The Palm Beach Post - - COL­LEGE FOOT­BALL - Alicht­en­stein@pb­post.com

“Hon­estly, I wish it could be un­der dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances,” she said. “I don’t think any­one wants their son to shine at the ex­pense of an­other player. We have been pray­ing for Mark, his surgery and a quick re­cov­ery and re­turn.”

The former Oxbridge run­ning back is the third Palm Beach County star from his class to get a start­ing role on the Hur­ri­canes. Ah­m­mon Richards, the No. 1 player on the Post’s 2016 Big Board, has be­come one of the na­tion’s top un­der­class­men wide re­ceivers, and Zach McCloud, the No. 2 player that year, has es­tab­lished him­self as a start­ing line­backer.

Now it’s Homer’s turn, and the ex­pec­ta­tions are high.

“He doesn’t get ner­vous. If he does, he does a great job of dis­guis­ing it,” Mi­ami run­ning backs coach Thomas Brown told the Post. “On the field, he’s a dif­fer­ent guy.”

His high school coach, Doug Socha, knows his former star is up to the task.

The former Oxbridge coach, now the head coach for Keiser Univer­sity’s fledg­ling foot­ball pro­gram, said the former Post Su­per 11 and All-Area pick knows pres- sure and how to re­spond to it.

In a game against Royal Palm Beach in 2015, the Thun­der-Wolves were backed up in­side their own 10-yard line. With the game be­ing played on a Thurs­day, ri­val team mem­bers pop­u­lated the stands and were heck­ling Oxbridge, Socha said.

“I think he looked over at them, and then we snapped the ball and he took it 95 yards,” Socha said. “He re­ally helped us build the foun­da­tion over there at Oxbridge and re­ally set the tone.

“He was the face of the school.” Socha said he doesn’t think he’ll make it to the game, but cur­rent Thun­derWolves coach Bren­dan Kent said Oxbridge de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor John Stell­man will be in at­ten­dance.

“We’re all ex­cited here at Oxbridge for him,” Kent said. “We’re ex­cited to watch him help that team suc­ceed through­out the rest of the year. … He’s a great kid. He’ll do well.”

From Co­ral Gables to West Palm Beach, it doesn’t seem like many are sur­prised Homer is get­ting his shot, and Valot is con­fi­dent he will make the most of it.

“I know he can han­dle it,” she said. “Travis has been run­ning all over fields since he was 7 years old. Same stage, just big­ger guys now.”

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