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HomeSports“We’re Going to be Alright”

“We’re Going to be Alright”

Central Bears Football coach Jim Pusateri uses motivation and inspiration to build his team.

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Article and Photography by Alice Mary Herden

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Since 2004 the Central Football program has struggled to produce wins, but despite the low numbers on the winning side, the Bears have not struggled to keep a positive mentality.

Central vs Land O' Lakes 01
Senior Lovenel Chery waits on the line for the play to begin on Friday night.

Central has beaten Lecanto more than any other program over the last 16 years. The Bears have competed against Lecanto fifteen times since 2007 and defeated them seven times. In 2017, the Bears beat Lecanto in a blowout 50-0. However, Coach Jim Pusateri says the past really isn’t important. It’s keeping the players motivated and continuing to move forward. “If you don’t let the past negative bring you down, you’ll be OK,” said Pusateri.

For Coach Pusateri, with 30 years of coaching under his belt, rebuilding this team begins with attitude, an honest game-changer, if you will.  “I think that culture shift has begun. Even some of the players and seniors that have had a few different coaches in the last few years are very leery of everything that you are saying,” Pusateri said. “I noticed that they are starting to believe that they can compete with other teams and they can get better.”

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The Bears are competing against some skilled teams during their 2021 season, but really, according to Coach Pusateri, that’s quite alright. “It fits into getting better. We have played some tough teams, but we are not going to duck from tougher teams. They (the players) are realizing that we can go out on the field and play with these guys just like anybody else. We may not be at the level of execution that we need to be, but we are getting there. The scores don’t concern me. What concerns me is their effort. If I can see they are getting better, their future is going to be bright,” he said.

The game against Land O’ Lakes on Friday night, September 17, was indeed another tough defeat for Central. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong in that (first) quarter, but they kept playing, and they finished the job. They didn’t let up any points in the second half, and that’s a win for the day,” Pusateri said.

While it’s common for high school teams to have a change in their coaching staff, sometimes every two to four years, Coach Pusateri isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “In my mind, this is my last job. I plan on being here for fifteen years,” Pusateri said. On Sept. 24, Central travels to Anclote High School to take on the Sharks on their home field. The game starts at 7:30 pm.

Alice Mary Herden
Alice Mary Herden is an award-winning professional photographer and writer focusing on nature and wildlife. From 2008 to 2021, Alice has owned Green-Fly Media LLC, a freelance photography business. She freelanced for Hernando Sun for five years covering sports, community, and environmental reporting. Alice was nominated for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting for articles published in Hernando Sun in the Florida Press Association Weekly Newspaper Contest. She placed second for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting and was awarded first place in Portfolio Photography in 2018 and took home first place in 2019. She was awarded the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award for Portfolio Photography in 2018. She published three online magazines, Voices to Visions, a Dust and Shadows Magazine, which featured haunted locations and interviews with paranormal celebrities. Football Magazine was the first minor league football magazine in the state of Florida based on the United Football Federation football league that featured game coverage, interviews including former NFL players and College Coaches. She also created RAW- Real Amazing Wildlife featured nature and wildlife photography. Since 2015, Alice has been a volunteer at Chinsegut Conservation Center located in Brooksville, Florida. She helps with programs as well as organizing nature photography workshops. Alice is also a co-organizer for the yearly event ‘Chinsegut Wildlife Day’ and the ‘Wild Florida’ Photography Exhibit. Alice obtained two career diplomas, Wildlife/Forestry Conservation and Freelance Writing, from Penn Foster in 2019. She completed the Florida Master Naturalist Program core module courses: Upland, Freshwater, and Coastal Systems through the adult education UF/IFAS Extension program to obtain her Master Naturalist certification in September of 2020. She completed the Land Steward and Restoration Courses to obtain her title as an Advanced Master Naturalist. In September of 2020, Alice enrolled in a course at Cornell Lab Bird Academy to obtain her certification in Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology, which she completed in October 2020. In January of 2021, Alice was hired for a part-time position with FWC as an Educational Specialist and in June of 2021 hired as Sponsored Project OPS for UF/IFAS in Hernando County. She is back writing for Hernando Sun and continues to publish photography and nature writing on her blog- FloridaNature.Net. Alice is married to Donald Herden Jr and resides in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with their two dogs, Bree and Willow.
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