By Tamas Mondovics

Living up to its promise of offering a variety of sports, Bell Creek Academy (BCA), a private tuition-free charter school at 13221 Boyette Rd. west of Bell Shoals Road in Riverview, serving Lithia, Riverview, Valrico and greater Brandon area families, has proudly announced last month a new addition to its athletic program roster. The new school, which began its third season last fall, has now reached the point to officially launch a much anticipated competitive football program with Head Coach Jason Smith at the helm.

“I am very excited about the football program beginning here at Bell Creek Academy,” Smith, an East Bay High School graduate and former Riverview High School JV football coach, said. “We have a great opportunity to build the foundation to begin a long term successful program.”

As a way to officially start the new program, BCA is hosting a kickoff meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 25 at the school cafeteria.

Smith emphasized that building a brand new program from the ground up is an attractive opportunity for BCA student-athletes to succeed at the “A” school, which is already boasting of its Cambridge Program preparing students for college.

Smith has also acknowledged that true success “would not be possible without the full support of the parents, the BCA faculty and staff as well as the community.”

As an FHSAA member team in the association’s Class 3A division, the Bell Creek Academy Panthers is now seeking local, corporate and business sponsors to help purchase equipment, jerseys, helmets and all of the essentials for a football program to begin.

While at first, the Panthers may not see a complete ten game season, the team will likely play smaller local schools as well as travel to measure up its talent, with a goal of building the program, learning the fundamentals of the sport and utilizing its current six-member coaching staff to become fundamentally sound.

Based on the current schedule, the BCA Panthers will play its first official game on Saturday, September 3, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee.

For more information about the program, visit www.bellcreekacademy.com or email bellcreekacademy@gmail.com.