Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Northwestern taking great pains in order to atone

Still `hurt' after blowing a 21-0 lead in the 6A title game eight months ago, the Bulls vow to regroup and return to Orlando -- this time with a different result.

The Bulls' bid for redemption began Monday.

With dozens of fans dropping by to watch them run drills in the morning and afternoon, Northwestern kicked off its first two-a-day practice session of the fall, as official workouts began statewide.

The Bulls hope it's the first step on a journey that finishes back in Orlando in December with the school's fifth state football championship in 15 seasons.

As usual, Northwestern will have to handle the high expectations that come with playing for a program that has won 43 of its past 45 games, two state titles and one national title in 2007.

And just like 2007, this year's Bulls are in striking distance of the mythical national crown.

Northwestern is ranked No. 3 nationally by the National Prep Football poll, behind defending champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.). The Bulls also are ranked No. 5 in the ESPN RISE Fab 50 preseason poll.

Northwestern will play one nationally televised game against bitter rival Central on Oct. 8 at FIU Stadium as part of a tough schedule that includes Dade powerhouses Carol City, Booker T. Washington and Columbus.

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