The Golden Eagles of Indian Rocks Christian High School arrived at Cambridge Christian last Friday with an unbeaten season and the lingering taste of victory, but left both of those behind after facing Head Coach Bob Dare's well-trained Lancers.
Dare's own squad is off to a sparkling 4-1 start, with a high-scoring offense and a defense that takes the ball away with great frequency. The Lancers' offense has posted an average of 43 points per game this season, and in Cambridge Christian's first-ever victory over Indian Rocks, the defense forced four turnovers, two leading to touchdowns.
"I think this year we're just focused and a little bit more experienced than we've been," Dare said. "Our juniors and seniors have done a really good job at leading. We're excited about where we are."
The Lancers' latest victory over the Class 2A, District 5 opponent not only garnered local attention for the team but also earned their leader the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' High School Coach of the Week Award for Week Five.
"[Coach Dare] really teaches you how to be a man," Hamilton said. "He teaches you the way of life. It's much more than football. He teaches you to be honest and work hard, but he's got a great football mind and really knows what he's doing. He's really helping the team get better and me personally."
On Thursday, Dare was invited to stop by One Buccaneer Place, the Buccaneers' state-of-the-art training facility. He and his wife Beth – along with junior quarterback Phillip Johnson, senior tight end/defensive end Christian Cooper, senior running back/linebacker Daniel Hamilton and senior offensive lineman Jonah Johnson – were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the team's headquarters.
"Just being part of this Tampa Bay community is so exciting," Dare said. "For the boys to see the facility is just another indication that football is really healthy here in the Tampa Bay area. We're just excited about what the Bucs are doing, and to be honored in this way is just an incredible honor and privilege."
While the group was at One Buc Place, Dare received a signed certificate, a Buccaneers hat and a personalized football presented by Tampa Bay Head Coach Raheem Morris. He was also awarded a $1,000 donation to go towards Cambridge Christian's football program.
The Buccaneers will honor 10 high school coaches from 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 10 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.