Thiel College), Trevor Hawersaat (Southern Virginia University), Marquez Porter (East Los Angeles College), Salthaniel Hall (Brevard College), Mark Smith (Ranger College), David Faile (University of Central Florida), Marques Austin (Victor Valley College) Gary Semanchik (Florida State) to name a few.

Former Panthers standout Joe Burnett (Edmonton Eskimos)
Here are some notable Eustis players who have played in the series Joe Burnett (University of Central Florida, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Edmonton Eskimos) Anthony Fielding (Morningside College, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys), Akeem Dunham (Vanderbilt), Courtney Keith (Bethune-Cookman University), Kadero Terrell (Kansas State University), Billy Rhodes Jr. (Florida State University), Billy Rhodes III (Florida State University), Bobby Rhodes (Florida State University), Bayfus McCoy (Georgia Military Institute), Alvin Dorsey, Damon Evans (Northland), Edmund Lewis (Bethune-Cookman University), Jimmy Ray Stephens (Florida Gators), Levi Duncan (East Central Mississippi Junior College), Alphonso Walker (Florida A&M University), Dewayne McCleod (Jacksonville State, Ala), Justin Amman (Florida State University, San Diego Chargers), Jared Beard (Eastern Kentucky University), too name a few.

Here are some famous alumni of the Leesburg vs. Eustis Rivalry

Former Eustis Standout Anthony Fielding here in a game at Morningside College. Fielding would later gone and make two Super Bowl appearances with the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills.

LSU safety Eric Reid (1) blows up Vanderbilt wide receiver Akeem Dunham (Eustis High School, Eustis Florida) in the fourth quarter of last season’s contest (photo by Jon Roy).

New Hampshire defenders gang up on Bethune-Cookman's, Courtney Keith (1) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Daytona Beach, Fla. New Hampshire won 45-20. (AP Photo/Daytona Beach News-Journal, Nigel Cook)

#78 Greg Johnson (Leesburg High School, Fruitland Park Florida) during Florida State's game against Alabama.
#49 Dayne Williams (Leesburg High School, Fruitland Park Florida) carries the football during a Florida State vs. Nebraska game.

100 East Main Street
Leesburg Florida 34748

Photos by:
Ashley Beyer
Freelance Photographer

Articles provided by:
Gerald Lacey
Staff Writer
Carver Heights Quarterback Club
1986 Leesburg Yellow Jackets Varsity Football Lettermen
Class of 1988 Leesburg High School

 2012 Leesburg High School Football Archives, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer Carver Heights Quarterback Club

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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