Big things ahead in DeSoto County sports

Louis Robinson has lots of experience on the mat and in building youth wrestling programs. He hopes to do the same in DeSoto County.

There are a couple of exciting things in DeSoto’s athletic future. For example, DeSoto High has scheduled both Charlotte and Port Charlotte to meet the Bulldogs on the football field next fall. There are several positive points about the games.

Both are good schools with fine football programs that will add points for the Bulldogs for postseason play. With the new points system in effect, even a loss to either of these teams can add more points for the Bulldogs than a win over a weaker team.

Both games will be at home in 2019—and with both teams traveling well, it will mean a bigger gate for the athletic program than some other schools such as Mulberry or Frostproof could provide. After the Tarpons open their season at DeSoto, the team will travel to Lake Placid, as they did last season. Then in the third week the Pirates come to DeSoto County.

Those dates could change, but that is the way it is tentatively set up. “We tried to schedule both of those schools here in the years that we play Hardee away, so we will have a couple of other big home games. In the years that Hardee comes here, then those are the years that we will travel to Charlotte and Port Charlotte,” said athletic director Eric Shea.

Wrestling coming to DeSoto County?

You will not be seeing men in tights and makeup with such ominous names as “The Macho Man” or “The Undertaker.” But a youth program designed for kids 4 and up through high school is currently getting things lined up and organizers hope to begin very soon.

The man getting the ball rolling is Louis Robinson. His brother, Evan, is the head coach at Charlotte High School. And Louis Robinson has all of the credentials needed to start a program and get it going in the right direction.

Robinson is a Charlotte graduate with wrestling experience dating back to 1985. He has placed in the state all four years in high school and has won just about every title and tournament in Florida except the state champion title. He has wrestled across the country in several tournaments.

He is the president of the youth wrestling club at Charlotte, with the Hammerheads gaining national and state recognition with their wrestlers. Robinson has two children, with a 5-year-old daughter who took second place in the Dixie National tournament last year.

“Both of my kids were pretty much (born) on the mat,” Robinson said. “We were having practice when my wife went into labor for our son ... and we were at a wrestling tournament when she went into labor with our girl.”

The team will start out with a “club” status. High school wrestlers, however, can wrestle for another school since the Bulldogs don’t yet have a team.

I coached wrestling for about eight years after my high-school career ended. It is a very good sport for kids of all ages and sizes. High school weight classes start at 106 pounds and go up to unlimited. So it will be a good fit, even for those who are not completely grown.

Starting at the youth level is so valuable in gaining experience, so that moves, counters and pinning combinations become second nature and something that they don’t even have to think about while on the mat.

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