|Aug. 23||vs. West Brunswick (N.C.)||7:30 p.m.||W, 24-6|
|Aug. 30||vs. Waccamaw||7:30 p.m.||L, 7-0|
|Sept. 6||at Aynor||7:30 p.m.||L, 44-12|
|Sept. 13||vs. Loris||7:30 p.m.||L, 25-0|
|Sept. 27||at North Myrtle Beach||7:30 p.m.||L, 34-0|
|Oct. 4||vs. Johnsonville||7:30 p.m.||L, 48-12|
|Oct. 11||at Hannah-Pamplico||7:30 p.m.||L, 14-7|
|Oct. 18||vs. Latta||7:30 p.m.||W, 14-13|
|Oct. 25||at Lake View||7:30 p.m.||L, 49-25|
|Nov. 1||at Creek Bridge||7:30 p.m.||W, 35-20|
Tony Sullivan knew his team was going to learn how to crawl before it could sprint.
That being the case, the Green Sea Floyds football coach believes his team is getting to a slow jog.
The Trojans, with Sullivan entering his second season, are hoping to improve on a stretch that has included just three winning seasons in the past decade and a span in which they haven’t won more than three games in a year since 2007. Starting anew won’t be easy.
“Every year, we don’t worry about how many losses we’ve had in the past,” running back Jamel Swinton said. “We just move forward. We just take it day by day and don’t worry about the past.”
Truth be told, Sullivan’s team wasn’t that far off of a playoff bid a year ago. Green Sea Floyds won two of its five Region VIII-A games, and had one-score losses to Hannah-Pamplico and Waccamaw gone the other way, the Trojans may have had enough points to qualify for the postseason.
In 2013, a trip to the playoffs would be a tremendous show of growth, but it would also be another step in something else Sullivan is attempting to create – positive consistency. Green Sea Floyds was mowing through head coaches in the years before Sullivan arrived.
He’s been with the team for approximately 16 months now, and he’s finding this preseason is significantly easier than his first.
“They know what I expect,” Sullivan said. “I feel like we’re miles ahead of where we were last year. We’ve been with these guys in the weight room, in seven-on-sevens. They know what I what. I don’t have to repeat those things. … We didn’t have to start from scratch. It’s definitely above what we were.”
Still, Sullivan will have to replace 10 seniors from last year’s team. He estimated those players accounted for 20-24 starting spots, given offense, defense and special teams.
He’s using that as a selling point in getting more players out for the small-school program. Sullivan believes his numbers could be smaller than his first season, but that his returning players have that much more experience.
Swinton will have a major role as the top running back. However, Sullivan said his team is adopting a modified spread in order to further widen the field. A handful of other players are expected to get significant carries, and Sullivan believes sophomore Jacquez Geralds has “all the tools” to become a successful quarterback who can throw and run in the next three years.
Offense was certainly a bigger priority. While the Trojans allowed 26 points per game last year, they were scoring fewer than 13, one of the lowest figures in the state.
Again, though, Sullivan and his team are doing their best to look forward, not back.
“I think the first season was a success – not necessarily in wins and losses. But trying to build a program and not put a band-aid on something,” the coach said. “We’re trying to become a contender for the coming years.
“That’s one of the reasons I took the job, because I knew it was going to be a challenge.”
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.