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Tohopekaliga High’s 1st scrimmage part of the football process

Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

The Tohopekaliga Tigers football legacy began Wednesday.

After a few weeks of workouts in the weight room among the players volunteering to give up some summer vacation time with Coach Anthony Davis, some players lined up in an informal and impromptu 7-on-7 passing workout with members of the Liberty High program willing to do the same thing.

News-Gazette Photo/Donald Lamb
The quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs for Liberty and Tohopekaliga High participated in a 7-on-7 scrimmage Wednesday at Austin-Tindall Sports Complex.

As light, fun and innocuous as it was, it was the first time the Tigers took the field in a semi-competitive setting against a team from another school. If there’s success in the near future for Tohopekaliga, Davis can look back on Wednesday as the when it all started — in the humid, stagnant heat of July at Austin-Tindall Park.

Even a couple dozen parents — a ways off the field in order to sit in the shade — came out to watch the scrimmage. They could have been scouting out places for the rest of the year, as Davis has been holding the voluntary workouts at the park about two miles down Boggy Creek road from the school campus that’s set to open on July 30.

But since the Tigers’ playing surface may not be ready, the team may be playing its early-season games at the complex, which will debut a new football stadium on Aug. 17 when Osceola and Dr. Phillips meet in the Kickoff Classic.

It’s just another headache for Davis in the birth of a program.

“I’m just looking for a final call on that,” he said. “A lot of the other things, I can wait until August.”

His talk is that handfuls of the incoming freshman, who will be the backbone of the Tiger football program for years to come, are waiting for the official start date of practice (July 30) or the first day of school (Aug. 13, just five days before the preseason Jamboree) to come out.

“My hope has been to get a consistent number of guys coming in over the summer to get used to our program,” Davis said. “Kids coming from the other schools had a different way of doing things, and they’ll be Bulldogs, or Longhorns, or (Cypress Creek) Bears or (Lake Nona) Lions for a while. The goal is to get them all to become one family, the Tigers, as soon as possible.”

Liberty Coach Brandon Pennington, in his first year with the Chargers, said when Davis called to scrimmage, he wouldn’t pass up another chance to put the kids who want extra work through paces.

“It’s an opportunity to practice our stuff against different defensive looks,” he said. “We need to learn to compete.”

And, for the record, Liberty won the scrimmage, 3-1 — Pennington thinks.

TIGER SCHEDULE NOTES: The Kickoff Classic on Aug. 17 against Cypress Creek has now become a preseason Jamboree at Orlando University against the host Cougars and Freedom. The Tigers have also filled one of two bye weeks on the schedule with a game at Bartow on Sept. 21 (Week 5).