Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Week: Pat O'Brien

The Sickles High Gryphons moved one step closer to the playoffs with an overtime victory over Boca Ciega High last Friday, in the process earning the Bucs High School Coach of the Week award for their head coach, Pat O'Brien…The school will receive $1,000 to apply to their football program

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Sickles High School Head Coach Pat O'Brien (with certificate) was joined by assistants : Neil Morehouse (left), Chuck Cotton (second from right) and Davie Depoe (right) as he received his award on Thursday

The Sickles High Gryphons moved one step closer to the playoffs with an overtime victory over Boca Ciega High last Friday, in the process earning the Bucs High School Coach of the Week award for their head coach, Pat O'Brien…The school will receive $1,000 to apply to their football program

Last Friday, with their postseason hopes hanging in the balance, the Sickles High School Gryphons went into went into halftime trailing the Boca Ciega Pirates by 15 points. Thanks to a furious second-half rally and one critical turnover in overtime, the Gryphons rallied for a 31-28 victory that moved them one step closer to the state playoffs.

The Sickles High victory also earned its head coach, Pat O'Brien, the honor of being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week for Week Six.

Junior quarterback John Melvin Hendrick keyed the Gryphons' rally with a 69-yard option keeper. Senior Chris Nahat then secured an interception on the second play of overtime, setting up sophomore kicker Andres Vasquez for the 37-yard game-winning field goal. The victory set up an enormous showdown this Friday night between Sickles (5-1) and Durant High School (5-1).

Coach O'Brien visited One Buccaneer Place on Thursday morning, accompanied by assistant coaches Chuck Cotton, Neil Morehouse and Davin Depoe. The group was given a tour of the team's training facility and an opportunity to watch the Buccaneers practice. Following the Bucs' morning session, Head Coach Raheem Morris greeted the group and congratulated the Gryphons on their impressive come-from-behind victory.

"It was a great experience," Morehouse said. "I'm one of the strength coaches and it was exciting to see the types of weight rooms, media facilities and classrooms you guys have here that go behind a huge professional team. It's definitely different from our experience and it was good to see what the upper levels are doing."

Along with a signed certificate, Buccaneers hat and personalized football, O'Brien received $1,000 towards the Gryphon's football program.

"It's fantastic and an unbelievable situation to be recognized like this and be able to come out and bring some coaches with me to meet Coach Morris," O'Brien said. "The $1,000 is really going to help. We're doing a lot of things with the guys. We took them to a camp this past summer and on a weekly basis we try to provide them with some things that they may not get every day at home. It will definitely come in handy, and it's just a great honor for our program to be recognized like this."

The Buccaneers will honor ten 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.

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