Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Week: Bloomingdale's Jason Stokes

In Stokes' initial season at the helm, the Bloomingdale High Bulls have a shot at the first winning season in school history…Coach Stokes and several other Bloomingdale representatives met Bucs Coach Jon Gruden on Thursday

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In his first year as Bloomingdale High School's head football coach, Jason Stokes has guided the Bulls to a 3-1 start

The Bloomingdale High School football team has finished no better than 5-5 in any season since 1987 and has consistently struggled against some of the area's top programs. Last Friday, the Bulls showed why they think 2008 will be a different story.

Under first-year Head Coach Jason Stokes, the Bulls won their third game of the season, defeating the visiting Plant City Raiders 7-0. Bloomingdale set the tone on the first possession of the game with a drive ending in a four-yard touchdown run; thanks to an impressive defensive performance that included four takeaways, that score proved to be all the Bulls needed. At 3-1, the Bulls are eyeing the first winning record in school history.

As a result of Friday's victory and Bloomingdale's fast start, Stokes was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week for Week Four of the Bucs' 2008 season. Stokes, along with Bloomingdale Principal Mark West, Assistant Coach David Hutcherson and junior player Matt Kacer, visited One Buccaneer Place Thursday morning for a tour of the team's practice facility and an opportunity to watch the Buccaneers' morning walk-through session. Following the team's practice, Head Coach Jon Gruden greeted the group and congratulated the Bulls on their impressive start to the 2008 season. During the visit, Gruden urged Kacer to continue to out-hustle his opponents, a recommendation the lineman is eager to follow.

"I think he gave us really good advice for this week's upcoming game on Friday," Kacer said. "I am looking forward to using some of the things he told us [when we get] on the field."

Along with a signed certificate, Buccaneers hat and personalized football presented by Coach Gruden, Stokes received $1,000 towards the Bulls' football program.

"We would like to thank the Buccaneers organization and Coach Gruden for giving us the hat, football and the donation to our program," Stokes said following the visit. "One thousand dollars goes a long way for a high school program, and every little cent counts. Just for me and my players to have an experience like this, its life-changing and it's something we're never going to forget."

The Buccaneers will honor ten high school coaches from West Central and Central Florida during this year's prep football season. A Coach of the Year, who receives an additional $1,000 for his football program, will be selected from the ten weekly winners at the end of the season. The Buccaneers and National Football League's Coach of the Week program aids in the development of youth football, which has a positive influence on young athletes and the communities in which they live.

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