Friday, February 09, 2007


The players, parents, and guests of Lakeland High School's state championship football team were looking forward to hearing the guest speaker at last evening's team banquet, University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer. He had already arrived from Gainesville and was enroute to the banquet site, when only five minutes before the event was to begin, he learned that he could not address the event.

A little-known NCAA rule prohibits coaches from speaking to high school sports banquets within 48 hours of National Signing Day, which was Wednesday. The Gators had signed seven LHS Dreadnaughts, an accomplishment for a programme which has one of the nation's longest win streaks at 45 games and three consecutive FHSAA Class 5A state championships.

But even without Coach Meyer, the show went on as scheduled, with more than 1,000 filling the fellowship hall at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lakeland.


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