By Tamas Mondovics

Durant High School Cougars football team had a tough start of the new season, but has undoubtedly regained a great measure of confidence following a 33-0 shutout victory against the Spoto Spartans earlier this month.

Spared by Hurricane Hermine, which by game time found its way further north allowing Cougars stadium and the field to dry out, the game came on the heels of a season opener 17-7 loss to the Hillsborough Terriers a week earlier.

According to program Head Coach Mike Gottman, while a wakeup call for the team, the loss was no reflection on what it is capable of doing this season.

“We had some opportunities and missed some plays which cost us the game,” said Gottman, who is starting his 13th year coaching the Cougars at Durant. “We squandered 14 points against the Terries last week. It would have made a huge difference.”

Durant ended the last season with a 6-4 overall, and 3-3 district record. For Gottman it was a year he is all too eager to forget.
“I am glad that season is over,” he said adding, “We have a much better program, better atmosphere and a new set of kids.”

Backing his upbeat attitude and visible optimism, Gottman proudly named a number of key players including, senior wide receiver Brandon Myers, senior tight end Steven Witchoskey, junior running back, Jake Harris and Cougars talented junior quarterback Carlton Potter.

While Myers lived up to his reputation with a couple of touchdown catches in the first and early in the second quarter, Harris took his turn and rushed for 108 yards and had 18 receiving yards. Potter also put on the show for the fans by finding the end zone three times and throwing for 121 yards with zero interceptions.

Gottman summed up his optimism of the 2016 fall season when he said, “We are looking to compete and win some big games this year. It will be a great season.”

Durant is traditionally supported by their fans as well as a talented 18-member cheerleading squad with Savanna Sortore at the helm, who is now starting her third year as program coach.

Sharing Gottman’s sentiments, Sortore also spoke highly of her athletes, focusing on this season with much confidence.

“We are getting stronger and with four seniors taking the lead, we are much better than last year,” Sortore said.

For more information about Durant team athletics, visit

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