Dennis Braungart was an outstanding running back on the '71 state championship football team coached by Harry Nelson.
A 3-year starter, he was one of the elite Hornet running backs to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. With Pat Coady, he combined to form a hard-hitting, almost unstoppable combo, with Pat supplying the flash and Dennis providing the brawn. He was also an excellent sprinter on the track team.
Among his most memorable moments as a Hornet athlete:
-- the first day of varsity football practice
-- the day after a loss to Colonial High School ("You just had to be there to understand.")
-- the 1971 state high school championship game
About that championship season, Dennis says "Individual statistics were not a big deal then to the guys on that team ... and still are not. At the end of each game, the only stat that mattered was the W or L."
The team, he says, was a good all-around team that made good things happen.
"Sure we had good players and coaches, but during that year everybody contributed and made big plays that won games -- on offense and defense.
The play of the offensive and defensive linemen was remarkable considering most of the time they gave up 25-30 pounds per man.
Most of the players didn't even know they were even going to the division playoffs until after the Jones game, the last regular game of the season," recalls Dennis.
"The fact we played In the Metro Conference really helped when we did start the playoffs -- our opponents during the year were bigger and faster ... Harry did whatever it took to motivate us, plus he always was prepared for the other team. "
Dennis graduated from the University of South Florida in 1978 with a degree in fine art.
For the past 20 years, he has been employed by the Florida Department of Corrections. He currently is a correction probation supervisor. Married 27 years, he and wife Brenda are the parents of three children, one of whom is deceased. Dennis and Brenda live In Varico, Florida.