POWDER SPRINGS -- New McEachern coach Franklin Stephens said he was excited for the future after getting his first opportunity to watch his team play in a 7-on-7 tournament Wednesday at Walter Cantrell Stadium.
“I saw some great leadership out here today, and some great plays on both sides of the ball,” said Stephens, who was not in attendance during the Indians' previous 7-on-7 summer tournaments. “If you’re going to point to one particular person, I don’t believe you can point to one particular person today. We played both quarterbacks, we played a plethora of receivers. I saw a lot of guys catching the ball, running with the ball and making guys miss. Defensively, we had some interceptions, and we had some pass breakups.”
McEachern was seeded No. 2 after pool play and won the tournament by beating Carrollton in the championship game.
Stephens was impressed with the way the team stayed strong throughout the whole tournament.
“As the day went on, I’d like to think out guys didn’t fade. It was a long day.” Stephens said. “If you started at (9 a.m.), you might not have been playing, but you were sitting out here in the sun, and it is now just at 5:30 p.m., so it’s a long day for those guys.”
Stephens said the team he inherited has great players, and he is not planning on changing too much, instead continuing and increasing the recent success enjoyed by McEachern under previous coach Kyle Hockman.
“McEachern has established a great football team down through the years and, sometimes, you get caught up in doing things your way in rebuilding,” said Stephens, who is entering his 13th year as a head coach after previous stops at Ware County, Lamar County and Tucker. “That’s not the case here at McEachern. Our thing is, we're just trying to remodel some things.”
Stephens hoped the team would be able to continue with the way it played Wednesday as it gets ready for the regular-season opener against Brookwood on Aug. 24 in the Corky Kell Classic.
“I want them to keep building on to this,” Stephens said. “Buying into what we’re selling and understand that, hey, we want to win a state championship here at McEachern, and it’s going to take the mentality that we’re developing and some blessings from the good Lord to get that done.”