Friday Night Football Lights — Take 2

Assignment in hand.

First wrestler from Terry Parker and the first wrestler from Fletcher (have to be returners from last year) to get my attention (assuming I’m in the press box and you don’t want to go in), and identify yourself as a wrestler (I will have rosters with me) will be the subjects of the Friday Night Football Lights feature(s) that will probably be published on Monday next week (I have plans to visit my very much-ailing parents in Englewood this weekend).

So there you go. I’ll be at Terry Parker vs. Fletcher on the beach.


Event Flyers I Have (in-season for 2015-16)

I have three flyers for events this winter. All are attached below. Ed White’s “King of the Hill” and Fletcher’s Neptune Duals are both attached for the first and second weekends of December, respectively, and also for Palm Coast’s Rotary Invitational in late January. If you have flyers for in-season events, let me know and I will repost.

30th Rotary Invitational 2016

King of the hill 10 way dual meet

Neptune Varsity Duals and JV Round Robin Tournament


Couple of Updates

We’ve got a couple of things in the hopper that are planned to appear shortly, if not even today.

Doug Youmans at Yulee has just sent me the NE FLA dates for the I Own Florida youth series. Those will go on a youth page. I would like to see more middle schools join the youth page with schedules, where there are middle schools with programs (Clay, Columbia, Suwannee, St Johns/Flagler if there are any). I would like to start seeing more results on that front as well.

I will be going into the FHSAA result archives and fixing incorrect links (the 2012 state 2A brackets, among others) and filling in more gaps. That’s more a this-week thing, might start seeing a few things changed today.

Hopefully I’ll have another football game to cover on Friday night and I can get more heads-up out there regarding the Friday Night Wrestling Lights feature. A couple of things I learned — there were no preliminary games last week before the varsity (I don’t know if that changes this week or in future weeks), so students don’t start showing up until just before varsity kickoff, whenever that’s scheduled (in my case at Bolles, it was 7:30).


Bartram Trail Schedule Is In!

We’ve got five schedules up on the site now. Bartram Trail made it five just a little bit ago. As I mentioned last night with Orange Park, December 12th is looking like an impossibly busy day for me, with events on the Westside (two of them) AND the beach. Looks like I’ll be heading to Atlantic Coast on December 19th again. Lots of great events from a reporter’s standpoint. Creekside has a new one-day duals invite, and that plus Bartram’s two weeks later are interesting too.

And, oh yes, there’s the little matter of December 9th. Coach Parker going back to the OP in blue and black this time round.

Who’s stoked besides me? And we’re still THREE MONTHS OUT.


Making Friday Night Lights Still Be About Wrestling…

OK, so I’ve noted elsewhere on this site that I was going to be covering Friday football games for the Times-Union, and, hopefully, parlaying that into some kind of semi-regular wrestling presence in the winter.

Hopefully, this will be each week, but we will have to see on that. Apparently, there are a lot more guys out there who want to cover football games (but, from what I have seen in the past, no other sports).

Tonight, I will be at The Bolles School for the Bulldogs’ season-opener with Lake Mary. Varsity start time is 7:30.

To keep things fun and (somewhat) wrestling-oriented, here’s what I’m going to do while I’m at these games: I’d like to do a quick feature story that will appear sometime Saturday.

I will have a roster of Bolles wrestlers who competed on last year’s team. I will be on the home-side press box, probably somewhere between 6:30 and 7 tonight.

The first Bulldog wrestler that comes to visit me will be the subject of the feature. Be prepared to show me ID, because I only know so many kids by face at any program. I’m doing better, but there’s 500 or so of you in the area and just one me with an over-taxed database.

It will only partially be about wrestling, mostly about the kid who gets to me first. If no one shows until after the varsity game begins, they’ll have to come back at halftime, because I will be working — keeping stats and doing other reporter-y type things.

I am going to keep to myself the contents of what will be discussed for now. Be prepared to have an Iphone mug shot taken that will go with the story.

It’ll be fun stuff, I promise, a short interview, and safe for publication. I don’t do things any other way. My son will be with me and probably semi-watching it all go down (assuming he’s not on his phone watching YouTube videos or wondering why a good father wouldn’t take him to his school’s game at Terry Parker instead).

Depending on how the response to this goes, I’ll do this each time I’m on-site for a game. I will make requests to the powers-that-be to shuffle me around to different locations, so that several schools can get in on the action.


Orange Park Schedule Is Up!

Raiders become first Clay County school to check in. Some interesting stuff there — going to Brandon’s Tony Ippolito IBT instead of GCS Rotary. No 10-Way Dual event this year. New event over at Ed White (I can see myself ALREADY being very busy on December 12). And, former Providence coach Justin Daniels is back on the mats full-time. He’ll be running the Raider program this season.

Which one of your teams will be NEXT?


Bishop Kenny Schedule Is In

My bad. It’s actually BEEN in….my email for a few days. Thanks to Coach Schloth for jogging my memory. The Crusaders are in the fold! That’s three. Who’s NEXT? Everybody is back in school now. Emails will start to go out soon.


Kemmerer Highlighting Clay Clinic

Clay HS’s wrestling program and the Green Cove Wrestling Club is hosting a two-day clinic at Clay this coming weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with guest clinician Joe Kemmerer.

Cost for the clinic is $75 and will be staged in Clay’s wrestling room from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Email Coach Reape at for more details..

Kemmerer is a former Pennsylvania high school state champion, two time NCAA Division II champion at Kutztown University (2008 and 2009) and a Greco-Roman University World team member in 2010. He is currently a clinician and group leader for Ken Chertow’s Gold Medal Training Camp, and runs Hammer Wrestling in Morristown, TN.

Go to, and you’ll see a comment on Kemmerer from a familiar source (No, it’s not me — as I have stated before, I barely know WHAT a fireman’s carry is, let alone when to try one).


No Football For You

So, if there is football in your plans for Saturday, October 10, there was.

I’d advise setting the DVR early, because there is a full plate’s worth of wrestling events planned around the coverage area on that day.

Events actually start to kick off on Thursday, October 8th, at Murray Middle School in St. Augustine, as Beat the Streets Northeast Florida, started by Keystone Heights’ Rich & Peg Marshall, is hosting Grow A Better Wrestler, from 6:30-9 p.m., with Olympic Greco-Roman gold medalist Rulon Gardner, Pan Am Games gold medalist Andrew Bisek, and US Olympic Training Site clinicians in attendance.

This clinic, which is for parents and coaches only (no student-athletes can attend, participants must be 21 and older), is designed to provide both parents and coaches tools to achieve higher levels of success for their kids in the sport.

Parent tickets are $20 each and coach tickets are $30 each. Coaches also have the opportunity to purchase “combo tickets,” for $65, which also includes a ticket to Saturday’s Step to the Line Showcase & Gala (more in a minute on that).

Link to in order to register for the Thursday night event.

On Saturday, October 10, also at Murray Middle and hosted by BTS-NE Florida, will be a Champions Clinic, a fall technique clinic to benefit BTS-NE Florida, led by Bisek as guest clinician. Wrestlers from the US Olympic Training site and local coaches are also going to support this instruction. Clinic time is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Novice wrestlers will give given direct instruction on proper technique in all positions, with experienced wrestlers receiving advice that will add to their current skill level. Cost for the clinic is $50.

Link to in order to register for the Saturday clinic.

Also going on Saturday during the day, River City Wrestling Factory will be hosting a WrestleFest at Episcopal School from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Cost is $15, and an AAU/USA card. There’ll be hard drilling and situational live going on from 9-11 a.m., a 30-minute lunch break, and two hours of live drilling in the early afternoon.

For more information or to sign up for the WrestleFest, contact River City Wrestling Factory director Lance Day at

Finally, on Saturday night, BTS-NE Florida moves its venue from St. Augustine to Jax Beach for its Step to the Line Fall Showcase, a two-part event beginning at 5 p.m. at 1st Street Loft on the beach. Suggested attire is casual dressy for this event, which will include a VIP meet & greet with Gardner, Bisek and former Bolles School state and Iowa State University NCAA champion Chris Bono, head coach at Division I (and newly-minted, for wrestling, Big 12 Conference member) South Dakota State University.

There will be a family event (no alcohol to be served) from 5-7 p.m. at the Loft, with youth exhibitions featuring wrestlers from Baker County, Bradford, Duval Charter, Episcopal, FSDB, Oakleaf, Pedro Menendez, Raines, St. Augustine and University Christian, plus wrestlers from Oakleaf Middle School and Oakleaf Village and Wadsworth Elementary Schools. Tickets for the family portion of the showcase are $25 for students (ages 5-18) and $35 for adults.

Later, from 7:30-10 p.m., there will be a 21-and-over event with hors d’oeuvres served as well, with the same meet & greet opportunity available. Cost for the 21-and-over event is $50 per ticket. For both events, all proceeds go to benefit BTS-NE Florida and are tax deductible.

Link to in order to purchase tickets for the 5-7 p.m. family event, and to to purchase tickets for the 7:30-10 p.m 21 & over event.

And save the football watching for Sunday. The Jaguars are on the road anyway.

If you’ve got an off-season (which is back in session, if somewhat abbreviated before November hits), let me know about it by sending me an email at Coaches can also email my work email address, which all of them have.


Shuffle Up And Deal

In light of the recent news of Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison returning his two sons’ participation trophies, this piece might seem counter-intuitive.

(Editor’s side note: Almost as counter-intuitive as the NEFLM site founder, a hardcore Baltimore Ravens fan, praising the action of a hated Stiller).

But I believe each wrestler ought to have an equal chance of advancing, on his or her own individual merit of course, from the district to the region tournament. And so it slays me, to a certain degree, the at-times counter-intuitive (WOTD) placement of teams in the FHSAA post-season assignments.

I have to state up front I was never overly fond of Clay being in 1A-Region 2 for the past two years, although I suspect a lot of teams in Region 1 didn’t share my views on that point. This isn’t exactly about placements like that.

My confused feeling on this stems from the unequal distribution of teams in district tournaments.

A quick breakdown on the numbers:

Region 1 — 10/9/10/8 — 37 teams. Not bad. I’ll tweak this one in a little bit.
Region 2 — 8/8/10/10 — 36 teams. Out of area, so specifics I’ll not go into, but surely 9/9/9/9 can be done? Yes?
Region 3 — 7/8/8/10 — 33 teams. Imagine Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler doing their “Really?” bit on SNL. That’s my feeling on this one. Um, 8/8/8/9 anybody?
Region 4 — 11/7/8/7 — 33 teams. Again. “Really?”

Region 1 — 8/5/7/7 — 27 teams. Actually, in my mind, there’s logically not much to be done with this one on its face (except for one local move which puzzles me), but we could play around with it in a little bit.
Region 2 — 8/8/11/11 — 38 teams. Again, without restructuring there’s not much to do because this region — like Region 1 — already goes seaside-to-oceanside.
Region 3 — 10/6/8/9 — 33 teams. I know that the SW Florida region is fairly large geographically, but surely two of the southern most schools in District 9 could go into District 10.
Region 4 — 7/7/9/10 — 33 teams. Again, some moves slightly northward could redistribute more naturally.

Region 1 — 10/6/8/10 — 34 teams. More on this one in a little bit.
Region 2 — 9/9/5/7 — 30 teams. Another seaside-to-oceanside region, so it’s tricky. More on this in a little bit.
Region 3 — 8/8/13/10 — 39 teams. Why the St Pete teams need to be in a separate district from the Tampa teams floors me. Shuffle it up better, FHSAA.
Region 4 — 6/6/9/10 — 31 teams. I would like to think a 8-8-8-7 is possible here.

It’s my belief that the non-local regions could be shuffled around, but since those are out-of-area, I’m saving my breath, er, bandwidth, as to the specifics.

OK. Let’s look at the locals.

3A-Region 1: I have no complaints with our local district. I’d tweak District 3 by moving the school closest to the District 4 schools into District 4. Winter Park is already in District 4, so Lake Howell, also located in one of my favorite day-trip cities in Florida, would be the likeliest candidate for a move.

2A-Region 1 with no major restructuring: I’d more or less leave the numbers as they are, but I do have a question: since a team on the north side of the St Johns River (Paxon, which had been in 1A previously) was moved into a St Johns County/Flagler County district, wouldn’t the more logical move have been to move the most southern Duval team into District 4? Instead of Paxon going into District 4, the more logical choice would have been Terry Parker. In my mind.

2A-Region 1 with restructuring: District 2 is spread out, of necessity, plus the region has only 27 teams in it, compared to Region 2’s 38. Perhaps four teams from Region 2 should go into Region 1 to even the numbers out. The northern-most four would be the most geographically-logical ones. What I guess I would do would be to move the three Ocala schools (Forest, Lake Weir and Vanguard, who already have a fair amount of intersection with our local teams) and I think also Belleview would have to go up to District 2. This would pretty much require 2A-District 2 to stage its tournament in Tallahassee, I think, but it would even out some numbers.

1A-Region 1: I think what I would want to see here is the eastern-most team in District 1 and western-most team in District 3 reshuffled to District 2, for starters. The western-most is easier for me to calculate; Baker County would go into District 2 and it’s been slotted with that district before.The eastern-most team in District 1 looks like Rocky Bayou Christian in Niceville. I’ll be happy to be corrected by my northwest Florida readership on that one, but that seems logical (Editor’s note: I’ve been advised by a northwestern reader that Marianna is the furthest east, so this should be the team to move to District 2).

Now. Which team to move out of District 4 and into District 3 to even that up a bit more, since District 3 would only have seven schools with Baker moving over?

Yes, Bishop Kenny/Bolles/Episcopal, as the northernmost schools in District 4, I am kind of looking at you first. I know there’s been a lot of moves with Duval Charter, so assuming that program’s continued viability, one of you all would have to go up. Episcopal is slightly south of Bishop Kenny and Bolles, so I think it comes down to one of those two.

1A-Region 2: I think the easiest thing to do here would be to move the two Ocala schools, St. John Lutheran (a team I’m not familiar with, could be a first-year program) and Trinity Catholic, into District 7 and more or less have done with it. Trinity is emerging as a program, however, and might not want to have to contend with Villages again, let alone the Lake Highland juggernaut.

Anyway, our local regions are not as crazy as some. 1A-Region 3 is completely out of hand. As compared to #EndTheForfeits, this is perhaps less of an issue, but still fun to consider.

14 weeks or so to go until Week 1. I’m really looking forward to it.