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December 26, 2012
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As we come to a close in the year, it's time to take a look back at the landscape of high school football and see the '12 biggest stories' that shaped our season.
Perhaps the biggest story wasn't even on the gridiron - it was in Tallahassee.
No. 12 - Let Free Agency begin - sort of
House bill 1403, introduced by then-State Representative Kelli Stargel from Lakeland - changed the landscape of high school sports permanently.
What the bill did was give the right to any high school athlete to virtually transfer mid-season and be immediately eligible - as long as he/she made a full and complete move(we're paraphrasing of course).
Stargel was vilified by the FHSAA, the FIAA and other organizations - who claimed that it would create an 'open season' on high school athletes and a 'free agency'.
To some degree, it did - but it just became more public on the matter.
Players have been transferring and falsifying addresses - or living with grandma, etc - to get to a school zone for at least 30 years. This bill simply spelled out the steps that had to be taken.
The case of basketball star Amare Stoudemire is brought to mind - or Tauren Green. Both players bounced around like gypsies - somehow becoming eligible when no one thought they should.
While some argued the law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, eroded the power of the FHSAA - others argued that it was about school choice and parents rights.
Truth of the matter is - it will be a while before we see the full affect of the law. Expect it to be tweaked almost every year.
No. 11 - You're going to need more than just an ACL repair.
Later in the spring, legendary coach Charles 'Corky' Rogers went into the hospital for a quick snip around the knee. He left after sextuple by-pass surgery. Yes - that's seven-way bypass surgery.
There was plenty of speculation as to whether or not Florida's winningest coach would call it quits - or take a year off.
But this is Corky Rogers we're talking about.
Not only did Rogers not step down - he came back with a vengeance.
His team played perhaps the hardest schedule in a while - with several 'heart-stopping' moments.
Bolles fought its way through a rash of injuries to key players and made it all the way to the state title game - facing off with Booker T. Washington.
Well, at least that game wasn't a heart-breaker.
Rogers was coy about whether or not he'd come back for another year - but did say he felt he had 'a lot of work to do.'
Tomorrow we'll look at numbers 10 and 9 of the 2012 season.