Tony Sullivan was looking over game film from last year and the same recurring theme came into play time and again.
The Green Sea Floyds players knew what they were doing, finding the right spots on the field “90 percent of the time.” However, Sullivan said his players simply weren’t big enough or fast enough to make plays.
“We played varsity football with a JV team,” the third-year coach said. “We played with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores who had never played a varsity down. The ones we did have coming back didn’t have a lot of experience.”
Without much control over it in 2013, Sullivan decided to make the most of the hand he was dealt. He continued to play his predominantly young roster and allowed all those underclassmen to make mistakes they could learn from.
The payoff could start this fall.
A high player retention rate, an offseason football class and some motivation to end a six-year streak of losing seasons has the Trojans believing 2014 will be different.
“We want to leave that 1-9 season behind us,” senior Shaquawan McGill said. “We know we’re better than that.
“I’ve got a good feeling about this year, not just because it’s my last year. It’s because of the preparation. We’re all ready, not just one person or two people.”
Green Sea Floyds relished the opportunity provided by the South Carolina High School League that opened up offseason workouts. Nearly all of Sullivan’s players took his spring football class, one that included instruction on nutrition and football theory, as well as extra time in the weight room.
A practice normally reserved to the state’s bigger schools found its way to the smallest school in Horry County.
“You don’t know how much that has helped us,” Sullivan said. “We got our base offense and defense installed during that time. By the time we got to spring practice, we were polishing. It is a tremendous swing for us in turning this program around.”
Sullivan compared it to a player enrolling in college a semester early and participating in spring drills. He admitted it was only the first step in ending was has been a long stretch of losing.
After just four wins in his first two seasons, the coach is looking to build upon any positives he can find.
“None of these kids know how to win,” Sullivan said. “But we’re going to learn. … These kids, this community, they need some success.”