Freeport’s top sports of all time celebrates football, basketball, track

When it came to compiling names for Freeport's Mount Rushmore of top sports figures, and filling in the Bulldogs' athletic history pre-2012, the year I came to the Emerald Coast, I turned to the most Freeport person I know: Blake McCormick. The 2001 Freeport alumnus and local writer bleeds Bulldog blue and orange. His "Rentz Cycle" page on Facebook reflects that, as does his coverage praising new hires and wins small and large.

All while weaving in a little self deprecation for a program still young but growing. Blending his advice with what I've seen in person, I think Freeport's Mount Rushmore goes between experience and youth. As for the fifth name, vote below for who you feel should've been included.

Spring All-Area: Expanded softball all-area team celebrates Baker, FWB, Niceville, South Walton and more[1] Spring All-Area: South Walton, Paxton, Crestview, Niceville, FWB shine on all-area baseball list[2]

David Burke

Burke shares the distinction of being both an iconic athlete and coach at Freeport. As a player, he's the leading scorer and rebounder for the boys basketball program.

Burke led the Bulldogs to their only boys championship in 1968, scoring 39 points in the state semifinal and 34 in the championship to finish with 883 points that year (27.6 average). That year he also won state gold in the track and field high jump. Burke went on to play at Gulf Coast Community College, now Gulf Coast State College, where the Commodores went 24-7 and 30-3.

Burke still holds the record at Gulf Coast for the most free throws made in a career (284) and the most free throws attempted in a season (247).

Gabe Moore

You know you've made it when the county names a day after you. That's just what happened to Gabe "The Babe" Moore on May 20, 2014. Moore was a multi-sport athlete who was an all-state quarterback as a sophomore and the Daily News Player of the Year.

He focused solely on track his senior year, winning state gold in the long jump, finishing second in the 110-meter hurdles, placing third in the pole vault and earning his fourth state medal with a seventh-place finish in the discus. He went on to win the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals pentathlon before shining at the junior college level, winning the NJCAA indoor national title in the heptathlon and the outdoor national championship in the decathlon before going to Arkansas. There he became a three-time second-team all-American and a first-team All-American in the heptathlon.

Katie O'Neal

O'Neal's scoring prowess was limitless during Freeport's state championship run in 2015, the one and only in the history of the girls basketball program.

In earning the Sunshine State's 1A Player of the Year, she posted one of the best stat line in Florida prep ball: 22.8 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game; 47 percent field-goal shooting, 41 percent on 3-pointers, and 2.4 makes beyond the arc per game. She finished her prep career with 1,579 points, including 100 in a four-game playoff stretch that culminated in the rout of Wildwood. O'Neal went on to the University of West Florida, where she helped lead the Argonauts to a Sweet 16 appearance her sophomore year and hit 60 3-pointers, good for seventh on the all-time UWF list.

Aubrey Rentz

There couldn't be a Freeport Mount Rushmore without Aubrey Rentz.

After running cross country and playing football at then Troy State University, Rentz came to Freeport in 1963 and became the head boys and girls track & field coach. That soon blossomed into a jack-of-all-trades coaching role. His girls track & field team won a state title in 1986 and went undefeated in regular-season meets for seven years in the 1980s.

The boys team finished third at the state meet in 1968 and were a powerhouse in the 1970s. Along with leading track and field to 14 district titles, he also coached the boys and girls cross country programs for 25 years, taking the girls team to a third-place finish at the state meet in 1986. Basketball was also close to his heart.

He coached the boys basketball program for 11 years, winning a state title in 1968 and amassing a 176-113 record. He coached the girls from 1981 to 1999 with 18 winning seasons, a region finals appearance in 1999 and a career record of 245-159. Fittingly, the Freeport High Gymnasium is named after him.

Further cementing his place in Freeport lore, he started the football and softball programs at Freeport and of course helmed both programs.


  1. ^ Expanded softball all-area team celebrates Baker, FWB, Niceville, South Walton and more (
  2. ^ South Walton, Paxton, Crestview, Niceville, FWB shine on all-area baseball list (