|PHOTO BY ROGER LALONDE|
Mike Vanderjagt owns a restaurant on Marco Island, Florida, and when approached by the Charter Middle School to coach a team that did not exist, Vanderjagt accepted. The school hired him to develop a football team from scratch. He had to hire coaches and raise funds all while teaching young teenagers how to play football.
His team had 29 kids on the roster when some of the teams they faced had twice as many kids. Some kids were old-fashioned Ironmen that played both offense and defense out of necessity. One of their star defensive backs, Patrick Michel, was also their starting running back. Twice this season, he had to fill in at quarterback. The first time that happened, he led the tram to victory while recording 3 interceptions on defense. In the last game of the season against Belen Jesuit, Michel filled in at quarterback again after the starter injured himself while kicking off. Michel led the Eagles to a come from behind victory in that final game.
After the game, Vanderjagt received a Gatorade shower from his players, then both teams went out for pizza together.
Vanderjagt will now help coach the boys soccer team. They begin play November 10.
Charter Eagles close season with 28-22 win » Marco Eagle