Plantation High School honors undefeated team

Plantation High School recently had a memorable homecoming weekend as they recognized one of their top teams in school history. The 1995 Plantation High School varsity football team, which had an undefeated regular season, was honored on the field at halftime on Friday, October 16.

It was the 20th anniversary since the season, which turned the school’s varsity football program into a contender again in Broward County. The 1995 football team went 10-0 in the regular season, which at the time marked the first undefeated regular season in 25 years for the school. After winning two playoff games, they were bounced out of the playoffs by Miami Northwestern Senior High School. The 12 wins for the season and the deep playoff run sparked the school’s football program.

Barry Lanese was the starting quarterback for the 1995 squad. He played three years at the varsity level and was a starter for two years. He recalls the special bond on the field with his teammates.

“We still talk about that year and the team all the time,” Lanese said. “We played together and were a band of brothers. We reached the playoffs all three years I played. We had standout guys and clicked and it was all about the team.”

The 1995 Plantation High School squad won in convincing fashion throughout the season with a strong running attack and a dominant defense. Frank Hepler, who graduated from Plantation High School, was the head coach of the team and Carl Schneider was the offensive coordinator. Kevin McKenzie was the second leading rusher in Broward County and Duke Gelsey also was a key contributor to the running game. The team also had two highly touted National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletes; Jerry Carmichael, who played at Florida State University, and Al Blades, who played at the University of Miami.

“We helped make it exciting on the field for Plantation High School and it was a lot of fun,” said Lanese, who is resident of Sunrise and a restaurant manager at Ruby Tuesday in Coral Springs.

Billy Hamilton played on the offensive line for four years and was the starting left guard for the 1995 team. He also was a member of the track team in the shot put and discus. He noted how special the event was to him.

“It was so great to see the guys again as I lost touch with some of them,” Hamilton said. “It was very cool to me. I brought my family and a lot of the other guys also had families there.”

Hamilton, of Davie, has been a police officer for 17 years for the Plantation Police Department. He is in his first year as a school resource officer for South Plantation High School.

“I remember that we had a lot of guys that had a lot of passion what they did on the field,” Hamilton said. “The coaches were great and made it really special for us. We packed the stands and we had a lot of great players.”

The current version of the Plantation High School varsity football team defeated Western High School, 42-21, on homecoming night.

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