With a coaching staff nearly entirely new to Seahawk football, and a young squad to work with, the Franklin County High School football program has a fresh start going for it when it takes the field tomorrow night at home against Wewahitchka.
“It’s a new look,” said coach Aaron York, 31, who replaces Josh Wright who took a coaching assignment in Bay County. “We’re installing discipline first and character. That’s our foundation. We tell them ‘If you don’t have these, you can’t win.’”
Veteran coach Mike Todd has been out with the team as it readies for tomorrow’s classic, but with the exception of him, all the other assistants are new.
Offensive coordinator is Scott Collins, who taught 11 years at Wakulla High School and teaches middle school social studies. He also will be the school’s baseball coach as well as coach of a newly created girls golf team.
Working with the special teams and wide receivers is middle and high school ESE teacher Gerald Tate, a 2009 Troy University grad who played wide receiver for the Trojans. He played for the state champion Venice High School team, and then in junior college in Dodge City, Kansas.
Also new to the coaching staff is middle school phys ed teacher Jonathan Creamer, a 1999 Apalachicola High School grad who holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State and recently received his master’s degree from the University of South Florida.
There’s volunteer coach Ashley Teat, an essential part of the team building component of the squad, which got a boost this week with the addition of a half-dozen players who decided to go out. Prior to that there were only about 18 players, which concerned but did not dishearten York.
“We’re changing g the mentality of the kids. ‘Enabling’ kids has been a problem. We’re holding kids accountable, and we’re helping the parents see that,” he said. “The kids we have out there, they’re the toughest kids I’ve seen.”
Also out helping is parent volunteer Jesse Page, who played two years at Carrabelle High School in the ‘90s. “I’m here because I love this community,” he said. “I love this school, and the kids.”
For parent Scott Patterson, who son transferred here from Port St. Joe after the family moved to Carrabelle, it’s a great thing to watch the program coming together.
“The coaching staff is A-1,” he said. “A great bunch of coaches, with a lot of enthusiasm. If we only had more kids come out for ball.
“These families are topnotch,” Patterson added. “Franklin County has always been a gold mine of talent. They’re going to be the grittiest and the toughest.”
Anchoring the team are four seniors, quarterback Logan McLeod, guard and linebacker Kyle Hathcock, fullback and linebacker Alex Causey, lineman Lenny Ward, wide receiver Christian Jones, quarterback Bobby John Curry, lineman Jacob Wilson and Hunter Lee.
Cole Wheeler, Brandon McPherson and Dustin Brumley are the three juniors on the squad, with a beaucoup of sophomores forming the core of the team. Taking the field as Seahawks are River Banks, Gabby Bond, Walker DeVaughn, Michael Hatfield, Jared King, Trenton Lee, Jake Robinson, Hunter Segree and Dallas Shiver.
York is hoping to attract some freshman to join the squad, and has turned to three eighth graders, Jake Patterson, Mikey Owens and Bailey Segree.
“We’re going out to in it tomorrow,” he said. “If we turn on the scoreboard we’re going to try to beat you.
“These are the toughest kids I’ve seen,” said York. “We have run them and hit them and banged them up. I’m definitely proud of them.”
The Seahawks will take Mikel Clark field at 7:30 p.m. against Wewa. Harry A’s will be the site of a team meal at 2:30 p.m., part of an ongoing program throughout the year in which churches and restaurants will combine to host a pre-game meal.