Quarterback Cody Abercrombie gets set to hand off to Amontaye Austin. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Cooper shooting for ‘slobberknocker’ football

Seahawks coach John Cooper is demanding a physical style of football from his players, and so far, during spring football, he’s getting it.

“Ever since the first week of February, we’ve been working on a weight room culture that’s been nonexistent,” he said. “We’re working on creating a physical ballclub, a physical brand that’s been lacking here, by just refusing to let guys not fire off the ball, to have some slobberknocker football, old school football, that we think can bring success to the program.”

White #16 Garyson Millender, right, and #10 Owen Juno bring down the ball carrier in the Crimson and White game. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

At last week’s spring jamboree, the team dressed out about 30 kids, and held its own against both Freeport, a playoff team from last season, and Graceville, who they shut out.

In the half the Seahawks played against Freeport, the team lost 22-6, with one of the scores coming by a future Division I player with a pick-6, Against Graceville, Franklin County won 6-0. 

“I’m proud of our defense,” Cooper said. “We started settling in against Freeport moving the ball.”

Colby Blackburn in goes up against Ja’Michael Miller in white

Against Graceville, the score came on a halfback pass from Garyson Millender to Ethan Kembro, within the 10-yard line with less than a minute left in the game.

While the starter positions are not yet set in stone, Cooper said he is looking forward to having Kembro, a wide receiver last year, take on a defensive end role together with Lonnie O’Neal. “He’s going to be asked to do something different, that he hasn’t done before,” said the coach. “They’re both very long and lengthy and we hope that helps with covering the outside with that length.”

Cooper is eyeing a young team for the fall season. “We’re pretty thin in the senior class but that’s looking good futurewise,” he said. “We have some good up-and-coming talent currently in the ninth and tenth grades. But our seniors, they have a lot of spunk to them.”

The team will be playing Wewa twice this season, and in a change from years past, will be taking on Port. St. Joe.

The White team’s Lonnie O’neal puts a hit on Crimson runner Eric Smith. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

“If you’re going to play a rival in every other sport, no matter what your history’s been like, and no matter what lumps and bruises you may take, you have to teach your kids the right lessons off the field too,” Cooper said. “You can’t shy away from something that might be big and scary. And who knows? You might develop something big in the summer and come out with some haymakers.”

The team works out Monday through Thursday June and July from 8: 30 to 10 a.m.

A’Jaylen McNair, in white, carries the ball against a flood of Crimson defenders. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

“We want to get it where we can work with their bosses, because the most popular time for kids to work is in the afternoon,” Cooper said. 

On June 24 a select handful of rising juniors and seniors with be traveling to Thomas University prospect camp, and they’ll be playing 7 on 7s all summer.

Cooper has lined up a strong crew of assistants, led by defensive coordinator Jordan Brown, and offensive coordinator Brock Johnson.

Crimson Michael Hill goes up against Corbin Pritchard white as coach John Cooper looks on. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Eddie Money will be handling defensive tackles and Tydron Wynn will work as a recruiting coordinator, active on social media, sending out highlight tapes and keeping on top of test scores, to market players to college coaches.

Willie “Suge” McNair will be coaching defensive backs and wide receivers, while phys ed teacher Matthew Duggar will work with the offensive line and outside linebackers, and Ray Bailey with running backs.

If a student is interested in coming out in the summer, please get in contact with Cooper at 850-590-4806.


Friday, Aug. 25 @ North Bay Haven

Friday, Sept. 1 @ Vernon

Friday, Sept. 8 @ Jay

Friday, Sept. 15 vs. Liberty County

Friday, Sept. 22 vs. Rocky Bayou Christian

Friday, Sept. 29 @ Aucilla Christian

Friday, Oct. 6 @ Cottondale

Friday, Oct. 13 vs. Wewahitchka

Friday, Oct. 20 vs. Port St. Joe

Friday, Oct. 27 BYE WEEK

Friday, Nov. 3 @ Wewahitchka

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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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