McKenzie aims to keep winning tradition alive

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten days in the month of May isn’t much time to prepare a football team for the coming challenges of the fall.

Fortunately for McKenzie head football coach Josh McLendon, spring training didn’t really begin on May 5.

“It’s something that you hope starts getting built back in January, when the season is over with and those older guys move on,” McLendon said.

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“Hopefully, you start building that new nucleus of players that come in, and you do it by letting those guys spend a lot of time with each other.  More than anything, it’s done in the weight room and hopefully, this summer, we can make those strides also.”

For the McKenzie Tigers, spring is a period of growth, where McLendon is taking stock of the resources available to him, where they’re going to go and how they’re going to be used.

There are a handful of noticeable absences among those resources, however, as the Tigers move on into the 2014-15 season without a number of standout seniors from last year’s team, including Nico Peterson, Jeffrey Fuller, Harper Vinson, Anthony Grace and others.

“It was a special group of seniors, no doubt; we’re going to lose some guys that contributed a lot on the field and off the field,” McLendon added.

“But everybody kind of goes through the same process, and you just have to have those guys behind them step up and sort of continue the process and continue the tradition, and keep the ball rolling.”

The first hurdle to overcome lies in the form of Friday’s jamboree in Flomaton, where the Tigers will face both Flomaton and Escambia County.

Though the spring is very much an evaluation period for both players and coaches, and very few team details are set in stone, it’s important that McLendon heads into summer preparation with momentum.

“I think we’ve gotten some good work in,” McLendon said.

“We’re going to be very simple on offense and on defense, and I think we’ve been able to accomplish what we want to accomplish, and we’ve got a few more days and we’ll see what we’ve got on Friday night.”