Every Team Has a Story: The JP II Cougars

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There's some rust.. Plenty of learning, and some frustration. It's the tale of John Paul II. A football team lacking enough players to scrimmage against each other.

"Right now in the spring, I have 15 players, and it's the same story, different day for us. We're new, we're waiting, we're trying to build. We're trying to do good things," explains head football coach Matthew Olesnevich.

JP-2 football enters its third year of existence. Last season, the Panthers made a run into the playoffs. Now they must deal with graduations and the need for new talent to step up. That's where Dale Harrison fits in. He's the team's new quarterback.

"It's a good opportunity to do it. I have never played it before, but I'm learning," says an eager Harrison.

"Well, that's the thing I told them on the first day. Someone's got to step up and fill a whole," adds Olesnevich.

With competition such as the defending state champion FAMU High, it's a challenge for second-year head coach Olesnevich, not to get too frustrated. Instead of concentrating the competitors, his eyes and mind are on the players in front of him.

"These are good kids and they are excited. I've got some kids who have never seen a football before, and they're out playing, and they're trying. They're doing their best, and that's just the situation we're in," explains an understanding Olesnevich.

Broken bones, and limited bodies are not a sore point at John Paul II. For the Panthers, it's just a reality they deal with, in a game played with laughs and smiles.