BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Consistent success is tough to come by in high school sports.
Blountstown enters 2018 coming off an appearance in the state championship game, hoping to continue a run of nine consecutive playoff appearances. This might be their toughest test during that span.
Although the Tigers shutout Chipley 23-0 in Thursday night's preseason classic and toppled Wewa 20-6 in a one-half scrimmage the weekend prior, this is a much different group than the one that started in Orlando.
Only three starters return on both sides of the ball. Offensively, quarterback Trent Peacock and running backs Treven Smith and Alex Valdez lead the way, but six of the Tigers' top seven lineman depart as well.
The aforementioned string of playoff berths all came under the guidance of Greg Jordan, the esteemed head coach who left in the offseason to take over for John Palmer as head coach at Port St. Joe.
Beau Johnson takes over the reigns, an assistant of Jordan's last season and defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. Johnson and his youthful crop of players are setting out to live up to the standard Jordan helped establish.
"It's a lot of pressure from a coaching standpoint, but we're not backing off the standard," Johnson said. "We plan on people paying to come in that gate in November to come to a playoff game. Are we young right now? Absolutely, but our kids believe and our coaches believe if we stick together and we keep chopping wood, that come late October and early November we'll be a tough person for somebody to put out of the playoffs."
Jordan's decision to move to a rival school came as a shock to many. By now, those who played under Jordan are settled into seizing their own destiny.
"They respect the decision that was made, but they moved on too. They're trying to win football games and they're buying into what we're doing and they're excited," Johnson said.
Jordan's management style and coaching approach was undeniably effective at Blountstown. In 12 seasons at the helm, he led the Tigers to the playoffs 11 times and posted a 102-42 record.
Until the Tigers Sharks come to town on October 9th, the focus should be on the current coaches and players in red and white. They're focused on the future, not the past.
"We're trying not to fix things that weren't broken, but then again, I've got to be comfortable, so some terminology has changed and maybe a formational way we do things. The traditional way we do things, which is get in the weight room, work hard, and try to out-physical...that kind of thing has not changed."
Blountstown hosts Graceville to open the regular season Friday night.