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Jared Watson, Casey Contreras receive Minahan awards

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The finalists for the Bill Minahan Award in football and flag football were not selected solely for what they did on the field. The criteria had to do more with leadership, loyalty and compassion — among the many traits that best describe the former Jesuit football coach the award is named after. 

Berkeley Prep offensive lineman Jared Watson and Steinbrenner wide receiver/linebacker Casey Contreras, the two winners, embodied those characteristics. 

Watson, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, devoted plenty of his time helping other children while going through the grueling stages of chemotherapy. He also spent more than 500 hours with community service projects, such as Meals on Wheels and Feeding Tampa Bay. 

Contreras, now in her fourth season with the Warriors’ flag football team, has served as a particularly on the academic side. Her help is a big reason Steinbrenner is the four-time defending Class 2A academic state champions, an honor awarded to the team with the highest combined GPA.

“(The award) is more than just how I am as a player or what I do on the field,” Contreras said. “It means a lot to get an award that’s based on more than that, one that is based more on my character and how I serve others in my community. 

“It’s really important to me to make sure that the blessings I’ve received throughout my life I’m giving back to others”

Watson and Contreras each received a scholarship check for $2,500.

The other finalists, who each received a $1,500 scholarship, included:

  • Henry Griffin, Wharton: The defensive tackle/linebacker overcame the loss of his father to excel in academics and athletics. He plans to honor his father;s Navy background by serving in the United States military.
  • Deon Silas, Steinbrenner: The 2019 Minahan Award winner is an Iowa State signee who has been elected the Warriors’ team captain a school record three straight seasons. 
  • Deborah Carvajal, Leto: The student government officer also is an academic leader and is passionate about changing the culture at her school. 
  • Catalina Rodriguez-Kretz, Sumner: She is president of the Student Government Association, a member of JROTC and is on the school’s swim, soccer and flag football team. 

Minahan, who died in 2013, coached at area high schools for 38 years, including 28 at Jesuit, where he led the Tigers to the 1968 state football title — the only one in school history. Minahan’s widow, Martha, was instrumental in starting the award in 2015. More than $55,000 in scholarships have been given to winners and finalists in the past seven years.     

Flag Football

Flag football: Casey Contreras named top player in Hillsborough

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Steinbrenner’s Casey Contreras had a knack for picking off opposing passers, so much that she was recognized as the top flag football player in Hillsborough County. 

The senior took home the Happy Home Goods Outstanding Flag Football Award in large part for recording a county record 40 interceptions in her career. It is the first time the Warriors had a player win the award. 

Contreras contributed in other ways, too. She served as a team mentor, particularly on the academic side. Her help is a big reason Steinbrenner is the four-time defending Class 2A academic state champions, an honor awarded to the team with the highest combined GPA.

Her leadership, loyalty and compassion played a role in a season filled with honors. 

In January, Contreras was the female winner of the Bill Minahan award, given annually to two student athletes who excel on and off the field. 

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Flag Football

Flag football: Robinson’s Sydney Stout named state’s top player

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout, who rewrote the record book as a passer while leading the program to its fifth straight state title, was named Miss Flag Football, the award given to the top overall player in the state by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

After missing last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the senior took over as the Knights’ starter this season and shattered the state records for yards (5,086), touchdown passes (111) and completion percentage (74).  

That prolific passing attack was a big reason Robinson went 22-0, outscoring foes by a combined 876-65 en route to their fifth straight state title in Class 1A and sixth overall. 

Stout beat out Newsome quarterback/defensive back Devyn Silvestri for the top honor. Silvestri, who led the Wolves to their first state title, was named the 2A player of the year. Newsome’s Justin Shive was named the top overall coach in the state.

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Flag Football

Robinson’s Sydney Stout named 1A state player of the year

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout, who produced astonishing numbers while leading the program to its fifth straight state title, was named the Class 1A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

The senior, who took over as the starter this season, shattered the state records for yards (5,086), touchdown passes (111) and completion percentage (74).  

That prolific passing attack was a big reason the Knights went 22-0, outscoring foes by a combined 876-65 en route to their fifth straight state title and sixth overall. 

The winners in each classification were selected through voting from a statewide panel of girls flag football coaches and media representatives. They are now eligible to be named the overall winner in the state, which will go through another round of voting and likely be announced next week. 

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