Bob Henriquez says most high school football coaches come to a point late in the season when they feel completely exhausted. And if that happens often enough, chances are the coach will question whether they want to keep feeling that way year after year.
Henriquez, who has guided Tampa Catholic's program 14 seasons, admits he hit the wall after last season ended. No, he didn't want to quit, but he said he was "spent and heartbroken" by the way the Crusaders exited the Class 2A playoffs.
It came following a two-point loss to Miami Gulliver Prep, a game TC led 17-13 in the fourth quarter but failed to ice the game after being stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 6-inch line.
The day after that setback, a despondent Henriquez began to wonder about his future, which includes his wife, Carrie, and a then 1-year-old son, Drew. But he soon got a call from some of his players, including quarterbacks D.J. Williams and Christian Green, and assistant coach David Lewis.
They wanted to talk about how to prepare for the 2009 season and form a plan to reach the state title game.
"It was pretty amazing; it re-charged me," Henriquez said of the call and meeting. "I wouldn't say there was serious consideration of stepping down, but it was a pretty tough weekend all-around and we were all drained. Then we sat down on Monday and these guys were already in next-year mode."
So here TC is again, in the state semifinals (this time in 2B) and on the verge of reaching the championship game in Orlando, just like it did in 2007. The Crusaders' opponent Friday in Hollywood is another South Florida power, 12-0 Chaminade.
This time around, however, Henriquez says he is feeling little or no fatigue, despite working an off-campus job as an administrator for the Florida Department of Children and Families. And the Henriquez family will expand to two children in June with the birth of their second child.
"We've had our ups and downs this season but I feel like we're a lot more energized this time," Henriquez said. "Maybe it's because we've had two less games (one was canceled due to a flu outbreak and another because of bad weather) but I really feel like it's Week 1 again."