By Tamas Mondovics

SPORTSCatchIt is safe to say the Cougars varsity football coaches, players and fans are glad to begin a new season as it now means a chance to leave the memories of last year’s disappointing 3-7 record in the past and focus on a year with a lot of potential, or at least one that befits the long standing Durant tradition of winning.

Program Head Coach Mike Gottman, who is staring his eleventh season, is once again confident in his staff and players to deliver, while heavily relying on senior running back Crispian Atkins and senior quarterback Eric Davis.

Taking the lead against Sickles, Atkins and Davis gave a taste of what the current season is and should be all about by surpassing 100 yards rushing, including the team scoring 24 consecutive points to upset the Gryphons 30-20 during a non-conference game.

Cougar’s kicker, Derek Wells added to the list of talents with 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts.

Sickles quarterback, Ray McCloud III scored on a 6-yard run late in the third quarter to cut Durant’s lead to 24-14, but the SPORTSRUningeffort was too little too late to make a difference.

Of course the game to watch will be the annual 7A-8 bout between Durant and Plant City on Friday, September 19, which will give the Cougars another chance to redeem last year’s 14-13 loss that came on a failed two-point conversion, one of a number of close losses of the season.

“We have to beat Plant City,” Gottman said.

Durant will also rely this season on seniors such as Kadarius Griffin, (FB) WR Garrett Rentz and OL Kensey Davis, just to name a few.

The start of fall football also made news in the current Class 8A District 6 line up.

SPORTSCoachThe Bloomingdale Bulls completed their second winning season in school history last year and are once again expected to become tough contenders even as program Head Coach John Booth, who has coached the team for the past five seasons, has left the program at the end of the school year to become the Manatee Hurricanes new head football coach.

The Bulls are now led by 1996 Bloomingdale graduate, Brian Surcy, as program head coach. Surcy has spent the past two seasons as a running back coach on Booth’s staff.

Bulls athletic director Donny Peek told reporters that he picked Surcy out of nearly two dozen applicants after narrowing the names down to three top choices and said that Surcy’s love for the game and school helped contributed to the final decision.

Two particular games to look for may very well be later this month by means of a rematch between Plant at Bloomingdale and Alonso at Newsome. Both games are scheduled for Friday, September 19. Last year, Plant beat Bloomingdale 50-40, while Newsome toppled Alonso 38-26.

For more information about the season, visit www.maxpreps.com.