By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
July 25, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The 2017 high school football season is almost here, and teams from all across the Big Bend have gathered at the Wyndham Hotel in Tallahassee for media day to talk about the upcoming season.
Below will be a running commentary throughout the day, including quotes from players and coaches and video updates from our very own Asher Wildman.
RICKARDS - 6:40 p.m.
Rickards is represented by head coach Quinton Lewis, Destin Coates, Marcus Riley and Chris Pitts.
Coach Lewis’ opening statement
“This year is going to be a good one. We’ve got a real tough schedule. We open up with the biggest task we’ve ever had at Rickards in playing a team from Miami. Our goal is to make sure Rickards is known around the state for football. We return four starters offensively and three defensively.”
Coach Lewis on how key summer is with roster turnover
“I always focus on teaching the individual in spring and summer. I want them to learn how to play football. I need to teach them how to play football. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing 10 minutes or 45 minutes
Coach Lewis on the quarterback situation
“It’s not a situation, it’s Marcus Riley. I challenge him every day to learn the position. It’s a work in progress, and I stay on him every day, but he’s going to be pretty good.”
Riley on expectations he’s set for himself as the starting quarterback
“Just trying to go out and win the game.”
Coates on what he wants for him and his team
“The ultimate goal is to win a championship. For myself, I just want a great year with my teammates.”
Riley on learning as the backup quarterback last year
“I picked up on his leadership and how to carry myself.”
Coach Lewis - “He does everything he’s supposed to do. He stays late. He watches film. The goal is to make him a better quarterback - not an athlete, but a quarterback.”
Coach Lewis on the excitement surrounding Rickards
“It’s blowing up already. We’ve got maybe the toughest district in the state of Florida. Athletes aren’t a problem for us. We’ve got to play some football. The coaches that are around me - that’s the scary part. Everyone has a good coach. I’ve got to make sure I don’t get out worked or out coached by anybody.”
Players on the pride they have in the Rickards program
Pitts - “We’ve got a big mindset going into the season. Last season, that loss really got to us, so we’re gonna come in real hungry. DJ was a leader for us. We miss him. I’m just ready for the season, I’m ready to play.”
Coach Lewis - “We’re not just representing Rickards high school, we’re representing everyone who has walked through the halls. I’m not going to let them down, period. We’re gonna keep winning games. We’re going to play the game every Friday night with every ounce of our ability."
GODBY - 6:23 p.m.
Godby is represented by head coach Corey Fuller, Cortez Andrews, ReSean McKay and Martery Brown.
Coach Fuller’s opening statement
“The players are working very hard. We have a great group of young men who are committed - I don’t believe in buying in, but they’re committed. I think we’ve had one day off in seven months, and that was the 4th of July. The thing I’m really happy about is their commitment in the classroom. They’ve come together off the field, and they understand that we cannot be successful if there’s jealousy among us. I believe our kids will be committed every Friday night, but it begins on Monday."
Coach Fuller on the high intensity practices
“This is an intense game with intense people so you’re going to do some intense stuff. It’ll be high intensity. It’ll be balls to the wall, or you won’t be able to play for me. It’s high intensity every day.”
Coach Fuller on what to expect from Godby on the field in 2017
“There’s already a rich pool of talent that comes in every year. The ground is very fertile. To win only two games? That’s an insult. It’s no secret that we want to win and we want to be in the playoffs.”
Players on changes they like since Fuller has come to Godby
Brown - “We work. We go 100% with everything we do. We just want to win.”
Andrews - “Everyone’s going to work 110%. If not, everyone is going to get punished.”
Coach Fuller on FHSAA rule changes
“I only thought recruiting went on in college. In the Spring Jamboree, 19 of our starters went to Godby. All of our backups went to Godby. If you have a player that leaves, you need to look in the mirror. The rules don’t make it easier for me, it makes it easier for those who were recruiting already. I grew up in the old school way. Let the best eleven players play. I believe every child should have the opportunity to go where they want to go. But I’m not going to let coaches slander my name.”
TAYLOR COUNTY - 6:09 p.m.
Taylor County is represented by head coach Tanner Jones, Josh Mixon, Javon Ross and T.J. Lee.
Coach Jones’ opening statement
“Our team is returning 25 seniors. These guys have been with us for the past 6 years. We started when they were in seventh grade, and came up to the high school with a coaching change. They know my way. We’re very excited for the upcoming season.”
Coach Jones on getting over the hump with so many returners
“You’ve got to play every game, and you’ve got to enter every week with the mindset of being prepared. It doesn’t matter how many D1 athletes you have - if you’re not prepared, you’re not going to be successful. In order for us, and all of our seniors, to have a great year, we need to put 10 weeks of football together.”
Coach Jones on lessons learned in season-ending losing streak
“I’m sure they were upset, and then they have to look at us, and I’m not happy. For us, the challenge is to go out and bust our tail for 10 weeks. We’re not in a district, so we aren’t guaranteed playoffs. We’ve got to win every week.
Players on expectations to begin the year
Mixon - “Like coach said, we have to be mentally tough and finish.”
Players on how they survive when they play private schools as a public school
Mixon - “We’ve definitely gone up against some big private schools. Two years ago we played Providence and they didn’t think we’d win, but we did.”
Coach - “Like Josh just said, they’ve played Trinity - one of the best teams in Florida - and they’ve played them well. For us, we’ve already been through it. We’ve seen that talent, we’ve played at that level.”
Coach Jones on the importance of returning a quarterback
“With Josh, I can yell at him any time I want and he takes it. He’s coachable. A lot of our guys are coachable. You can’t replace a coachable kid.”
GADSDEN COUNTY - 6 p.m.
Gadsden Co. is represented by head coach Joey Striplin and by Dentarrius Yon, Sammy Carter, Randall Jones and Marquise Sailor.
Coach Striplin’s opening statements
“We’ve had a great summer. We wanted to get stronger in the weight room and we did that. We’re ready to play and ready to get started Monday. We’re going to be about 60 strong. The kids are ready to go.
Coach Striplin on how the team dynamic is with the combining schools
“These guys have played with each other before in the youth leagues, so it was easy and they knew each other already. It’s great to have a county high school. The blending with the players was never a problem.”
Coach Striplin on building a roster from both schools
“We’re feeling pretty good about every position. We need to work some stuff out, but as far as work ethic, it’s been a great situation.”
Key on expectations for the season
“This season I expect I can do better than last year. As a team, I think we’ll be competing for state.”
Players on the combining of the two schools
Sailor - “I feel like it all came together and i knew we could do it.”
Key - “For me, it was a smooth transition because I already knew a lot of the East Gadsden guys and they were really excited about our season last year.”
LINCOLN - 5:50 p.m.
Lincoln is represented by head coach Quinn Gray, Derek Curry, Alexander Sobeski and Lorenzo Geathers Jr.
Coach Gray’s opening statement
“We’re looking forward into going to the 2017 season. it’s been a tremendous offseason for us this summer. Guys have been working tremendously hard to make sure we’re ready for the vigor of the season.”
Coach Gray in learning his team in his first season
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is work ethic. You don’t have a group of guys that are complaining, you’ve got a group who are putting their nose to the ground and working. We’ve got a good mix of younger and older guys.”
Coach Gray on the tough schedule early
“I think we’ve started to get that under control with our team camp. We saw some things that we felt were good at this point to head into fall camp next week. Obviously, there are some minor details we need to tighten on, but other than that, I’m happy with where we are. Other than that, we’ll work on basic schematical things.”
Coach Gray on what he liked during the spring game
“Overall, it was a good start for us.”
Players on adapting to the head coaching change
Geathers - “With the change of coach, it was just a stepping stone. We’re going to keep the tradition going.”
Sobeski - “I feel like the work ethic is still there. It’s my senior year, let’s keep it going.”
Players on what they enjoy about Coach Gray
Geathers - “I can honestly say he’s made the game fun again. It’s a family environment.”
Sobeski - “I feel like the team has come a lot closer over the summer."
WAKULLA - 5:35 p.m.
Wakulla is represented by head coach Barry Klees, Morgan Stalvey, Isaiah Lewis and Austin Nichols (56)
Coach Klees opening statements
“We’re coming off a 7-3 season last year, made the playoffs and went over to play a very tough West Florida team. We feel, where we’re at this year, the sky is the limit for this team. We have a good mixture of experience and youth. We have to hit the ground running - our first three games are right out of the game. We wanted to play Lincoln in the jamboree for a good early test.
Coach Klees on what he wants to see in 2017
“Fortunately for us, last year, we didn’t have a very heavy senior class. We were also very young on the offensive line, where this year, we’ll have a very experienced group. If the summer is any test of what this year will be, I’m very excited.
Coach Klees on coming up just short of a district title
“This group has worked hard this summer. We’ve participated in a lot of camps, and we plan to hit the ground running next week when we start practice. We start with a great test in Lincoln and if we can stay on the same field with them, we’ll be happy.”
Players on building off of success from last year
Lewis - “I feel confident in what we did last year, and with it being my last year, I’m excited to go out and go out with a bang.”
Nichols - “A lot of us are gonna go out there with a chip on their shoulder.”
Stalvey - “We’re looking forward to this year.”
Coach Klees on preparing his players for every game
“We go into offseason conditioning, and even our in-season program, with the mindset that we are going to play 15 games that year. Our goal is to get better every week. Our goal is to continuously find improvements. We feel our natural advantage within our district is how physical we play. We feel that being as strong and physical as we can be evens the playing field.”
Players on advantages of playing with teammates longer than most schools
Lewis - “Going to camps helps bond us. It’s an advantage on the field because after a while, people start to break down on the field against one another.”
Nichols - “When you play with someone since middle school, they become your brother. When a play goes bad, you don’t get mad at them, you just know you’re going to fix it."
CHILES - 4:46 p.m.
Chiles is represented by head coach Kevin Pettis, Nicholas Clayton, Avery Thomas and Amari Gainer.
Coach Pettis' opening statement
"It's been a great summer so far, and we had a great spring. I walked onto the field the other day and it had lines on it, so that got you jazzed because you know the season is almost here. The kids have met and surpassed all of our expectations. We've worked out 70 or 80 kids every day. We're playing what feels like the SEC West to open our schedule. It's going to be an exciting season - games are going to mean something right off the jump."
Coach Pettis on taking on the challenge of coaching at Chiles
"We tell our kids all the time to 'be where your feet our' - take care of the things you need to be taking care of in the moment. If you want something you've never had, you've got to be willing to do something you've never done, so we are just trying to push these guys to a level they've never been, mentally or physically. At the end of the day, that's what's going to get you to win - to be tougher than the guy you're lining up in front of. These guys have met every expectation we've had and have done everything we've asked them to do. We don't need to be Lincoln or Godby - we need to be the best Chiles."
Coach Pettis on what to expect from Chiles on the field
"Defensively, scheme-wise, you're gonna see a bunch of cats flying around to the football thats almost a jazz level. You want to be able to see that every-down passion - when the ball is snapped, you've got 11 guys trying to get there. On offense, I hope we see a lot of touchdowns. We're probably going to work some sort of pro-style offense. We just need to find that balance."
Gainer on his expectations for his senior season
"I just want to do what we did last year, and that's lead. We were one touchdown away every game, so all the pieces are there. I'm striving for 20 sacks on the season and over 100 tackles. After that, if we do what coach says and have everyone flying to the ball, we should be good."
Players on how hungry they are after close losses last year
Gainer - "We're really hungry. We're letting other people talk."
Thomas - "We're ready to play and we're ready to win. We wanna go into the playoffs hungry."
Players on what they like about Coach Pettis
Gainer - "He's kind of funny, and he's making sure nobody is taking days off. He's keeping us honest to our word, making sure we're doing our job."
Thomas - "Everybody wants to work out and work hard."
Clayton - "The effort level has increased a ton since he's come. Everyone is enjoying it.
FLORIDA HIGH - 4:32 p.m.
Florida High is represented by head coach Jarrod Hickman, Kevin Sawyer, Jr. Dejay Robinson and Will Haigler
Coach Hickman's opening statement
"We're coming off of another pretty good year, another regional final. We're still trying to chase that mountain top, and we think we have a pretty good team this year so we're excited to get started. We've had a good summer, but now it's about putting things together for a good season."
Coach Hickman on staying healthy
"We think we're a good football team, but injuries are the one thing that you can't control that can slow us down. And last year, it did slow us down. Once we weathered that storm last year, we got hot at the right time. I don't think it'll be different this year - if we stay healthy, we'll have a great year. We feel we're as good as anybody."
Players on what it'll take to reach the state championship
Sawyer - "We depend on the juniors and sophomores to back us up."
Haigler - "Our guys love to compete, and it translates when they get on the field."
Coach Hickman on lessons learned from last year
"We didn't play a bad game in the playoffs, we lost to the eventual state champs. But this year, we're bringing back veterans at skill positions. We don't have a lot of depth, but we are putting the work in. We just want to be consistent throughout the year."
Coach Hickman on having young players with experience
"It's huge. So many of our guys have played so many different roles. For us, we've had a lot of guys who have played in a lot of big games with experience and I think it'll work out for us. I'm excited about what we can do."
Coach Hickman on his expectations for the QB play in 2017
"Last year, he was getting comfortable. One thing he's learning this year is that he doesn't have to do it all. He's learning that all he has to do is distribute the ball to all the different athletes he has."
AUCILLA - 4:23 p.m.
Aucilla is represented by head coach Colby Roberts, Brandon Jenkins-Slaughter, Logan Boyer, Joe Walton
Coach Roberts' opening statement
"We graduated eight seniors last year, which is a lot for us. Our kids bought into our weightlifting program. We're excited, focused, and looking forward to starting the season on Monday."
Coach Roberts on how the offense is looking
"We're hoping to be a little more balanced this year. We lost three members of the offensive line last year. I like the way the program is looking right now."
Coach Roberts on the 2017 roster
"I was telling one of my assistant coaches last week that, in seven years, this is one of the best groups we've had. Our seniors are holding people accountable."
Players on the summer workouts, compared to previous summers
Boyer - "This season has been a lot different. Like Coach said, us seniors are trying to hold younger players accountable. We're really just trying to get ready for the season this year."
Coach Roberts on the look of the roster for 2017
"From year to year, it varies on our strength and weaknesses. We're going to lean heavy on our skill guys this year. We're looking on developing some lineman and looking to develop as a team as a whole."
Jefferson County - 4:11 p.m.
Head coach Leroy Smith and three players
Coach Smith's opening statements
"We've been grinding over the summer. We've been to several 7-on-7 camps and building camaraderie."
Coach Smith on building relationships
"With any winning team, you have to build camaraderie. These guys have gone from not being very fond with one another to being brothers. I have to kick them off the field now.
Coach Smith on early season goal
"I want this community to know that we're raising young men. I want them to keep their grades up. As far as football, every coach should aim for the top. "I don't think anyone should say 'I want to be second place. I want to be third place.' Your vision should be a state championship. I want all of my players to get college scholarships - either academically or athletically. My goal is to win a state championship. My goal is to see every guy have a 3.0.
Coach Smith on if he's a "players' coach
"I like to think I am. These guys know I love them and I know they love me. Over the last couple of years I've seen these players grow. Over this last summer, I've seen them grow a lot.
Coach Smith on the tradition at Jefferson County
"I'm going to take what we have and I'm going to reach for other resources. We have great athletes in Jefferson County. I think the last state title was in 2011 - these guys saw it and were apart of it. I tell everyone 'exposure to success promotes success.' I'm going to take the pieces I have right now and I'm going to build around that."
Players on vibe heading into 2017
"It's a whole different vibe from previous seasons. We work harder now that Coach Smith is here. Usually, we have to fit to the new coach, but Coach has fit to us."
North Florida Christian - 4:03 p.m.
NFC is represented by head coach Steve Price, Jalen Stewart, Jalen Norwood and Kyler Estes
Coach Price's opening statements
“We’ve got a great group of seniors who are coming in and leading by encouraging. As a coach, it’s a great thing when you can get your seniors to teach and ours do a great job of that.”
Coach Price on preseason curriculum
“You’ve got to get the players to believe in the process from day one. you can’t walk in on August 1 and expect them to buy in.
Players on consistency with NFC
Norwood “We get to pray after practice, pray after class and have chapel every week, and I think that’s a good thing.
Stewart - “NFC is a family, basically. From the workouts to classes, it feels like home.
Estes - “It’s like a brotherhood. We do VBS together, we help out with events around the school - everything is a brotherhood over there.”
Estes on the recruiting process
“It’s been crazy, but I’m looking forward to it”
Coach Price on Este’s, and the team, recruiting process
“Every year, NFC sees a lot of college recruiters come in, and that’s because of the people before us. It’s always an eventful time in the spring - we see a wide range of schools. It’s always an exciting time to see the smiles on the players’ faces. It’s fun to see guys get their first offer, and it’s fun to see them get their 10th offer."
LEON - 3:36 p.m.
Leon is represented by head coach Garrett Jahn, Queze Brutton, John Carey and Tristan Lane
Coach Jahn's opening statements
“Leaving Chiles to head back to my alma matter has been fun. It’s been fun getting to know the guys and bond with my team. Along the way, it’s been fun to work to get faster and stronger for the upcoming season.”
Coach Jahn on getting ready for the year with a new school
“We want a tight knit group, a loyal group. We want a family. We feel like if you have that, you’ll be able to over come obstacles throughout the season.”
Coach Jahn on what former LCHS head coach Jimmy Sauls meant to him
“It’s goosebumps when you ask me about him. I’m sitting at the same desk he sat at. It gives me goosebumps. My goal is if these guys can leave Leon and call me and check in on me after they graduate, I’ve done my job.”
Coach Jahn on only returning three starters
“We need to stay healthy to face the schedule that we have. We are inexperienced, and we don’t have a lot of depth. That said, when I put my top 11 on offense and defense, we can compete with anybody. Does that mean we’re going undefeated? Absolutely not. Is that the goal? Yes. For the inexperienced players, the beginning of the season is so crucial for them to learn from film and learn from their mistakes so they peak come district play.”
Coach Jahn on which position group he feels most comfortable
“I’m really happy with our offensive skill set. I think we have five or six guys who can score in different ways. We’ve got several duel-threat guys. We have one returning starter on the offensive line, and then the other four guys are really going to have to step up - and they did that this summer, which is good.”
Brutton on goals for the year
“My goal is to have 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns.”
Carey on having the responsibility of the offense
“I’m honored to be in charge.”
Carey on relationship with Coach Jahn
“We became pretty close pretty quick. He’s very approachable and a good coach.”
Coach Jahn on the defensive line
“The key to our defense - we’ve got to have a tight bond, to where we are all on the same page. We have to out coach. We have to be a little deceiving to confuse offenses and give them differing looks."
SUWANNEE - 3:24 p.m.
Suwanee is represented by head coach Tyler Hall, KJ Scott, Taylor Torres and Rafeal Martinez
Coach Hall's opening comments
“Love this day. Love seeing guys I’ve played with and coached against. Up front, we have an experienced group. If you’re going to have experience, that’s where you want it.”
Coach Hall on the quarterback situation
“We don’t have a ‘Steve’ - they don’t look like a linebacker. Tyree Taylor will be our starter as we enter the season. I’m looking forward out of big things from him.”
Coach Hall on experience on the offensive line
“It balances itself out with having such a young backfield. The experience up front takes the pressure off of those guys. Priority number one, we have to run the ball. We want to be balanced like everyone does. Being able to set up dominance up front will take the pressure off our quarterback.”
Coach Hall on excitement of being invited to the Jonathan Ferrell Kickoff Classic
“To be able to get that game (against Gadsden Co.) going again will be exciting. I know they’ll have they’re guys ready, and so will we. It’s a great experience to get our guys opening the season in that way.”
Players on excitement of the season approaching
Scott - I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready to play the first game.
Martinez - I think we’re ready to get our senior season underway and play
Torres - Just to be able to play with guys I’ve been playing with since middle school, it excites me. It gets me excited the more and more we go.
John Paul II - 3:12 p.m.
JP II is represented by head coach Kez McCorvey, Sam Smith, and two other players
Coach McCorvey's opening statements
“My expectations this year are simple - I want the guys to work hard, we’re going to practice hard and have practice be the best thing we do. And I want the guys to love each other"
Coach McCorvey's initial thoughts heading into the season
“I think the guys love each other and enjoy being around each other. Football is about motivation - if you’re motivated, you can do just about anything. So, my goal is to be very motivated.”
Coach McCorvey on building from a 5-win season
“Our goal is to build off the foundation that was here. I’m not coming into a situation where I’ve got new guys. I’m coming into a position where I’ve got guys who can shoot and fly with the ball.”
Coach McCorvey on the brand of football JP II fans can expect for 2017
“It’s called the good brand.” [Laughs] “We’ve gone fast, we’ve gone slow, we’ve run the west coast offense. We’re gonna run with what we can. A lot of our stuff is going to be tailored around our players. Our goal is to outplay.”
Coach McCorvey on the importance of having a QB who can throw the ball well
“Everywhere I go, I’ve been able to throw the ball. My goal is to lead tallahassee in not just offense, but in defense. I want my guys to believe in the system. I want them to be the best.”
Sam Smith on learning a new coach
“He came and he was big on technique - breaking down everything and making sure we got it right. Also, coming together as brothers as one big family.”
MACLAY - 3:02 p.m.
Maclay is represented by head coach Lance Ramer and three players
Coach Ramer's opening statements
"We’ve included a yoga training session to work on our flexibility. We’re just trying to improve on every facet - speed, strength and mentally. We’re still young. Our offensive line will play together for two years. We’re young, but we’re young and experienced. We’re not looking past anything, we’re not looking at our schedule. We’re just looking to get better."
Coach Ramer on having a small team
“The guys are coachable. There’s no ego - everything is in sync. They’ve bought in, they’re selfless, they’re humble. Our coaching staff says it every day - we’re lucky to work with them. They work their tail off.”
“we’re still trying to build our program, but we’re trying to build it from 6th grade and on up.”
“We’re trying to be creative when it comes to health. We hit in small amounts of time - we can’t just sit in practice and hit each other for two hours.”
Coach Ramer on the youth of the team
“There’s not a senior in this room. But like I said, they’re young and they have some experience. They know how to battle - they know how to get knocked down and get back up. They’re not a fraud to get hit. Every day they want to get better.”
Coach Ramer on the new playoff system
“Top to bottom, we’re with some very good teams. But we feel like we can compete. We feel really good about it. I feel like it’s a good system - it works to help the smaller schools, especially here in Tallahassee.”
FAMU DRS - 2:51 p.m.
FAMU DRS is represented by new head coach Cedrick Jones, as well as D'Andre Johnson, Terrence Cambridge and Michael Jones
Coach Jones in his opening statement
“I’m in the same position I was two years ago. I was taking over a program that had gone through it’s fair share of downturns. You name it, we had to go through it. I’m in the same place where I have to build another program. Hopefully I can do the same thing here that I did at John Paul."
Coach Jones on rebuilding a program
“First thing you have to do is get everyone to buy in - even if it’s the same thing the previous coach had before. If you don’t have 100% buy in, you usually will have fallout. You have to build it from ground level.”
Coach Jones on seeing where FAMU DRS was from the outside
“It was hard. A lot of coaches that are the staff now either played at FAMU DRS or played at FAMU. It’s hard to watch your program go down the tubes. We are finally back, and we’re hoping to put a new footprint on it.”
D'Andre Johnson on learning form Coach Jones
“He has built up my technique in places I was struggling.”
The players on wanting to be apart of a successful season to bring the program back up
Terrence Cambridge: “I see it as a new future, leading up to the state championship. That’s our goal. It’s a new FAM. It’s a new beginning.”
Michael Jones: "“With all of our new coaches, we’re gonna be good this year.”
Coach Jones on new playoff system
“It’s like everyone gets to play iron on iron. You either get in or you don’t. I figure it’s going to be really competitive. Especially with the 15 or 16 transfers we’ve got coming in.”
Sneads - 2:35 p.m.
Sneads is represented by Head Coach Bill Thomas, Matt Thomas, Michael Weeks and Tyler Lawrence
Coach Thomas' opening statements
“We’ve got 12 seniors, which for 1A, is a big senior class.”
“This is the most disciplined team I’ve had with Sneads.”
“It’s been a great offseason. I’ve got a good group of young men that I enjoy coaching and enjoy being around. I trust them to do the right thing.”
Coach Thomas on losing seniors from last year to this year
“Some of the seniors we lost last year, we lost them early on in the season, so the transition began last year. If you ask me this question next year, I’ll probably say it’ll be tougher.”
Coach Thomas on injuries
“If that happens again, we can’t survive it again. We’re just going to try to survive one week at a time.”
Coach Thomas on changes to the 1A schedule
“Before, if it wasn’t a district game and someone was a little banged up, you held them out. This year, if that scenario comes up - if someone is 70 percent or 80 percent - I’ve got to play them, because every game counts. Every game counts if you want to be in the playoffs.”
Matt Thomas on how it feels to play for his dad
“It’s all I’ve known all my life pretty much. It’s fun, it’s an experience. It’s harder on me than it is most people, that’s for sure, but it’s got it’s ups and it’s downs.”
The players on Jackson County as a community, and the competitiveness against opposing players and schools
Matt Thomas - "You know everybody in the county pretty much, so those make for pretty big rivalry games."
Michael Weeks - "There are teams who you already don’t like people in person, then you get on the field and it gets worse."
Tyler Lawrence - "It really gets intense when you know everybody. I don’t really like them. I’ll fight with them."
Throughout the day, Asher Wildman was on Facebook Live to detail the day's events. You can find all of his Facebook Live videos below.