(From left) Middleton players Matthew Parker, Andre Gunn, Luis Polanco, Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, Middleton Head Coach Harry Hubbard, Middleton Athletic Director Derrick Gaines
Middleton High School Head Coach Harry Hubbard knows all too well the importance of defense, and on Friday, September 5th his team showed just they know it, too.
Under Hubbard's direction, Middleton defeated the Brandon Eagles 21-5 in the team's season opener, thanks in large part to the Tigers' stellar defense. Middleton sacked the Brandon quarterback six times and forced two fumbles, both of which were converted into scores. The Tigers' defensive juggernaut held the Eagles to negative-15 yards rushing and only eight first downs en route to a 16-point victory.
As a result, Hubbard was named the Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week for week one of the 2008 season. Hubbard, along with Middleton High School Athletic Director Derrick Gaines, senior Luis Polanco and sophomores Matthew Parker and Andrew Gunn, 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 walkthrough session. Following the team's practice, Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and Head Coach Jon Gruden greeted the group and congratulated the Tigers on their impressive start to the 2008 season. During the visit, Gruden talked X's and O's with the Tigers' coach and shared with the players the importance of setting a good example for their younger teammates, a message Polanco took to heart.
"Since I'm a senior, Coach Gruden expects me to be a leader," Polanco said. "I appreciate the advice and am looking forward to leading these guys throughout a successful season. This visit has been a great experience for all of us – especially coach."
Along with a signed certificate and personalized football presented by Coach Gruden, Hubbard received $1,000 towards the Tigers' football program.
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.