August 10, 2017

KEY WEST —With the summer break coming to an end next week, the inaugural season for the Horace O’Bryant middle school football team officially gets underway this weekend with the first practices to be held on Saturday at 9 a.m., ahead of the season opener on Sept. 16.

“It’s a really good feeling how it’s all coming together,” said HOB athletic director John Grimesey. “We still have a lot to do yet, because we want to put on a good show.”

During the Buccaneers’ first practice Grimesey said they will be fitting players for their helmets as well as handling any uncompleted paper work, so the AD suggests that “you arrive at least 15 minutes before practice with athletic shorts, cleats, water and a mouth piece.”

“The coaching staff knows a fair number of these kids and they have a good handle on them,” said Grimesey. “So that’s the least of my concerns, about the coaching staff and the kids, I’m worried about all the other things we need to take care of before we get to that first game at Tommy Roberts.”

As a new AD Grimesey attended a FHSAA compliance meeting in Gainseville where he said he learned a lot about preparing the kids to play.

“One of them is that every student athlete at the school has to pass a concussion course, so we are going to bring in the kids to get that done,” said Grimesey. “There is just lots of stuff out there and I’m taking this first year to really learn, especially when it comes to the budget.”

HOB will have a six-game schedule this season that will include playing a pair of home matches, the first on Saturday, Sept. 16 against Monroe County rival Marathon middle school at Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium. Grimesey said volunteers are very much needed to help with the home games as well as sponsors to help send the team on away trips.

“Sponsorships will be key,” said Grimesey. “We are right on the cusp and we’ve raised enough money to put this team on the field, but we need to be able to pay our operational expenses as we go through the season. We have to go to DeSoto County the second week of the season and the Police Athletic League is going to pay half that expense, but we still need $650 to pay just half of the buses.”

The school has a banner program is place for potential sponsors, not just for football but also basketball and volleyball that is also hosted by the Buccaneers. For information on the team send Grimesey an email at john.grimesey@keysschools.com.

“Everything has been positive so far, across the board and we feel like we are doing the right thing” said Grimesey. “It’s now just a matter of double checking everything, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s, and we’ll get it done.”

jwcooke@keysnews.com