Brandon, Durant Concede To Season Loss As East Bay Takes District 8 Title

By Tamas Mondovics

With its 3-7 overall and 0-4 district record, the 2013-2014 fall football season may have proved to be one that Brandon High School Eagles fans would like to forget.

The feeling may also be similar among fans at Durant as the Cougars program had to concede to a disappointing 3-7, 1-3 record which was a much different outcome compared to last year’s undefeated regular season run.

The Class 7A, District 8 season, which brought Plant City Strawberry Crest and East Bay down to the wire with a three-team tiebreaker, provided no shortage of enjoyable football drama.

When the season began, Plant City Raiders were favored to win the district title, which a year earlier went to the area rival and then undefeated Durant Cougars led by head coach, Mike Gottman, but after East Bay upset Durant with a 10-7 victory, anything proved to be possible.

High School sport unpredictability was the order of the day that played out in a three-team tiebreaker involving Plant City (7-2), Strawberry Crest (6-3) and East Bay (7-3).

For the first time since 1973, the 2013-2014 fall football Class 7A, District 8 title went to East Bay thanks to a couple of last-minute touchdowns by the Indians at Raiders Stadium in Plant City.

When the final whistle was blown and his battle-tested team’s district championship became a reality, the words that East Bay coach, Frank LaRosa, said earlier in the season came rushing back.

“I don’t care much about what anyone says or predicts- that’s gonna happen this season,” Larosa said in an interview ahead of game one. “As I have said before, it all comes down to what happens on the field and that is where it counts.”

And count it did, setting up the Indians for a home game against Gaither in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

The Raiders 6-0 win over the Chargers ended the much-improved Strawberry Crest program’s hopes of its first playoff appearance and sent Plant City to face off Sickles for the 7A region quarterfinals.

Bloomingdale Bulls Sport Solid Season

Area teams in Class 8A, District 6 also enjoyed a solid season with Bloomingdale coming close to its first playoff chance in five years, led by head coach, John Booth.

Since his first season with the Bulls in 2009, Booth promised success through a rebuilding process that has been gaining momentum, giving fans a solid team and a great football program, not only to be proud of, but truly enjoyable to watch.The Bulls neighboring football rival, the Newsome Wolves, led by head coach, Kenneth Hiscock, finished the season with a 5-5 record followed by Riverview (2-7), led by former East Bay coach Michael Thornton. For more post season information, please visit www.fhsaa.org.