As a first-year team, Golden Gate will likely take some lumps this season.The Titans are young — they only have eight seniors. Golden Gate has a difficult schedule — it will play against such teams as Barron Collier, Gulf Coast and Lely.But with Dave Tanner as their coach, the Titans don’t expect to be taking lumps for long. Tanner transformed Dunbar from a brand-new program in 2000 to a team that went 8-2 last season.
“I give coach Tanner three to four years and this program will be going 7-3, 8-2 every year, I guarantee you,” Golden Gate senior quarterback Brett Norris said. “You saw what happened at Dunbar. He took a brand-new school and turned it into a powerhouse.”He knows what kind of players he has, and he knows how to use them.”
Tanner has a 160-79-1 record in 28 seasons of coaching high school football.When he went to Dunbar in 2000, the team consisted of all freshmen and sophomores. The squad went 8-1-1 playing a junior varsity/freshmen schedule in its first season.Four years later, the Tigers were regarded as one of the area’s most dominant Class 2A teams.
Tanner, who moved to Golden Gate to be closer to his home in Naples, has a similar plan for the Titans.”In four years, I want to be one of the top Class 3A teams that people talk about,” Tanner said. “I’m not saying I expect to be the top team. I’m not saying we’ll make it far in the playoffs every year. But when people talk about the best 3A programs in the state, I want Golden Gate to be mentioned.”
So how will the Titans do this season?”We won’t be any world-beaters. We’re too young,” Tanner said. “But we’ll be competitive and that’s all that I can ask for.”Norris, a transfer from Barron Collier, has two years of varsity experience under center. He threw for 661 yards and seven touchdowns for the Cougars last season.
Junior Nickson Gilles, another transfer from Barron Collier, will be the team’s top tailback. Gilles was academically ineligible for the Cougars the last two seasons.”I think the same thing will happen at Golden Gate,” said Tanner, referring to Dunbar’s turnaround. “If we stay on task with these freshmen and sophomores, by the time they get to be juniors and seniors, we’ll be a very fine football team.”
School counting on coach to be effective like he was building Dunbar
News-Press File PhotoFirst-year Golden Gate coach Dave Tanner turned around Dunbar when he arrived at the school in 2000.