Former Brahman named head coach at Seminole High

SANFORD — Former Okeechobee High School Brahman Eric Lodge has been named head coach of the Seminole High School football program in Central Florida.

Special to Lake Okeechobee News
Seminole High School head football coach Eric Lodge is picutred with his wife and two daughters.

Lodge played on the Brahman football team before graduating in 2007.

He was previously the defensive coordinator at Seminole before being named head coach after former coach Don Stark took another coaching job in Georgia.

Under coach Stark, SHS football has had a remarkable run. The team had a record of 40-6 in the last four years with three postseason trips.

Lodge credits his time at Okeechobee, specifically guidance from Brahman coaches Chris Branham and Ty Smith, for giving him the foundation to get where he his today.

“My parents were divorced when I was 2, and it’s not that my dad was never around, he just wasn’t around all the time,” explained Lodge. “So the men in my life that were there every day were my football coaches. Those were the guys who I looked up to. That’s what got me into this profession.”

Lodge is joined on the Seminole coaching staff by another former Brahman — Rex Erwin.

“It’s pretty cool being able to coach with someone that you played with in high school,” said Erwin. “We’ve definitely had a few laughs reminiscing about our playing days at Okeechobee.”

Erwin is currently the offensive line assistant coach and run game coordinator at Seminole.

“As his friend, I’m thrilled that they chose him,” continued Rex. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to coach at Seminole. He’s the person that got me over here three years ago after being at Okeechobee. Strictly as a coach, I think Eric was the best choice for the job and I’m looking forward to working with him in this new capacity. Eric has worked really hard to earn this position. He’s a great coach on the field and has built strong relationships with the players and community here in Sanford.” Lodge and Erwin played with some great players during their time at Okeechobee, including Lonnie Pryor, LeShawn Henderson and Timmy Williams. But in what has often been the Achilles heel of Brahman football, those teams were held back by simply not having enough players, and so many players had to play both offense and defense.

“We had a lot of talent both my junior and senior years,” said Lodge. “But the story with us in those years is we would be really good in the beginning of the season but as we got plagued with injuries, it started to hinder our success.”

Lodge won’t have to deal with limited numbers at Seminole.

“Here we probably have 120 kids that come out every year,” Lodge said. “We don’t have to play kids both ways and we have a lot of talent. In Okeechobee you have about 30 guys that can go. That was always the struggle with us. But what sticks out most from those years is the brotherhood that you create with those 30 guys. Still friends with a lot of them today. Obviously Rex is up here with me today.”

Lodge had tried to bring Rex over to University High School when he coached there under Don Stark, but the timing wasn’t right and Erwin ended up spending time on the Brahman coaching staff.

But when Rex and his wife moved to Orlando shortly after Lodge took up a coordinator position at Seminole, the two Brahmans were able to reunite.

“Rex is a good coach,” Lodge said. “For one he has a good football mind. But also he cares. He is going to make sure he does a good job. If something doesn’t go well, it’s not going to be because Rex didn’t put in the time to prepare.”

“We built this program to have a next man up mentality,” concluded Lodge. “From the coaches to the players. If someone gets hurt, the next man steps right in. If for some reason a coach doesn’t return, there’s another guy ready to step in and take the reins. So I’m just stepping in and keeping the ball rolling, keeping this machine we created going.”

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