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December 26, 2012

Top stories from 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.



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