Lecanto Panthers visit the Vanguard Knights

The once-ranked #1 Vanguard Knights have fallen from grace, losing two games in a row to drop them below .500 for the second time this season. Meanwhile, the Lecanto Panthers football team is 4-3, lost their last game by a narrow margin of 37-34 to the Lake Weir Hurricanes.

With just three weeks left in the 2012 regular season football schedule, both of these teams are still looking for their identities. But is it a little too late? We’ll see this Friday night as Real Oldies 104.7 returns to Booster Stadium, Home of the Vanguard Knights!

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Vanguard at Trinity Catholic: Showdown of the Year?

Why exactly would I highlight the defensive captain for a high school football team in my last video post?

It’s pretty simple, really. The Vanguard Knights have one of the top defenses in Marion County. The Trinity Catholic Celtics, meanwhile, is an offensive juggernaut, and I’d venture to say that no one has a better overall attack than they do right now. This Friday night, the unstoppable force meets the immovable object.

After a nasty opening night loss in Camden County, Georgia, Vanguard has turned the ship at a full 180 and have gone undefeated since, skyrocketing to #1 in Marion County’s high school football power rankings. Trinity Catholic, meanwhile, is now #2 after a shaky 2-2 start (one of the wins is a technicality–the North Marion Colts had an ineligible player).

I’m really interested to see which teams show up on Friday night. Will it be the Knights who got spanked on opening night, or the since-undefeated team that has run the gamut in Marion County? Will it be the high-powered Celtics offense, or the one that sputtered early on in the season? Either way, this game is sure to be a showcase of not only Marion County, but Florida high school football at its finest.

Marcus Davis: Linebacker, Vanguard Knights

This is a 2011 highlight reel of Vanguard’s defensive captain. I’m posting this here because I have the pleasure of calling another one of Vanguard’s games this week, and one of the main reasons I’m excited for Friday night is because I get to see this kid in action.

Believe me when I say that Marcus Davis is an absolute hurricane at middle linebacker. His intensity, toughness, and grit remind me of a certain Hall of Fame linebacker that plays for the Baltimore Ravens. (*ahem* Ray Lewis *ahem*)

This video doesn’t even do this man-child justice. He’s only gotten stronger since this video was made, and I can’t wait to see some of the licks he’s going to put on some ball-carriers in a couple days.

Don’t Make Me Think!

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I thought I knew how to run my blog. I was totally wrong.

I recently read this book called Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug (pictured above) and the takeaway I got from this short, 200-page book is incredible. I’m going to be doing a virtual renovation of my site slowly but surely over the next few days. Here’s why.

I thought the most important things about a website, including this blog, were content and style. The content… Well, let’s be honest. I’m writing all this stuff. The content is perfect. Or better. But as for the latter, it wasn’t as important as I thought.

I was so concerned about the color scheme. The header. The widgets. The font. Where my Twitter feed should go.

I planned this all out. I slept on it and thought about it for hours, even as I went through my regular daily routine.

I was going about it all wrong.

I was thinking too much.

Krug said it right off at the beginning: in order for a website to be most effective, you have to eliminate as much thinking for your site’s users as possible. Looking at it now, my website is utterly confusing. My header, where I was trying to be cute, makes no sense without any prior knowledge. If you don’t read my very first post–which you very well might not, since you might decide not to scroll that far–you would have no idea that my blog is about my journey as a (hopefully!) up-and-coming sportscaster. And for that, I apologize. It was wrong of me to assume that you would figure that out on your own based off of a short, cheesy slogan incorporating a wildly popular, intensely annoying bubblegum pop song. I’ll be adding a more detailed header soon.

But Krug also said to be careful about that. If I put too much information in the header, you may very well be put off, and stop reading. Besides, you don’t have to read this. Or that. Or anything on this page. Why continue reading if I just annoy you with a selfish display of how “great” I am?

I’ve also learned from Krug’s book that I must be more aware of how my users navigate the site. He made a wonderful analogy: a website is like a department store. The sections and subsections are like the signs that denote the aisles in a store. It made me think about when I go shopping for a new pair of jeans. The search box is like a clerk you can ask to point you in the right direction. Therefore, just as a JCPenney employee is required to wear a uniform, so must your search box. It should be pretty “uniformed” as you might find on any other website: use the word “search” for best results, not “keyword search,” “quick search,” or any other close alternates. I’ll make sure to keep it that way.

Not everything I’ve done on this site was wrong, though. As per Krug’s direction, I have kept the same format from page to page, so that it’s clear you’re still using the same website. My tabs are also pretty on point, and just as Krug said that a successful website needs a visual cue of a physical mark, my blog’s tabs are reminiscent of a file drawer.

Look for these changes in the coming days/weeks. I think they’re really important… Oh wait. I mean, I know they’re really important.

Don’t make me think!

Nostalgia

On a personal note… Calling these football games gives me such great joy. The memories that hit me as I watch the football players take the field, the cheerleaders rah-rah-ing, the students and parents filling the steel bleachers, the promise of a weekend free of homework and tests and full of beach trips and shopping sprees… they make me both happy and sad. Sometimes, I picture myself, 16 years old, being carefree and goofing off at these football games and I realize how much older I am now. I turned 22 yesterday, and I can’t help but feel like when I do the play-by-play for these games, the 16-year-old in me wants to come out and just enjoy the night, the weekend, the game, my friends… And let someone else worry about telling an audience over the radio who caught that pass or what the score of the game is.

Week 4: Vanguard Knights vs. Buchholz Bobcats

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The handshakes exchanged at midfield on the 21st night of September were a complete 180 from the attitude throughout the 48 grueling minutes of high school football. In the matchup that pit Marion County vs. Alachua County, the Vanguard Knights ran circles around the Buchholz Bobcats… But that didn’t mean the away team went down without a fight: not necessarily in the game, but the players were so competitive, they almost did get in a fight.

The Knights improved to 2-1 on the season and knocked the Bobcats to a lowly 1-3. Vanguard is touted as one of if not the best team in Marion County. The final score, a blowout at 35-7, reflected both Vanguard’s offensive prowess (wide receiver Cameron Livingston had 196 receiving yards and two touchdowns) and defensive intensity (Buchholz’ only score came on a blocked punt in the endzone).

It was Vanguard’s first home game, after a massive 56-7 loss to the nation’s then-15th-ranked Camden County, Ga. in their first week. The Knights rebounded the next week and lanced North Marion, also regarded as one of Marion’s best teams, in a 20-14 victory.

Chasing Josh

Tom and Jerry. Yogi and Boo Boo. My color commentary, Josh Chase, and me.

What do we all have in common? A disproportionate, highly comical size difference between the pairs.

The photograph in my first post doesn’t do the differential any justice. Picture this: I am 5’7” and 150 pounds, soaking wet. Meanwhile, Josh is 6’4″ and over 300 pounds.

Is this comical to you yet?

When I first met Josh the night before our first game together, my first thought was, “Wow… It’s a really good thing we’re on radio. No one can see us!”

I still think that now.

Josh was actually a member of the state champion Trinity Catholic Celtics football team in 2005. He was a starting offensive lineman on that team, and I can’t say he’s gotten any smaller since. Let’s put this into perspective: I was issued a size small WITG Real Oldies 104.7 polo. Josh was handed a 3XL shirt–and admitted he’d probably more comfortable in a 4XL.

I wouldn’t say Josh is a teddy bear, exactly, but he fits the perfect description of one of his favorite sayings: “He is a big boy.” Josh is really playful, both on air and off, and he likes to have fun. He’s been a blast to be around, and has definitely helped me in my transition as a sports broadcaster.