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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Sunday, May 7, 2017 1 year ago

Edgewater football coach Cameron Duke seeks to restore program’s pride

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Cameron Duke wants to restore the Edgewater High School football program to its former glory through energy and consistency.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

Edgewater High School football coach Cameron Duke is finally feeling right at home — but he’s not putting his feet up to relax.  

Practices are underway. Time to go to work. 

It’s almost football season. 

The Edgewater Eagles have a new coach on the gridiron this year, and he hopes to move the program in the right direction after a dismal season last year. The team struggled in most areas of the game and the only won a single game last season. 

Enter Duke. 

This isn’t the coach’s first time looking to bring a team back to its winning ways. Duke previously spent three seasons at Lake Highland Preparatory School. The job was his first as a head coach after a long career of several assistant coaching jobs. 

At Lake Highland, he took a struggling program that went 0-10 and 1-9 in back-to-back years and led it to winning records in two of the next three seasons. 

As he looks at Edgewater’s team and their painful memories from last year, Duke sees another challenge: one he embraces. 

“Our whole motto this year is, ‘Restore the Pride,’” Duke said. “We always talk about what does it look like, not just on the field but as a student athlete, as a young man. How are we going to restore the pride of the Edgewater football program?” 

Duke said he hopes not only to bring his energy to the program but also his consistency. The program needs it, he said. The team has been through five football coaches in the past six years before Duke took up the mantle. 

A job at Edgewater makes perfect sense, Duke said. The longtime coach grew up in Clermont and attended East Ridge High School, where he played as a slot receiver. 

A series of different assistant coaching jobs led Duke everywhere from Chiles High School in Tallahassee to Mosley High School in Panama City in the past 14 years. 

Now he’s come back home. He’s always loved Central Florida, and he’s always loved public schools. 

“It feels like home,” Duke said. “I love the area. I love Orlando, and I love being at Edgewater. It just feels right.” 

Duke said he sees an Edgewater team that has plenty of room for improvement but still has a strong, focused mindset and demeanor. After a disappointing season, Edgewater players are buying into their new coach’s “Restore the Pride” motto. The initials “RTP” will be written on everything the players wear. 

The Eagles want a district championship, and the hard work starts now. 

“We’ve got to go hard in the weight room this summer,” safety Jaylon Ward said. “We’ve got to play the right football.” 

“We need to play more as a team than individuals,” linebacker Jalen Taylor said. “We want to bring Edgewater back.” 

The Eagles will hit the gridiron for their spring football game on May 19 against Freedom High School. 

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

See All Articles by Tim

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