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Crystal River football coach delivers snacks and life lessons to players

Posted at 4:03 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 17:26:16-04

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — The Crystal River High School football team should be wrapping up spring football right about now.

“We would actually play our spring game tomorrow,” second-year head coach Cliff Lohrey said.

With no practice due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lohrey has found another way to connect with his players.

“Once the official word that spring ball was going to get canceled, I thought it was important for our guys to be seen and for me to see them," Lohrey said.

Lohrey made it a goal to visit every football program player, from varsity to junior varsity. That’s when he began rolling up the miles in his “Life Lessons with Lohrey mobile unit.”

His SUV even has a personalized magnetic sign.

“I just roll up honking my horn.”

Sometimes too early for high school kids.

“Sleep boogers in their eyes, you could see the look on their face wondering what I was doing there,” Lohrey said.

Each visit involves a snack, typically a Little Debbie and a Gatorade, and conversation.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” junior varsity RB/LB James Ayers said. “You haven’t seen any other coach do that. Coaches at Lacanto and Citrus aren’t doing that.”

“It’s awesome to have him around,” junior varsity quarterback Jeff Jones added. “Lean on him and know he can be a rock. It’s nice to have a second dad if you need him.”

And that’s where Lohrey’s life lessons come in.

“Whether it’s talking about family, trust, brotherly love,” varsity RB/LB Noah Bresson said. “For him to do that, it’s just another lesson to care for others, love others even when times are tough.”