Story by Gary S. Hatrick
Four Zephyrhills High student-athletes signed athletic scholarships during a celebration at the school on May 12.
Bulldog football players John Dodd, Stephen Cottrell and Duke Morrison all signed full-ride football scholarships with the University of Pikesville* in Pikesville, Ky., while Lauren Pasquale signed a softball scholarship to play at the College of Charleston.
The gathering celebrated the fact that the students were strong athletes, but also top students as well.
“They not only excelled on the field, but they excelled in the classroom,” said Zephyrhills athletic director Bruce Cimorelli.
Cimorelli announced each scholarship recipient’s grade point average to demonstrate their dedication to grades as well as goals. Pasquale and Morrison each posted a 3.64,
Cottrell had a 3.30 and Dodd recorded a 3.22.
“They excelled in the classroom,” Cimorelli reiterated. “Without that, this would not be taking place right now. They took care of business. … Sports can be taken from you at any time, but if you get your education, you’ll have that for the rest of your life.”
Bulldogs football coach Reggie Roberts praised the three football players for helping the team to improve as the season progressed and for their willingness to work hard in practice, in the weight room and in the classroom.
Roberts predicts that the squad will improve as a result of the influence the three players had on the rest of the team and that their influence would carry on past their graduation. He encouraged them to return in the future to see what they started.
“Any success I have here, you guys created the foundation for,” Roberts said.
Softball coach Craig Milburn, Zephyrhills’ former athletic director coach said, “These are the days that make coaching worthwhile.”
Milburn also praised Pasquale for her hard work and her achievements and thanks the parents of all the students on his team for their confidence in him.
The softball team went 13-15 last season and recorded one of the biggest upsets of the year by defeating top-seeded Sunlake 6-1 in the Class 4A-District 8 tournament. As a pitcher, Pasquale had 2.51 ERA and a team-high 130 strikeouts. She also led the squad with a .414 batting average, 41 hits, 20 runs scored 18 RBI and 14 doubles.
Although Milburn was Pasquale’s coach, it was his contact with Pikesville that paved the way for the three football players to be selected for scholarships.
Milburn introduced Dayne Brown, Harmony High football coach who will soon leave the central Florida school to become the defensive coordinator for Pikesville.
“We were fortunate to have a connection with coach Milburn,” Brown said. “These are the type of people we want to recruit at the University of Pikesville.”
Brown added the young men would be able to reuse their Bulldog clothing as Pikesville’s colors are also orange and black.
Morrison, a tight end and defensive end, had 21 rushing and 48 receiving yards last season, but was a big force as a blocker. Dodd, 240 pounds, and Cottrell, 295 pounds, were both linemen who used their size and strength up front to help the Bulldogs win two of their last three games.
–All stats as recorded to Maxpreps.com by coaches.
*The college is currently still Pikesville College and will become the University of Pikesville effective July 1.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.