Seahawks coach Aaron York is stressing to his players that it’s one step at a time as the team builds for the future.
“Our kids continued to fight during the game until the end. We are going to continue to work hard at practice and continue to get better,” he said, as he looked back on the team’s opening game loss 66-7 at home Friday night against the South Walton Seahawks.
“We are stressing to the kids, they are laying the foundation for the future success of the program. We have this week to get healthy and continue our march for success,” York said. The Seahawks have a bye this Friday night.
South Walton Seahawks coach Phil Tisa had just one win last year in his first season, a victory over Franklin County in the final game of the year.
On Friday night, with 14 returning players, Tisa’s squad picked up where they left off, cruising to a second straight win over the Seahawks.
“I told them ‘Enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow you start preparing for somebody else,’” said Tisa. “’Don’t get complacent and try to get better.’”
South Walton took the opening kickoff into Franklin County territory, and with 9:13 left in the first quarter, senior running back Anthony Gundrum trotted in from nine yards out, and senior kicker Chandler Parrett nailed the extra point, to draw first blood.
An 11-yard touchdown pass two minutes later from junior quarterback Johnathan Ortner to junior wide receiver Alex Smith, and a two-point conversion pass from Smith to junior running back Carter Edwards, gave South Walton a 15-0 lead.
A minute later senior quarterback Sage Roberts connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Smith. Three minutes later Ortner hooked up with senior Vinnie Ciurleo for a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 28-0 lead after one quarter.
Aaron York’s Seahawks opened the second quarter with their first sustained drive of the game, aided by a 25-year tear by sophomore Trenton Lee. Back-to-back first downs by junior Cole Wheeler gave Franklin County a third-and-1, and senior quarterback Logan McLeod snuck it from there for the team’s first score of the year.
“Offensively we hit a couple of big pass plays, one to tight end Trenton Lee for over 20 yards, but we did not get the running game going like we did against Wewa,” said York. “I think our depth hurt us against South Walton.”
South Walton dampened the hopes of the home crowd with 7:50 left in the half, when senior running back Zack Reese ran in from 14 yards out, for a 34-7 lead.
“We played disciplined defense,” said Tisa. “I saw some good things tonight. We played up-tempo like we wanted to and I saw areas of improvement.”
With four minutes left in the half, junior running back Harrison Schaffer scored from 11 yards out. After an interception thwarted Franklin County’s drive, Gundrum ran it in from 35 yards out to get the running clock going, and with a minute left in the half, Reese ran into the end zone from 40 yards away for a 54-7 halftime lead.
Gundrum scored both of South Walton’s rushing touchdowns in the second half. His second TD of the night came from 20 yards away with eight minutes left in the third, and his third and final one was from 10 yards out, with about 10 minutes left in the game.
“If I had to recap this game I would say I was disappointed by the outcome,” York said. “I thought we would have a better showing than what we did. Youth of our football team came out; we had a lot of missed assignments. Several times we lost coverage responsibilities and missed tackles continued to haunt us.”
York cited the play of senior linebacker Alex Causey, who had eight solo tackles and two assist tackles, and that of seventh grader Tyler Farmer, who had five solo tackles and two assists.