By Tamas Mondovics
Pulling students from communities including Valrico, Brandon, Lithia, Riverview and Apollo Beach, Bell Creek Academy (BCA) tuition-free public charter school, 13221 Boyette Rd. in Riverview has been enjoying the spotlight thanks to the recent success of its various academic and athletic programs.
The school opened its doors four years ago and has just graduated its first class of seniors the majority of whom are ready to attend area universities this fall.
BCA has also made great strides athletically, including the Panthers football program, which recently joined the Sunshine State Athletic Conference (SSAC) and is now gearing up for its second season under program head coach Jason Smith, who said that in the wake of a 2-7, 2016-2017 record the team is ever more committed, dedicated and ready to learn.
“We have learned a lot last year and have plenty to work on, but we are building the program and have every confidence in our success,” Smith said, adding that while the team is learning the basics and fundamentals, the players make the process exemplary. “This is the best group athletically with no behavioral issues. These kids are respectful and teachable. I am proud of them and thankful for a chance to coach them.”
With a current roster of 30 plus players, and since the program does not receive funding from the school, the Panthers are relying on and are seeking local support and corporate sponsors to cover the costs associated with each game. They are thankful to the FishHawk Sports Complex for allowing the team to play its home games at its fields. The first game is scheduled to start on Friday, August 18, against First Academy (Leesburg).
For the 2017-2018 season, BCA is scheduled to play seven regular season games as well as the playoffs with Canterbury (Fort Myers, FL), St. Edward’s (Vero Beach, FL) and Keswick Christian (St. Petersburg, FL) on its district game lineup.
With two new assistant coaches on the roster, the Panthers are focused on developing a winning mindset, under the motto; Embrace the Target.
It is safe to say BCA varsity football will be a pleasure to follow during the upcoming years as it grows, develops, and takes its rightful place on the local high school football scene.
For information about Bell Creek and Valrico Academies visit www.bellcreekacademy.com. Sponsors are encouraged to contact Smith directly at 777-5828 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.