Any time you beat a school that’s recently been a state runner-up in Class 1A football, that has to be a good sign.
And that’s what the Franklin County Seahawks did May 17, as they traveled to Jaspar and downed the Hamilton County Trojans 14-0 in the spring game.
Coach Tony Yeomans took 32 students with him, ranging from rising freshmen to seniors. The team was without Rufus Townsend, who twisted an ankle, and Lamarius Martin, who twisted his knee, and Colton Evans.
Bu the young men who played were up to the task, as they held the Trojans, runner-ups to Port St. Joe in 2014, to no more than four first downs all night.
With rising junior Javon Pride taking snaps, the Hawks “manhandled them on the line. We’re trying to develop physicality on the line,” said Yeomans.
“We didn’t throw the ball very well. We overthrew a couple of wide open touchdowns,” said the coach. “I was looking for us to become more physical than we were last year, and see who could help us on the varsity. Everybody got a snap or two.”
Ethan Riley intercepted a pass at the end of the second quarter, and ran it back 65 yards for the score. The other touchdown came after a long drive, with Pride sneaking in from a few yards out.
“We have 14 seniors this year and we’re looking for leaders. Some of them stepped up,” said Yeomans. “Physicality wise we just handled them on the line of scrimmage.”
The coach said that in addition to strong fan support (“We had more fans than they did"), he liked what he saw among several players, including tight end Alex Hardy, who had four catches for 40 yards.
“He’s had the best spring of any kid,” said Yeomans.
He also praised the linemen, including eighth grader Wil Varnes, new at offensive guard, as well as veterans Tonnor Segree, Brice Kent, Nick Hutchins, Devin Daniels, Zander McCalpin and Cam Wynn.
Because the field was so wet, the backfield struggled, he said. “Offensively our backs are so quick but the field was in terrible shape,” Yeomans said. “They were having trouble making the cuts.”
Next on the agenda this summer are several prospect camps to further hone skills, slated for every Friday in June, and one in July. They plan to send boys to camps in Macon, Georgia, Montgomery, Alabama, Valdost, Georgia, and to FAMU in Tallahassee.
“Things are changing, kids have bought in,” Yeomans said. “They don’t complain and they don’t gripe. They hold each other accountable.”