By Riana Buchman, Sports Editor
// Since the football team’s visit to Riviera Beach, Florida nearly a week ago, the battered coastline has faced mass destruction, flooding, and property damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, the team returned about a week before Irma was set to arrive in Florida.
Nearly all junior varsity and varsity players went on the trip, costing nearly $1900 per player. Players and their families raised money for the trip, some selling coffee donated by a coffee company owner with a student on the team.
Once the location was determined, head coach Floyd Burnsed and a handful of other coaches viewed film of several teams to determine the Dons’ competitor. Burnsed found himself surprised because the Suncoast team was much bigger and faster than he thought.
“We were looking for a lesser opponent, more like us, but ended up getting a really good opponent. Everything turned out perfect,” Burnsed said.
As Miramonte High School’s old football coach from 1982-2000, Burnsed had gone on similar trips before. The various activities players could participate in when off the field, such as Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in Bay Lake, were a big attraction when choosing Florida as the location for the trip. The team even played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which can also be found in the resort, and attended a three hour physics lab, one of Disney World’s offered educational courses.
Despite all the fun they had, the team didn’t have too many hours off. Three hours of Thursday, Friday, and Monday each were devoted to football, not counting the games on Saturday. Burnsed believed the varsity game especially boosted team morale.
“The way the game ended really gave our team a lot of confidence because we won it on a goal line stand, and all the players went nuts,” Burnsed said. A goal line stand is a play or series of plays when the defense stops the offense on the goal line.
While the main focus was playing football, Burnsed also emphasized strengthening the team’s connection.
“The biggest thing is that the team bonded pretty well over the trip,” senior Brian Merken said.
According to Burnsed, many players do not get the opportunity for such a trip unless they end up going to a major college and playing in a bowl game.
“This is more than just going out of state and playing a game. It’s a whole experience because all of the things we got to do over there,” Burnsed said.