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Seahawks fall in spirited homecoming battle

The energy that carried over from the afternoon homecoming
parade through Eastpoint was palpable, and the crowd was robust for the game,
as they came to watch the Franklin County Seahawks take on the 3-1 Aucilla
Christian Warriors.

Following the first ever appearance of the high school’s newly
created Navy Junior ROTC color guard in the pre-game show, the visiting Class
2A foes struck first, running up three touchdowns, and an 18-0 lead until the
waning minutes of the first half.

With 2:15 left before the break, junior quarterback Evan
Stanley tossed a 15-yard scoring strike to senior Larry Winchester, and the
Seahawks were right back it. Sophomore Gideon Dively’s kick was no good, and the
Seahawks trailed 18-6.

But on the Warriors’ subsequent drive. Seahawks sophomore cornerback
Brayden McCall intercepted the ball, and Franklin County had a chance to
advance from their own 16-yard line.

They were unable to sustain a drive, and Coach Dirk Strunk’s
team went into the locker room still within striking range.

The Seahawks refused to give up, and a superb defensive
effort was led by sophomore linebacker Cody Abercrombie, who had 11
tackles, five for a loss. Winchester contributed seven, one for a loss, and
junior Wyatt Abercrombie added five, one for a loss.

About midway through the third quarter, senior defensive
back Austin Staats grabbed an interception but the Seahawks were unable to capitalize.

The game ended with a 25-6 loss.

The inability to make the most of their opponent’s miscues
was part of the story, since both Abercrombies, junior Mason Moses and Parker
Mock, and sophomore Reece Juno each recovered fumbles, but the team could not convert them into scores.

On offense, Stanley carried the pigskin 12 times for 52
yards, and passed for 14 more, as he completed 4 of 7 passes. Sophomore quarterback
Alex Sterling was 1 for 2, nailing a 5-yard completion.

Senior Wil Varnes carried the ball eight times for 60 yards,
and caught two passes for seven yards. Cody Abercrombie rushed five times for 20

“The kids played hard Friday night,” said Strunk. “They’re
continuing to get better; we’re close to turning the corner.”

The turn could come Friday night on the road, when the team travels
to Cottondale to take on the Hornets, who are also 0-4.

The most joyous part of the evening took place at halftime,
with the announcement of the homecoming court, which included 
freshmen Ryan Brown and Garyson Millender; sophomores Andrea Cruz and
Gideon Dively, and Lexci McNair and Ethan Kembro; juniors Miranda Diaz and
Ethan Shirley, Autumn Loesch and Parker Mock; and Kylee Smith and Chase Crum;
and seniors Meredith Alford and Bryce Gilbert, Sage Brannan and Larry
Winchester, Genesis Jones and Cameron Nash, Maddison Whitten and Carter Kembro;
and the couple who were selected as the Queen and King, Saunti Turrell and
Jamal Robinson.

In a hearkening back to a decade ago, the ceremony featured
an appearance by the 2011 Homecoming Queen Emerald Larkin. In the parade earlier
that afternoon, her counterpart from that year, Javeion Winfield, had ridden in
a golf cart.

At a pep rally earlier in the week, the entire team had presented
longtime volunteer coach Ashley Teat with a signed helmet.

Between 1988 and 1993, Teat had played guard for the
Apalachicola Sharks, then coached by Shaw Maddox. In his final year, he had completed
the season with a knee brace after sustaining an injury.

Now the team’s chaplain, Teat talks openly of his spiritual journey,
aided by Don Carroll of the Carrabelle Christian Center and inspired by Green
Bay Packer defensive end Reggie White, an ordained minister, and a member of
both the college and professional football Hall of Fame.

“Hey, who’s got your back?” Teat shouts to the young
Seahawks from the sidelines, where he watches the games from a wheelchair due
to leg problems. “That’s how I say it, “I got your back.’”

Another feature on the sidelines this season are the debut
of a pair of watergirls, the first time girls have assumed the role of
preparing items for the players before the game, and running water out to them during
the grueling competition.

Seventh graders Riley Cowart and Kayla McDaniel, the daughter of volunteer assistant Kendall McDaniel,
alternate in handling the water girl duties.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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