Testaverde's son gets first start as Jesuit QB
TAMPA - Jesuit High junior quarterback Vincent Testaverde will get the first start in Friday's district showdown at home against Lakewood. Testaverde is the son of Heisman Trophy winner and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde, an assistant on the Jesuit staff. Tigers head coach James Harrell said Testaverde earned the start through his work ethic on and off the field and continued improvement throughout the season. ''One thing he does is spend lots of time studying (opponent) film, breaking it down and analyzing it,'' Harrell said. ''And he's done the work in practice, too.''Harrell said he expects previous starter Leland Saille to share playing time Friday. The Tigers are 5-2 overall and 5-1 in Class 5A-District 8 play. Lakewood and Robinson are both 5-0 in the district, but with Jesuit's lone league loss coming against Robinson, a loss to Lakewood could result in missing the playoffs. Testaverde has seen little playing time this season. He has completed three of seven passes for 38 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. His father works closely with the Tigers' quarterbacks, including Saille, who is 33-for-71 with 361 yards, one TD and five interceptions. The Tigers' passing game has struggled this fall, averaging just 63 yards per game. As a result, Jesuit has relied heavily on its defense and running game. The Tigers' top ground gainers are sophomore Kevin Newman (711 yards, 107 carries), senior Reggie Brown (323 yards, 33 carries) and junior Ryan Black (46 carries, 224 yards). Lakewood's defense has produced four shutouts and the Spartans' offense has outscored opponents 265-9. After winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Miami in 1986, Vinny Testaverde was a first-round pick by the Buccaneers in the 1987 NFL draft. He went on to play 21 seasons in the NFL. He also played for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.