Spring football underway for Brentwood, Franklin
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
Week 0 in high school football is 126 days away. The excitement has hit Williamson County already though as a handful of squads started spring practice this week while four additional teams start in the coming days.
Ironically, the first school to hit the practice field was Brentwood – the only squad currently without a head coach. Despite Mark Pemberton leaving the Bruins to become head coach at Rhea County a week ago, Brentwood strived ahead beginning April 22.
Assistant Mark Matykiewicz led the practice along with fellow coaches Tom Crawford, Pat Curran, and Stephan Slowey.
“We’re going to work pretty hard on fundamentals,” Matykiewicz said. “We don’t want to put in a scheme or work anything in then have someone come in and have to put something in different.”
A team of 68 players, not including incoming freshman or athlete participating in baseball, soccer, or track and field, will practice four days this week and next before scrimmaging Siegel High School on May 9.
One challenge of a team practicing without a head coach, Matykiewicz said, is worrying about motivation for the kids. Leadership from members on the team helps ease this fear though.
“We have a great bunch of kids and we’re going to have outstanding senior leadership,” he said. “Two kids that keep popping in my head are Andy Schumpert and Austin Wells. These guys will keep the team motivated and focused.”
This time last year, Rebel coach Donnie Webb was juggling two jobs. Hired by Franklin in February 2012, Webb was still fulfilling his teaching duties at Battle Ground Academy while traveling back and forth for football practices.
Easy to say, Webb thinks this year’s spring practices will be smoother for him.
“It’s great to not have to juggle two jobs and be able to focus 100 percent on the Franklin Rebels and what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.
The youngest team in District 11-AAA last year, 75 players suited up for shortened sessions April 22 and 23 before starting normal length practices for the rest of the week.
Now with experience in key positions, Franklin looks to build on fundamentals while having a better grasp on their roster than they did one year prior.
“We’re actually going into spring with names in place instead of just an X,” said Webb. “It’s a little different, but essentially spring comes down to trying to learn the fundamentals of football and get some younger ones in the program looks.”
One goal the coach will stress is learning how to finish. The Rebels came out of the gates with a 4-2 record in 2012 before dropping four consecutive.
Though the actual season does not start until Aug. 30, the thought of getting back on the field excites Webb.
“It makes you get excited,” he said of spring practice. “But then it makes you realize how much work you have to do.”
Spring practice start dates:
Battle Ground Academy: May 7
Brentwood Academy: April 29
Brentwood: April 22
Centennial: April 29
Fairview: May 6
Franklin: April 23
Independence: April 29
Page: April 29
Ravenwood: April 25
Summit: May 2
Posted on: 4/23/2013