South Walton working through first week of fall camp

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:26 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The next stop on our tour of area high school football practice fields takes us into South Walton County and check in with Phil Tisa and his Seahawks. Coach Tisa and the Seahawks coming off the best season in program history. Last year’s team finishing 10-2 and making it two deep into the state playoffs, losing to a Bolles team, a private school that’s basically a football factory. Tisa working in spring and now here in fall camp, on replacing some record setting offensive players in quarterback Kemper Hodges, and receiver Cade Roberts. On top of that star senior receiver Pearce Spurlin is recovering from shoulder surgery, he’ll likely miss the first five or six games. So it’s a good thing the overall numbers are strong for coach Tisa as camp begins!\

”Proud of where we are numbers wise, largest program we’ve ever had and I’m excited to see what we can do.” coach Tisa told me during Wednesday’s practice. “Somewhere between 55 and 60 and hopefully you can create some depth out of that, create some competition. And push kids a little bit harder. And at the same time it makes practice easier because you can split up and work offense and defense and at the same time still have enough people to work against.”

Again having to replace a record setting receiver like Roberts, and a record setting quarterback like Hodges, well that’s a tall order.

“I mean both of those kids were leaders in the way they played and the way conducted themselves.” Tisa says “Not really kids that you can replace. I think you have to try and diversify. And use your running backs to take some of that pressure off of the quarterback run game. And do different things like that.”

For now two players are competing for the starting quarterback spot, Tisa told me.

“We have Carson Hawk who was our back up last year and a returning player. And we have then we have Wells Bettenhausen that moved in back in the spring. So those two are still battling it out. Couldn’t give you even an inkling of who’s ahead of who. It just depends on what day it is. I’m hoping that one of them will eventually step up and just say the job is theirs.”

And with the changes in personnel, well does that change the game plan? ”No you don’t drastically change it, you tweak it. But I think every coach does that based on whatever they have you know year in and year out. But we’re still going to do what we do, just may, probably won’t be as quarterback run heavy as we were with Kemper. And put more of that on our running backs who have really come along way in the past 12 months.”

The Seahawks will host St. John Paul the Second in their classic on the 19th and open the regular season at home against Baker on the 26th.

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