The Lakeland High School Dreadnaughts football team, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in three national polls, take aim at their sixth state championship, and third consecutive, when they play No. 3 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (12-1) at 7:30 tonight in the Class 5A state championship game.
TV and Radio
The game can be viewed on channel FSN (Florida Sports Network) at 7:30 p.m. from Dolphin Stadium in Miramar. Lakeland radio station WLKF 1430 AM is also carrying the game live.
Update, 10:43 p.m.
Lakeland wins 45-42 in double overtime!
Report and photos HERE
I have known Bill Castle, Lakeland's head coach, for 35 years. As someone said about another coach, "He could take his'n and beat your'n, and then he could take your'n and beat his'n."
Castle has an impressive ability to analyze what's happening on the field during a game and to make strategic adjustments in his play-calling. I could name a few college and professional teams that need a mind like his on the sidelines. Watching the Dreadnaughts defeat a physically superior team one Friday night several years ago, I concluded that Castle could just as easily have been a mechanical engineer as a coach. Combine that mental ability with his leadership and motivational skills, and you have a coach.
Castle does not always have the most physically talented team on the field, but he almost always has the best prepared and coached team. He works harder than anyone else, and he expects a similar dedication from his assistant coaches, trainers and players. That's how, with the support of the school community, he and his teams maintain the Nulli Secundus tradition at Lakeland High School.
So, I'm glad that Bill Castle chose coaching as a career -- and so are hundreds of athletes who have played for him. Year after year, he takes the strengths of his players and builds another winning team. He never blames them for a loss, but rightfully credits them for every win.
Coach Castle believes in kids and respects them enough to demand their best -- not by criticism and intimidation, but by example and understanding. He guides young men to become not only winners on the football field, but also in life.
Thanks, Coach, and congratulations to every member of your winning team. You are champions, and would be even if you had lost the game.