A challenging season for Jesuit Tigers - FOX 13 News

A challenging season for Jesuit Tigers

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's been a season of challenges for the Jesuit Tigers.

First, they have a new head coach. Then, Vinny Testaverde completely changed the offense after stepping in week one as the offensive coordinator.

And hours before the regular season finale against Tampa Catholic, his son found out he would need surgery for his appendicitis.

The Tigers have overcome it all.

"You said it all," said Jesuit Head Coach Matt Thompson. "They just worked through it. You know, we don't let anything get us down."

"The next guy steps up."

Vincent Testaverde Jr.'s scar is still healing, leaving the Tigers offense into the hands of junior backup Trent Wessel, the emergency starter the last two games.

"Coach Testaverde preaches it, we are all just one play away," Wessel says. "Everyone, one play away. One play away in life, and you're one play away out here on the football field."

Walking by Jesuit's football monument that honors the school's only football state title in 1968 is a daily reminder to the players how long it's been. Overcoming all the adversity this season makes the players and coaches wonder if this will be the 'Year of the Tiger'.

"You think about it at night," Wessel said. "It's what you dream about, winning that state championship. Holding the trophy high, but now we have to focus on Lake Wales."

The Tigers got a treat this week when Testaverde broke out his 1986 Heisman Trophy for a little extra mojo. His message was that it's not about personal trophies or achievements.

"They were all amazed," said Testaverde Jr. "I pretty much see it every day, but to them it was great."

"The trophy that actually meant the most to him was his Punt, Pass and Kick Trophy from 1972," Thompson said.

"What Jesuit is about is teamwork. It's not about individual awards or individualism. It's achieving team goals."

The Tigers are still three wins away from playing for a trophy.

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