June 28, 2024

Family Legacy: Versatile Sophomore Carries Torch at Umatilla High

1.8 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Family Legacy: Versatile Sophomore Carries Torch at Umatilla High

1.8 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

Bryce Norflee 

Umatilla High School sophomore Bryce Norflee is lighting up the football field just like his father, Brian, did. 

Brian, who played on the 1983 State Champion Eustis football team and earned a gridiron scholarship to Valdosta State University, began instilling lessons in Bryce from a young age.

“I always tell him, ‘Study hard but have fun,’” Brian says. “Years ago, we didn’t always have near the academic opportunities that exist today in Lake County. But you see what’s happening in our community and the opportunities that exist for young kids and I am so grateful Bryce is afforded those opportunities.”

And dad isn’t the only source of inspiration. Bryce, the youngest of 10 children, looks up to his siblings and mother, Erica Sims. 

“She has been there with me every step of the way. Late nights, early mornings,” Bryce says. “She’s a natural-born athlete and played high school basketball at Leesburg High. She means everything to me.”

During his freshman football season at First Academy-Leesburg, Bryce scored seven touchdowns, made 27 tackles and intercepted two passes while playing a variety of positions, including running back, wide receiver and cornerback. 

Bryce has had no problem adapting to different positions. As a young up-and-coming athlete, Bryce learned both sides of the ball, so fans can expect big things when he suits up at Umatilla High for head coach Eric Samuels in 2024. 

Talking with Bryce, it’s clear that he has a passion for football as well as other sports, including basketball. 

As an 8th-grader, Bryce started on First Academy—Leesburg’s varsity high school basketball team. As a freshman, he averaged 12 points per game. 

Bryce is looking forward to the opportunity to play for the Umatilla High School basketball team coached by Patrick Todd, a program that has been on the rise. In fact, the past few years have been the best in Umatilla High’s history. 

Bryce is determined to contribute to his new school’s legacy. He enjoys working out in the gym and is not afraid to wake up early to get after it. 

“I do my best to show a hard work ethic and hope that rubs off on my teammates. The harder you work, the more it will pay off,” Bryce says.

Asked about what advice he’d give to young players, Bryce replies: “Just put your trust in coaches and never think you can’t do it. I have always thought I can do anything I put my mind to. That has helped me push through any challenges I have encountered in life.” 

Leave A Comment

About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

Share This Story!

Never miss an issue,  Sign up for the Style Newletter!