By TIM LEIBLE email@example.com
The Thomas Sumter Academy football team is preparing for its second year under head coach Randy Stogner and hoping to take a big step forward in Year 2. The Generals won just two games last year, but Stogner was able to learn from last year to improve in 2019.
One of the biggest changes Stogner is looking to make is in their offensive scheme. TSA is light on linemen this year, so they’re adjusting their offense a bit to make sure those linemen don’t get too worn out.
“Last year we went Wing(-T) on the offense and this year we have fewer linemen to deal with than we did last year, so that philosophy of running and pulling with your front is going to wear my guys out,” said Stogner. “We’re going to try to accommodate a little of the fatigue factor with more of a power game inside and try to combine it with what we do with the Wing. “We’ll still be a Wing-T offense, but we’re going to change our blocking scheme some so that we don’t have to depend on a kid to run as much as a running back does then ask him to turn around and play defensive end or outside linebacker with no wind in his sails.”
The size of the team in general is affecting how Stogner prepares for the season. His No. 1 concern coming into the year is making sure his kids stay healthy. Unfortunately, one of his other major issues from last year was tackling. Improving his team’s tackling means hitting in practice, so Stogner is trying to find the safest ways for his kids hit so they’re healthy for Friday nights.
“I think the key to our success is No. 1, the same thing I said earlier, injuries. We have to make sure we protect our players and we’re healthy on Friday night, so we’re not going to go out and beat them to death on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” said the TSA head coach. “Defensively, we have to tackle. I wasn’t real pleased with our tackling last year. I think we were in position, I think we had people there to do it, we just didn’t finish the play. We’re going to have to tackle more bodies in practice this year, but we’re also going to have to do it in a way that is controlled, so that we don’t wind up losing players.”
The Generals are aware that their struggles from last year might make teams overlook them, but Ethan Lisenby — who plays quarterback, running back and defensive back — thinks that might open the door for Thomas Sumter to surprise some people.
“I feel like we may be an underrated team based on past performances and numbers we have this year, but I feel like since we have Coach Stogner pushing us as hard as we can and we’re working as hard as we can, we can go out and really make a name for ourselves this year.”
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