Cavaliers finish season 4-8 with 42-7 regional loss to Columbus High
The Coral Gables Senior High School Cavalier football team wrapped up 2012 season with a regional battle against the Columbus Explorers on Friday, Nov. 23, at Traz Powell Stadium.
Although the 42-7 loss dropped the Cavaliers to a final record of 4-8, it was the Gables High’s first playoff appearance since 2009. Another first for the team was the addition of Coach Roger Pollard.
A Miami native and Gables High graduate, Coach Pollard joined the Cavalier family this year with a mission to merge professionalism, fun and competitive edge together on the football field. Although the season has just ended, Mr. Pollard and his team are already anticipating the arrival of next year’s season.
“Columbus is a great team and we’re really excited to get back out of there, start playing some football again,” the coach said. “It was a great learning experience. I had a lot of fun learning what to do and what not to do. Overall, I’ve seen a lot of growth in the program and team this season.”
The Cavaliers gradually attained victory this season, suffering three loses before winning their first game.
“I don’t think at any point we overachieved. Some people think that but that’s not the case,” Coach Pollard said. “I think we underachieved and then started playing to our full potential. That’s when you saw the team really start playing as good as they are.”
Coach Pollard remains proud of his team’s dedication and perseverance, calling its ability to play four games within 10 days the season’s greatest success.
Throughout his inaugural season at Gables High, Coach Pollard evaluated his players and determined what will help to propel them to victory next year.
He said he intends to increase the number of summer workouts, calling it a vital component to prepare for the 2013 season. One of team’s largest hurdles this season was inexperience. Next year, 15 out of 22 starters will be returning to the field, eliminating the primary issue, the coach said.
Coach Pollard sees victory for the Cavaliers in 2013, as long as the players remember to enjoy themselves along the way.
“This team is going to be expected to do some great things. Next year’s team should be able to win the districts, which is hard to say with Columbus in there,” Coach Pollard said. “They just need to realize that the game needs to be fun. If they don’t want to have fun, then they don’t need to be playing football at Coral Gables Senior High School.”
Standouts Gregory Howell (running back) and Mark Lynn (defensive back) will join the team again next year alongside freshmen Shakur Cooper and Derik Walker. Top defensive players Ryan Francis, Roberto Zaldavar and Christopher Ponce will all be graduating.
The Cavalier football team currently includes 17 seniors, all of whom are anxious to showcase their athleticism at colleges and universities. Senior Robert Torrence (wide receiver) will be given the chance to do so at the University of Southern Mississippi. The rest of the seniors will find out whether they’ve received any scholarships for collegiate play in February and April.
“We really appreciate anybody who took the time to come out and support. I tell our players that they are representatives of everyone who has walked through the halls of Coral Gables Senior High,” Coach Pollard said. “All great things have a beginning and this is ours.”
2012 season at a glance:
• Aug. 31, vs. Southridge, 42-6 loss
• Sept. 8, vs. Palmetto, 28-14 loss
• Sept. 15, vs. Northwestern, 42-0 loss
• Sept. 21, vs. Braddock, 21-0 win
• Oct.5, vs. South Miami, 6-0 win
• Oct. 12, vs. Ferguson, 20-7 loss
• Oct. 20, vs. Columbus, 41-0 loss
• Oct. 29, vs. Miami High, 13-10 loss (OT)
• Oct. 31, vs. Coral Park, 35-0 win
• Nov. 8, vs. Southwest, 35-28 loss (OT)
• Nov. 15, vs. North Miami Beach, 20-14 win (regionals)
• Nov. 23, vs. Columbus, 42-7 loss (regionals)