If it's not broken, don't fix it.
That's the approach Brandon High School Head Coach John Lima took with him to Plant City High School last Thursday, September 16, when his 2-0 Eagles matched up against the 2-0 Raiders in a battle of the unbeatens.
In a hostile environment, the visiting Eagles stuck to the ground against the Raider defense, putting the ball in the air only eight times through the four quarters of play. Brandon's persistent rushing attack accumulated 308 yards, much of it contributed by senior running back Darius Lee. Lee finished the game with 22 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns, propelling the Eagles into local prep football Top 10 rankings with a convincing 31-20 road victory.
"We strive for balance and we know that some games we are going to have to be able to throw the ball to win and other games we've got to be able to run the ball to win," said Lima. "So, we usually start off running and if that works, we usually stick to that."
Not only does Brandon's third win of the year match the team's total for all of 2009, but it marks the first time since 1993 that the Eagles have started the season 3-0. As a result, Head Coach John Lima was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' High School Coach of the Week for Week Three of the 2010 season.
"It's quite an honor" said Lima about the award. "There are a lot of schools out here, and this is real good for the program. The kids have had two rough seasons and it's a credit to them because they're the reason why we're 3-0 and why we're getting this honor."
On Thursday, Lima was invited to One Buccaneer Place along with Defensive Coordinator Tim Jones, Offensive Line Coach Steve Hopkins and school administrator Dina Langston. After the group received a tour of the facility, Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris greeted them and offered congratulations on their 3-0 start to the season.
Along with a signed certificate, Buccaneers hat and personalized football presented by Coach Morris, Lima received a $1,000 donation from the NFL Youth Football Fund to go towards the Eagles' football program.
"It means a lot," said Lima of the donation. "Again, it goes back to the kids. They've been working hard and had two rough seasons, so to start getting some notoriety and getting a little bit of press coverage makes them feel good."
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 10 weekly winners at the end of the season. The Buccaneers and the NFL'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.