Hanukkah begins Dec. 22

The eight-day Jewish festival known as Hanukkah or Chanukah, this year runs from the evening of Dec. 22 to the evening of Dec. 30. The celebration, also known as the “festival of lights,” commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in second century B.C., where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Syrian Greek oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. As the … [Read more...]

Youth league blends football, life lessons

In this youth football program, life lessons are just as important as fundamentals of tackling, blocking or catching. Winning is nice and all, but the Keystone Bills youth football and cheerleading organization is more about developing tomorrow’s leaders, officials say. “We’re really trying to build young men and young women,” said Bills president/athletic director Jermaine Clemons, … [Read more...]

Bishop McLaughlin hires football coach with NFL pedigree

It’s not often a former NFL and NCAA Division I coach comes knocking on the door of a local high school wanting to coach youth football. But, that’s what happened at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School. Joe Vaughn spent the last seven seasons — from 2012 to 2018 — as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before that, from 2006 to 2011, Vaughn … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes standout finds home in new pro football league

Not too long ago, Shaheed Salmon was making thumping defensive stops as an All-State linebacker all over the gridiron of John Benedetto Stadium at Land O’ Lakes High School. He’s still doing the same — now, as a professional football player. The 2014 Land O’ Lakes High graduate is a backup linebacker in the American Alliance of Football’s (AAF) Birmingham Iron franchise. The league is … [Read more...]

Locals make 2018 NFL rosters

The NFL season is underway and a handful of athletes from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area wound up making rosters, proving themselves worthy throughout training camp and preseason action. Here is a look at the locals now playing at football’s highest level: Janarion Grant, receiver—Baltimore Ravens College: Rutgers University (Piscataway, New Jersey) High School: Pasco High School; … [Read more...]

McGough, other local athletes get NFL shots

The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, and one athlete from The Laker/Lutz News Coverage area had the privilege of hearing his name called during the three-day event from April 26 to April 28 — Gaither High School product Alex McGough. McGough was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round (220th overall) as a quarterback out of Florida International University. A four-year … [Read more...]

New Land O’ Lakes football coach embraces program’s traditions

Chad Walker, a veteran college football assistant, is bringing his experience to Land O’ Lakes High as its new head varsity football coach. He is replacing Brian Wachtel, who resigned in November after a combined 25-42 mark in seven seasons. His only winning season was in 2013, when the team went 8-3. Walker, was among 40 applicants for the position. The Pennsylvania native was selected … [Read more...]

Cypress Creek football coach earns weekly honor

Elsewhere in the Pasco County prep football scene, Cypress Creek head football coach Mike Johnson recently earned Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach of the Week honors for his team’s Week 1 win over Gulf High on Aug. 25 — the school’s inaugural regular season football game. The honor means Johnson will receive a $2,000 grant to help maintain and upgrade the Cypress Creek football program. At the … [Read more...]

Facility upgrades highlight Leaguerettes 2017 season

Coming off a calendar year of fast-pitch softball, the Lutz Leaguerettes have taken another step forward. The girls recreational softball league recently announced the completion of several new capital improvement projects at both Oscar Cooler and Nye parks. Some of the highlights: Field refurbishments, including new clay and magnetic break-free bases on all five fields Outdoor … [Read more...]

Former Wharton standout back in Tampa Bay

It’s not often a local high school football star is drafted in the NFL. It’s even less likely for a prep star to be drafted his hometown NFL franchise in the first round of the draft. But that’s what happened when former Wharton High cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was picked 11th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28. Hargreaves, who graduated from … [Read more...]