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Weeki Wachee Hornets football team honors 9-11 first responders

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Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN

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The week of 9-11 will always have emotional effects for many, many people. Communities get together to honor those that have lost their lives and those that helped save lives. Before the coin toss on the Weeki Wachee High School football field, the entire Hornets team held American flags to honor 9-11 first responders. Hornets Kolby Oudeans grandfather, John Lightsey, was one of those dispatchers on September 11, 2001.

“There are so many feelings that a lot of people have about 9-11. We did that to honor first responders, police officers, and military. We thought it would be a great way to honor those people,” Coach Cook said. “For me, it was quite emotional, one of my kids said to me… ‘Hey Coach, this is way bigger than football’… It was incredible.”

For the Hornets, nothing happens overnight, especially restructuring a football team. The team is putting points on the board during each game, but there is still a lot to do.

“The tough thing for a coaching staff is when you’re struggling with wins and losses. The struggle we have is keeping them in a positive state of mind. So far, they have been phenomenal. We’ve stuck with our message all year with being positive with the kids. Tell them how important they are and how much we believe in them,” said Coach Cook.

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The entire time, coaches and players strive every week, and each week it gets better. 

“The culture is definitely changing from what it was in previous years. They are not there yet, but they certainly know their expectations, and they are beginning to live up to positive expectations that we are trying to instill in them. We are heading in the right direction, for sure,” said Cook.

Hornets lost to Citrus on Friday the 13th, 46 to 14.

“It’s tough for us to play an entire game without getting so physically worn out,” Coach Cook said. “My offensive linemen are also my defensive linemen. We got five to six kids that hardly ever come off the field.”

Weeki Wachee takes on Hernando High Friday night Sept. 20. Upcoming games against Anclote, Nature Coast Tech and Crystal River will prepare them for their rivalry game against Central also known as the “Battle of Hexam.”

During the game on Friday night against Citrus, Michael McMurray was still adjusting to his new role as the quarterback.  Coach Cook said that McMurray’s Senior leadership has made an immediate impact on the offense.

“I am thrilled with what we have, I really am,” remarked Cook.

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