Mike Gottman, in his 10th year as head coach for the Durant Cougar football team, said, "It never gets old, never gets old" when asked after the post-game huddle Nov. 16 about yet another win in Durant's undefeated season.
The Cougars beat the Tampa Bay Tech Titans at home, Nov. 16, in the first round of the 2012 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) playoff season. Final score in the Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal game: 34-7.
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"When we went up 27-7 [in the fourth quarter] I felt like we were going to get it done," Gottman said.
But don't think the Cougars were cocky.
"We take it one game at a time and try to play well," Gottman said.
As for the Titans, "they were big, they were physical," he said. "We felt that if we limited their big plays and not give up easy scores, make them drive for it the length of the field, we could do it."
And, they did.
Gottman said it was his team's first playoff win since 2003. It's the teams first-ever perfect season.
After each game the players go home and the coaches come back, every Saturday morning, for breakfast and a review.
"I'll get breakfast from Rick's Meats and about 8 [a.m.] we'll come back here [to Durant]," Gottman said. "We'll break down the film, study our opponent, and get ready for the next week."
As for his players, Gottman gives high praise.
"They hang together and they play together, I haven't had a lot of problems," he said. "It's a great group. They play for each other, the play for pride and they're a fun group to be around."
Nearby stood Pamela Bowden, the school's principal, who missed the season-clincher game the week before to see her son, Chip, a Durant graduate and former Cougar football player, off to Afghanistan for his first deployment.
Back at her home away from home, Bowden had nothing but praise for the Cougars, who played before a large — and loud — home-stand crowd at the Ron Frost Stadium, named for the school's charter principal.
"I'm just so proud, so proud," said Bowden, in her ninth year as Durant's principal. "It's just been unbelievable. Just unbelievable."
Next up for Durant is a rematch with crosstown rivals the Newsome Wolves, who posted their first-round playoff win Nov. 16 with a decisive 52-7 win over Gaither. The Cougars and Wolves hooked up earlier this season for a 38-28 Durant win, played at Newsome.
Game time for the Durant-Newsome Class 7A-Region 2 semi-final game is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26. Durant is at 4748 Cougar Path in Plant City.
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DURANT COUGARS 2012 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE / SCORESDate Opponent Field Score / Time Sept. 1 Freedom Freedom Win (57-7) Sept. 7 Alonso Durant Win (29-0) Sept. 21 Brandon Brandon Win (36-0) Sept. 28 Wharton Wharton Win (13-12) Oct. 5 Plant City Plant City Win (22-7) Oct. 12 Chamberlain Durant Win (49-0) Oct. 18 Newsome Durant Win (38-28) Oct. 26 East Bay East Bay Win (28-3) Nov. 2 Riverview Riverview Win (57-27) Nov. 9 King Durant Win (31-0) FHSAA Playoffs Nov. 16 Tampa Bay Tech Durant Win (34-7) Nov. 26 Newsome Durant 7:30 p.m.