The Durant Cougars will look to snap Plant City’s three-year Redman Cup winning streak as five former students are inducted to their Athletic Hall of Fame’s inaugural class.
This week Durant High School will play host to the Redman Cup Rivalry, the annual meeting between the rival Plant City Raiders and Durant Cougars.
More than just bragging rights will be on the line for Friday’s matchup, however, as the Raiders will look to remain on top of the 8A District 10 standings while Durant hopes to gain ground on Plant City and Newsome who sit just above them.
Durant has jumped out to an impressive start, heading into Friday with a 6-1 record and their lone loss on the season coming in another local rivalry against another district foe in Newsome.
Across town, Plant City enters the game with a 4-2 record on the year, with their two losses coming only to the nationally-ranked Jesuit Tigers and the undefeated Tampa Bay Tech Titans.
Plant City has left victorious in six of the past 10 Redman Cup matchups, including the last three. But a young and talented Durant squad, led by alumnus and first-year head coach Claybo Varnum, is determined to end that streak.
In addition to the game itself, Durant will be inducting five alumni into their inaugural Durant High School Athletic Hall of Fame class.
The class will include Deshaydia Mackey, Denny Oest, Teri Ohme, Jorge Salmeron and Trae Williams.
Mackey attended Durant from 1999 to 2003, earning her mark as the best girls’ basketball player in the school’s history. Over her four years with the Cougars, Mackey led the team in every offensive category before going on to letter at the University of Tampa from 2004 to 2008. Her legacy remains at Durant as a trophy in her name is awarded yearly to the winner of the Durant/Plant City girls basketball game where the trophy then resides with the winning school for the remainder of the calendar year, much like the Redman Cup.
Oest was the first Athletic Director at Durant, serving from 1995 to 2000. He was responsible for creating schedules, ordering uniforms, overseeing the construction of athletic facilities and hiring of the athletic staff and embodied the school’s motto of, “Where Students Pursue Their Dreams.” After his time at Durant, Oest served as the principal at two different Hillsborough County sites before becoming the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum.
Ohme was Durant’s first volleyball coach and the most successful coach in school history. Her teams reached the state tournament in all nine years under her lead from 1995 to 2003. Ohme’s first team made a run to the State Final Four despite having no seniors and her 1999 squad won the school’s first State Championship. She then followed this accomplishment up with two state titles over the next three seasons. Ohme is now a teacher at Newsome High School.
Jorge Salmeron was a three-sport athlete at Durant and graduated in 2000, making his mark on cross country, soccer and track. Salmeron was the first Durant student to qualify for the State Cross Country Championships and held the school’s 5K record for several years. He later attended Florida Southern College where he competed for their cross country team. Salmeron continues to give back to the Durant community as he serves as the school’s migrant advocate.
Williams ran track and was a star for Durant’s football team from 1999-2003, remembered locally for his four-touchdown performance in an underdog victory over Lakeland High School as a senior, leading to his Class 5A, all-state second-team selection. Williams continued his football career at the University of South Florida where he would become a second-team All-Big East defensive back in 2007 before being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft and spending three seasons in the league.