Head Coach Lane McLaughlin and several other Carrollwood Day School representatives chatted with Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden on Thursday
As a first-year varsity program, the Carrollwood Day School Patriots have faced their fair share of struggles. A squad made up predominantly of underclassmen has played teams traditionally deeper and stronger, and entering Week Five of the high school football season, the Patriots were still looking to experience the same success they enjoyed playing six-on-six football in years past.
On Friday, October 3, the Patriots proved their jump to varsity was worth the wait.
Under Head Coach Lane McLaughlin, Carrollwood Day School defeated the Mount Dora Bible Bulldogs, 34-14. Despite missing three starters to injury, the Patriots' defense held the Bulldogs to 190 yards of offense. They also forced two fumbles and nabbed a pair of interceptions. Junior RB/DB Darius Bing led the Patriots with a 103-yard interception return for a touchdown, a 30-yard rushing score, 12 tackles and a forced fumble. The victory put the Patriots at 2-3 for the season and 2-1 in their district, good enough for first place.
As a result, McLaughlin was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week for Week Five of the 2008 season. McLaughlin, along with Carrollwood Day School Athletic Director Frank Mabry and assistant coaches Sal Cuono and Mike Fontes, were invited to 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, Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden greeted the group and congratulated the Patriots on their big win.
"It is a tremendous honor that I really owe to my football staff because they work as hard as anybody," McLaughlin said about the award. "We're a small school, but our coaches are big-time coaches. It's a team award, really. It's not just me — it's the whole team, from the athletic director down to my coaching staff."
Along with a signed certificate and a personalized football presented by Coach Gruden, McLaughlin received $1,000 to be used to advance the Patriots' football program.
"The money will come in handy big-time and will bring us to that level we want to be at," McLaughlin said. "It is a tremendous honor to have this."
The Buccaneers will honor 10 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.