On Friday, September 21, the Hudson High School Cobras reveled in something they had not experienced in almost three years: the feeling of victory.
With a 27-24 overtime win over Ridgewood High School, the Cobras earned their first victory since defeating Wiregrass Ranch High School in November 2009. As a result, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Hudson Head Coach Mark Kantor their High School Coach of the Week for Week Four of the 2012 season.
Kantor's Cobras overcome an 18-point second half deficit to get the landmark victory. Owen Derksen's interception return for a touchdown sent the game to overtime and the Cobra's eventually won on a field goal.
"Looking at it, I don't think anybody knew what was going on," Kantor said. "[Derksen's] elation, because he hasn't won a game in such a long time, it was so exciting."
On Thursday, Kantor was invited to One Buccaneer Place and was joined by Derksen, linebacker Steve Phillips, running back Noah Siegrist and athletic director Keith Newton. The group enjoyed a tour of the Buccaneers' state-of-the-art training facility and was invited to watch practice. During the visit, they were greeted and congratulated by Head Coach Greg Schiano, who presented Kantor with a Coach of the Week certificate, an embroidered hat and a $1,000 donation towards the school's football program.
At Hudson, the donation will directly support player development and provide Kantor's program with exposure they otherwise may not receive.
"One of the best things that I do is getting kids a home to play at the next level," he said. "We are going to use [new] software to create highlight films, get them out to colleges as quick as we can so that our kids can get recognized and get athletic scholarships."
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 the 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.