Sports Academy Offers Jr. College Football Experience

By  //  October 10, 2012

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Local Program Gives Second Chance To Players

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Former Eau Gallie High School football player Lacy Hill had a vision that he has turned into reality involving  former prep football players who needed a second chance to continue playing at the next level.

Quarterback Blake Shepherd, a graduate of Titusville High School, sets up a play during a recent Brevard Titans football game. (Image courtesy Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy)

Hill knows from personal experience what getting a second chance could mean to young men. His second chance was a difference-maker in his life.

He did not receive any offers coming out of Eau Gallie and eventually played some adult amateur football. Coaches there sent film of him to various small colleges. The University of North Alabama in Florence gave him after a tryout and Hill wound up playing cornerback for the school for four years and earning his degree.

While in college he was influenced by former UNA coach Mark Hudspeth who taught him the value of an college education. Now he wants to see if the 60 players on this year’s Space Coast Titans team can do the same.

“He made me focus on education and I have my degree and want these players to do the same,” Hill said.

In September, Hill and the Titans became the first junior college type of football program in Florida. That alone was a giant step.

Florida’s legislature prohibits junior college football, however Hill saw that would be possible to field a team if players are enrolled in community college classes and pay their own way to compete. But the program is not part of or affiliated with Brevard Community College in any way.

Brevard Titans cornerback Tony Dudley tackles a North Carolina Tech runner during a football game at Rodes Park. (Image courtesy Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy)

Federation 

The  Titans have been invited to join the Intercollegiate Club Football Federation which includes 40 teams and sponsors its own national championship.

The team has been working out individually since May and kicked off for the first time Sept. 4 against North Carolina Tech at Rodes Park in West Melbourne.

North Carolina Tech had won 76 games in the last five seasons and has placed 77 players in Division 1 schools nationwide, so the game was a real test for the Titans to start the season. Space Coast came up on the short end of a 31-24 score.

“We could have won that game, but I am still proud of the kids,” Hill said.

The Titans program continues to organize and will be affiliated with Hill’s new Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy.

Running back BJ Parrish, a graduate of Cocal High School, takes a handoff during a recent Brevard Titans game. (Image courtesy Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy)

Program goals

The program is a two-year post-grad program that provides student-athletes with a way to continue their education and showcase their talents for future football scholarships.

In order to participate in Titans football, players must be enrolled in a junior or community college, maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA or attend study hall during the week, secure their own housing and meal arrangements, understand that the team is not affiliated with any college and participate in a mentoring program with local youth groups.

The Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy mission statement is straight forward.

“The  BCCSA will assist and develop our players academically and athletically in reaching their goals. We have strict rules, policies and guidelines that we follow to make sure our players can be and will be recruited by NCAA D1, D2, D3 or NAIA colleges and universities.”

Hill’s passion to make the program successful is obvious in his approach to making life better for kids who have made a wrong turn in life or been in trouble and did not prioritize their education.

“These kids have been given a second chance,” Hill said.

So far Hill said Gerard Jones from Sanford High School  and Austin Mitchell from Merritt Island High School are anchoring the Titans offensive line, while  David Dixon from Vero Beach HigH School and Jasper O’Neil from Deltona High School are contributing on the defensive side.

From left, linebacker John Cascor, a Palm Bay High graduate, defensive end Milhomme Jean-Charles, a Bayside High graduate and safety Eddie Hartzell, a Eau Gallie High school graduate all hope to gain some exposure with NCAA Division 1 recruiters by playing for the Brevard Titans football team. (Image by Bill Kelly)

Making strides

Hill said he thinks the team has made strides so far.

“Considering we only really started practicing Aug. 13, we have some great continuity,” said Hill, who works for Brevard Public Schools.

There is a cost involved in playing Titans football. The players must be responsible for their own tuition and housing. Tuition cost $1,220 per semester and housing runs around $1,600 for housing per semester and players pay another $400 a year for football equipment. It amounts to $3,200 per semester or about $6,500 per year.

Most players qualify for student aid which covers tuition and book fees. They also are encouraged to apply for financial aid and get part-time jobs.

Melbourne High School graduates William Stewart,  a tight end,  Jordan Lagano, a kicker, along with Stephan Morisset of  Bayside High School, a cornerback, said they are looking forward to another  opportunity to obtain a college football scholarship.

“I graduated high school and did not have a chance to go anywhere because of grades and this is a great opportunity,” Stewart said.

Lagano said he hopes to continue his education at the University of Florida and sported a B average in high school.

Morissett, a starter on defense for the Titans, said he thinks a second chance is what he needs.

“I am hoping to get noticed this time and get a scholarship,” he said.

All three say they enjoy the practices and other teammates’ efforts.

“We played against each other in high school, but now we are coming together as a family,” Stewart said.

The Titans remaining schedule for 2012 includes games against Jacksonville University (Monday, Oct. 15), the Elite Performer Sports Academy of Georgia (Oct. 27), and to-be-determined matchups with Rollins College and the Atlanta Sports Academy.

For more details about the Brevard Cape Coast Sports Academy, call 321-338-0869 or visit http://brevardtitans.com/Home_Page.html.

 


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