EAST POINT — Tony Yeomans was putting on the brakes recently for some of the runaway expectations for this Franklin County football team.
“When I got here, people were talking about winning a football game,” Yeomans said. “Now they’re talking about the playoffs. I’m like, ‘whoa.’ ”
At the same time, Yeomans welcomes the rekindled enthusiasm surrounding the Seahawks’ program following their 6-4 turnaround in the former FSU offensive lineman’s first season at the helm. That contrasts with four wins in four seasons under three head coaches prior to Yeoman’s arrival.
He also reminds, “they know what it takes now, but what they did last year is done.”
That balances out rather nicely, however, because players have bought into the work ethic to the extent they’re bringing others with them to the weight room. In the past, coaches often had to round them up and transport them.
Franklin County will play a schedule mirroring 2017, when after opening with three losses the Seahawks came within a field goal of winning their last seven games.
The difference, Yeomans freely admitted, was a philosophy change away from a spread attack to a Wing-T approach grounded in misdirection.
“In 1A, you just don’t have the athletes to run the spread,” said Yeomans, who came to Eastpoint from Wakulla, a Class 5A program. “Here you have so many kids going both ways. When you run the spread they’re running all the time.
“We gassed them. We changed to the Wing-T and our turnover margin went from four in a game to one, and sometimes none. When you don’t turn it over you’ve got a chance to win football games, and especially the way our defense played was outstanding.”
Yeomans was busy throughout the summer taking his players to college camps to give them a glimpse of the next level. And he has some athletes who made the most of the opportunity.
“We went to seven camps this summer, not like Florida State, but places they can play at,” Yeomans said. “We have two kids who’ve already been offered, and we’re hoping to have five or six kids sign in February.”
Leading the list are Ethan Riley and Alex Hardy. Riley was second team all-state with 1,432 yards rushing and nine interceptions on defense.
Yeomans said that Riley is limited by his 5-foot-8 height, but not by his 4.5 speed. He’s attracted Faulkner State and Yeomans said that West Florida is in the mix.
Hardy is 6-3, 210 pounds, and his versatility projects him in varied directions for college coaches. FAMU has offered, Yeomans said.
“He has a chance to be special. He has great hands, is a great blocker.”
Lamarius Martin is a 5-9, 175-pound sophomore who can be used at quarterback, cornerback or wide receiver. He runs a 4.65.
Tonnor Segree is a 6-4, 205-pound defensive end who had eight sacks last season, and Rufus Townsend has supplied the cornerstone of the defense at linebacker where he’s averaged 120 stops a season the past two years.
To supplement their talent, Yeomans said a quarterback has transferred in from Liberty County and the rising eighth- and ninth-grade classes probably have more athletic potential than their predecessors.
“This team is bigger, stronger and faster,” Yeomans said. “We should have a chance if we don’t turn the football over, with our defense.
“If we can make it through the year without (key) injuries we have a chance to be in the playoffs.”
You can forgive Yeomans for running through his own roadblock at the top of the page. Hey, there’s excitement over this football season to the east in Franklin County.