It is easy to become antsy on a long-road trip — especially when you are a teenage football player with your mind fixated on a 6A state semifinal.
That was the scenario for the Tate Aggies on Thursday, as the team rode buses for nearly 470 miles to reach Seffner — the home of Armwood High and Tate’s match up in the semis.
But Tate head coach Jay Lindsey kept the Aggies on track with their routine, accented by the treat of performing Thursday’s usual walk through at Florida State University’s indoor practice facility.
“When you get a trip like this, and you make it to the fourth round of the playoffs, you deserve a treat,” said Lindsey, referring to the experience for his players. “From a coaching standpoint, we still had a normal practice (at FSU). Nothing changed, we did everything like we have the past 14 weeks.
“It was a great experience. The facility is pretty much brand new. FSU is only two-and-a-half hours away from Pensacola. We’ve got a lot of people that go to FSU’s games and watch them on TV so that made it special.”
Tate’s kicker and punter, Evan Legassey (39.2 yards-per-punt; 60 total points) called Thursday’s walk through “the best experience” Tate has had this season.
“FSU is my dream school,” Legassey said. “It was great playing on perfect flat turf. (As a kicker) the turf took away the excuse of blaming it on the grass.”
While the grass wasn’t getting in Legassey’s way, the ceiling at FSU’s indoor facility did and produced a humorous exchange between Lindsey and Legassey.
“The first punt I hit at the walk through got about one foot away from the ceiling,” said Legassey, laughing. “Coach Lindsey came up to me and said: ‘Evan, we need you to give us a crappy punt on this one, because I’m not paying for a broken light.”
While the Aggies will strive for maximum mental focus leading into Friday night’s kick off, the daytime hours should hold a few more laughs and some relaxation.
“We’re gonna hang out until about Noon (eastern time),” Lindsey said. “We want our guys to be off their feet today. At noon, we are gonna watch some film. Once 2:30 hits, our schedule is going to be like every other Friday.
“That’s why I wanted to get to Tampa a day early, so Friday can be ‘off your feet’ and normal as possible.”