Gore seeking high turnout for Indian football

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By Sean Arnold

Adam Gore’s goal to attract more Chiefland High School students to play football has already hit a snag.The Indians’ first-year head football coach found out that one of the program’s set of uniforms only has enough for 37 players.

If Gore gets his way, that won’t be enough.

“Well, that’s a problem, because we’re going to have more than 37 kids,” he said at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Chiefland. “So it’s something we’re working to address.”

Gore had some more number problems for the Club. His research concluded that the average tenure for head football coaches at the school since Tommy Maloy’s departure in 1987 is 2.9 years.

“If it’s a marriage, there are some issues going on if every 2.9 years I’m finding a new wife,” he joked.

Gore, who was hired in January to succeed Aaron Richardson, who lasted five years at the helm, is under no illusions that his longevity will not depend largely upon winning games. His first priorities toward that end – he’s already hired a collection of young assistants – are hitting the hallways to encourage students to come out for football, and reaching out to the community for support.

“I can’t promise wins, I can’t promise a state title,” he said. “In the history of our school, we’ve made the playoffs 10 times (since the start of the playoff system in 1963). So it’s not like we’re at Alabama. We can be, but our tradition says that we’ve made it 10 times.

“I can promise you we’ll be physical, I can promise you we’ll be strong, and I can promise you that we’ll have numbers.”

Gore was head coach at Bell for a season, where he went 5-4 before resigning for family reasons. He’s also been an assistant coach and coordinator at Chiefland and Dixie County.

Gore said today’s youth have a lot of choices, which means the hard work has to be mixed with some fun.

“It’s really selling yourself and selling your school to be a part of something, to show ‘em you’re committed to them, that you care about them.

“You hear so much (from students) at the school, ‘I can’t wait to get out of here.’ And that’s great, that’s what your direction is. But I also want these kids to know that Chiefland’s a great place to grow up, it’s a great place to raise a family, and it’s a great place to go to school.”

Gore added that building up the participation levels, while it comes with its own challenges, will add to the competition at practice and make for a better football team.

His other major goal is to strengthen the bond between the football program and the community. He warned the collection of business owners and community leaders at the Rotary to be prepared for a visit.

“I plan on knocking on your doors, bringing you a hat and asking for your help,” he said. “It may not be anything other than giving me advice on how you run your business; it may be help with money. I’m smart enough to know that no matter who’s standing here, they can’t do it alone. I need community support, I need good coaches, and then we can change that 2.9 years thing.”

Gore is encouraging past players to come back to talk with today’s team.

“Who on the football team is going to be the next head coach of Chiefland?” Gore said. “That’s what I think about when I see the huddle. Who’s going to be the next guy we talk to when we need a loan? Who’s going to be the next property appraiser? Who’s the next attorney or accountant? They’re on that team. They’re going to be wearing that uniform. So we need to be looking at it that way, and think, in a small way, we’re kind of helping shape Chiefland’s future.”

Gore also revealed next season’s opponents, starting with Wildwood for the spring game. Under the new playoff rules, Class 1A schools make their own schedules and there are no districts.

The Indians play their preseason kickoff classic at Bell before opening the regular season at home against Trenton, which will be competing in Class 4A. The remainder of the opponents include: Branford; Mayo-Lafayette; Jasper-Hamilton County; Cross City-Dixie County; New Direction Academy (Haines City); Hilliard; Hawthorne; Bronson and Williston.