Posted: 2:25 pm Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Notebook: Park Vista’s Bussey fills a need after teammate’s health scare 

By Matt Porter

Park Vista coach Brian Dodds didn’t know what he had in Shane Bussey, who transferred from King’s Academy for his senior season. He learned quickly.

“I’ll never forget it,” Dodds said. “He threw an interception in two-a-days, then ran and blew up the kid who made the interception. I said to myself, ‘That’s a football player.’”

Bussey began the year as a quarterback but was relegated to fewer snaps thanks to emergence of sophomore Qwad Martin. He had no problems finding other ways to contribute. Since junior linebacker Heath Koji was stricken with a health condition, Bussey has filled in at outside linebacker.

“He’s doing well. He’s a tough kid,” Dodds said. “He’s learning on the fly, but he’s doing well.”

Despite Bussey’s modest numbers at quarterback — 104 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-19 passing, plus two rushing TDs – he’s still drawing lots of interest from programs. He’s committed to the University of Maine on a baseball scholarship but was recruited by the football team.

“He’s a good quarterback. He’s good under center and throws a nice ball. He never backed off playing D,” Dodds said. “It says a lot about his character. Some of the attitude around here was, ‘I don’t want to play both sides,’ but he jumped right in when we needed it.”

That need arose in mid-September, when Koji discovered he had Meckel’s diverticulum, a bulge in the small intestine present at birth. The condition can cause bleeding and stomach pain. Koji, who was leading the Cobras in tackles and sacks through three games, underwent two surgeries on his small intestine and lost more than 20 pounds. He has yet to return to school.

Because of the weight Koji has lost (and amount of classwork he has missed), Dodds said, Koji is unlikely to return this year. Dodds said he should be back stronger than ever for his senior season.

Leonard’s Provo has career day: It’s impossible to spotlight every Palm Beach County kid shining on Saturdays playing college football. (Possibly because there are more than 300 of them.) Syracuse senior tight end Nick Provo warrants a mention.

Provo, a 2007 John I. Leonard grad, had a breakout performance in Syracuse’s upset win over No. 11 West Virginia last week. Provo had six receptions for 61 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-23 win. Provo was named to the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award, given to the top tight end in college football.

Provo’s brother Nick, who also plays tight end, is a junior at American Heritage. Syracuse extended him a verbal offer before the season.

Baseball: Atlantic senior right-hander Kyle Blank committed to Lynn University.

Note: The section on Bussey was updated Nov. 3, 2011 at 5:48 p.m.

Send news tips and comments to matt_porter@pbpost.com. Follow Matt Porter on Twitter @mattyports.