By JACOB HOAG
Balancing life as a high schooler isn’t as easy as it seems, but during the summer, most kids get a much-needed reprieve from the rigors of school and athletics.
Others don’t, especially dual-sport athletes, who endure constant training in order to compete in the sports the love.
Port Charlotte’s rising junior Logan Rogers has spent much of the past two months on the back fields of the high school or in the gymnasium.
But he’s not just any two-sport athlete that plays a role on both teams. As a second-year starter at quarterback and an evolving guard for the basketball team, he has morphed into a leader and role model for the rest of the team in just over a year.
“(Logan’s) increased understanding of the offense has really elevated him as a leader,” Port Charlotte football coach Jordan Ingman said. “We had a 7-on-7 the other week and you could just see how much more control he has of the offense. People can come ask him questions and he’s able to answer them.
“One thing I respect about (Logan) is, with two-sport athletes, it’s very hard on them because there’s really no offseason. Especially in the state of Florida. Basketball’s all year, baseball’s all year, football’s all year. It’s hard to be a two-sport athlete and compete at a high level like he does.”
Rogers’ primary focus these days is preparing for the upcoming football season since it’s first up on the schedule with the Pirates’ first game against Lemon Bay on August 23. But basketball has cut in as well.
For much of June, Rogers has been practicing with the football team Monday through Friday — lifting and working through offensive schemes — and has also mixed in basketball conditioning and has competed in basketball tournaments on the weekends.
It’s been pretty nonstop for a good stretch. Luckily for him, basketball ended this week.
He often worked out in the mornings with the football team and then jumped right to the courts after. It’s taken a toll, but so far he’s been able to handle it without complaint.
But it’s not like the two sports don’t play off each other.
Rogers said he has seen a physical growth in both sports, mainly due to his cross-sport training. Basketball has helped him develop speed and the added running has helped him with his endurance.
On the flip side, Football has engrained a gritty toughness in him that allows him to drive into the lane and withstand contact. The added weight and strength from football hasn’t hurt either.
“It’s been good,” Rogers said. “Football gets me stronger for both sports and then I head to basketball, which is more conditioning. It’s been getting me ready for both sports at the same time.
“The weight room obviously helps me with both. Lifting is always good. Basketball conditioning, I would say, is 10 times harder than football. It really helps me out here on the field. All the running for football is really nothing for me.”
Dual-sport athletes are often encouraged at Port Charlotte and the Pirates have many. Receivers Tyler Perry and Shemar Fleurissant played both sports last year along with Rogers, getting the football team on the verge of the playoffs before going on a 23-0 regular season run on the hardwood.
With that push comes a trust between coaches to take care of players and work together to manage their workload.
“We encourage our kids to play multiple sports,” Ingman said. “One thing that was really cool is, we had a great basketball season last year obviously and our football guys took so much pride in going to watch our basketball guys because there was so many of our guys on there.
“I love it. Coach (Kip) Rhoten’s a great basketball coach so when we send our kids to basketball, we know they’re going to a highly-conditioned, highly-disciplined environment. So when (Logan) shows back up he’s in good shape and used to having to be on time to things. He hasn’t developed any bad habits just because he was at basketball.”
Fleurissant saw Rogers’ work ethic firsthand and thought he proved a lot even as a young guy on the team.
He watched him often thrust his 5-foot-7, 155-pound frame into piles of charging lineman for a quarterback sneak or dive for a loose ball to secure a steal. He regularly put his body on the line for the team and his teammates have responded.
“During football it was his first year playing high school and he knew he had lot to learn and knew that he would take most of the blame cause he played quarterback,” Fleurissant said. “But even when he fumbled or threw an interception, he would take the blame even if it wasn’t his fault.
“He hated losing and when we were, he always motivated others to keep playing to the final horn. During basketball his role was easy, he was the sixth man and very reliable. Since we had five seniors he knew he didn’t have to do much, but score a couple points ,handle the ball and play defense.”
That was last year. This year, he moves into a much bigger role for the Pirates in both sports.
He’s the quarterback. He’s counted on to move the ball on offense and know each position’s role, leading the team, they hope, back to the playoffs.
After that, he’s tasked with trying to help fill the void left by probably five of the most successful seniors in Port Charlotte history, stepping into a potential starting position.
This year, he isn’t the young, inexperienced kid fresh out of Pop Warner. He’s established and ready to build on a strong first year as the starter.
Last year Rogers threw for 1,152 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions, adding seven rushing touchdowns.
Entering Year 2, he’s more confident as a thrower, an established leader and has seen an uptick in his Football IQ. Though basketball season is sort of on the back burner for now, he’s added plenty to his game there as well.
“Even in the 7-on-7s, the game has just slowed down,” Rogers said. “It’s much easier. I can read stuff before the play even happens.
“For basketball, my role is much bigger this year with five seniors gone. It’s kind of everyone looking up to me now. Me having to get on to people and lead by example so they can follow. (Leadership) has been with me for most of my life. It’s sort of natural when people look up to me or come to me it’s like, ‘Alright, I know what I need to do, let’s get to it.’ It’s nothing new to me.”