Carl Augustin and
Cypress Creek Stars Still
Learning the Game
WHEN CARL AUGUSTIN WAS A FRESHMAN,
he didn’t even know how to put on his shoulder pads.
But at Orlando’s Cypress Creek, that’s not unusual,
according to second-year coach John Tezik.
“Most of our kids come to high school with little
or no background in the game,” said Tezik, whose
school has a large number of students whose
families are from Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and
other countries. “Many of them played soccer or
some other sport.
“You’d like to have more kids who have been
around football more, and you can just hone their
skills. But it’s exciting and rewarding to teach
something new to kids and watch them blossom.”
Augustin, a senior wide receiver and defensive
back, is an example of a player who has developed.
“I used to watch football on TV with my uncle,
and it looked cool,” said Augustin, who lived in
Baltimore before moving to Orlando for middle
school. “When I first tried on pads, I had to ask my
teammates for help.”
Augustin picked things up quickly and now
hopes to emulate teammate Isaac Cenescar, a
wide receiver and defensive back who has Haitian
Cenescar, who started playing football just one
year earlier than Augustin, has become a big-time
prospect. He earned offers from Florida, Missouri
and Kentucky after catching 21 passes for 515
yards and eight touchdowns last year. He also intercepted four passes and ran a kickoff for a score.
“I was determined to learn the game,” said
Cenescar, who wants to be a surgeon when he is
finished playing football.
Cypress Creek, a Class 8A school, had a 1-9
record last year playing in a tough district that
includes state power Dr. Phillips. But Cenescar is
optimistic about the coming season.
“At one point, I wished I had a better team,”
Cenescar admitted. “But this has humbled me and
made me a better leader. All we can do is get better.”
– WALTER VILLA
Weeki Wachee Players Support Friend Battling Cancer
IF YOU LOOK PAST THE 3-7 RECORD, you’ll find the first year of varsity football at Weeki Wachee High School was a cham- pionship season in terms of the class and
humanity shown by players and coaches.
Here’s why: When the players found out that
Nick LaBarbara, 13 years old at the time, was
battling brain cancer, they wanted to show their
support – even though most of them had never
met the Powell Middle School student.
In the players’ minds, Nick, who is the son
of Weeki Wachee principal Troy LaBarbara, was
part of the family, and they made sure to make
him part of their team as well.
“Loyalty is a big thing for us,” said Weeki
Wachee’s Marcus Applefield, a 6-6, 275-pound
left tackle who became the first player in the
school’s brief history to earn a college scholarship offer when he got one recently from Marshall University.
Applefield and coach Mark Lee were returning from a camp in Tampa during the summer of
2012 when the player suggested they stop and
visit Nick in the hospital.
From there, the team got the idea to shave
their heads in support of Nick, who was losing
his hair as a result of painful radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Local hair stylists donated their time and
shaved the heads of 57 players and six coaches
in a team-bonding exercise just outside the
“We had one kid who hadn’t cut his hair in five
or six years,” Lee said. “There was a lot of hair.”
But it was all for Nick – and that wasn’t all.
When the school played its first varsity game on
Sept. 1, 2012, against local rival Central, Nick
was an honorary captain. Wearing jersey No. 9,
he went to midfield for the pregame coin toss.