VERNON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The next stop on our tour of area high school football practice fields has us venturing over to the land of the Yellow Jackets, where head coach Gerald Tranquille is working with more than thirty players on the varsity level.
Vernon prepares for season opener Friday at Crestview
Among those coming back to the program, a core group of play makers like quarterback Dyvion Bush and their best offensive weapon, running back K'wan Powell.
The Jackets went 8-3 last season with a pair of playoff wins, but having his team thinking back to that isn't something the coach wants, especially with his 1A team preparing to face 7A power Crestview in the opener Friday.
"Honestly, last year I think they got a little big-headed," Tranquille admitted. "We beat some teams we were better than. This year I want them to stay humble, stay focused, and to be able to play and compete with some of these bigger teams we've got to do the little things correctly. That's kind of the theme going into this week: don't take anything for granted. Make sure you step with the right foot, making sure you're taking the right angle. Make sure your eyes are where they're supposed to be, and to be able to compete and possibly come away with a victory, we're gonna have to do the little things right. I knew stepping up in competition would make us do the little things better."
Keeping the kids focused isn't the only reason for playing up six classes in week one.
"No matter win or lose, we're gonna be able to get some good film. We're gonna learn from it," Tranquille said. "[Crestview] plays Madison at the end of the year. And to get to where we want to be, that's the kind of champion, state champions until somebody knocks them off. So we want to step up in level just the same way they [Madison] do, and be able to compete and be ready for them in case we're fortunate enough to get there at the end."
Vernon expects to be in the playoffs again, all part of the long range plan Tranquille made when he took over a few years ago.
"You know when I got here, I had a plan for this program. I knew coming in this junior class and this senior class was going to be the money year and things are on schedule. Last year we kind of accelerated. We were fortunate enough to get some guys in and we kind of exceeded expectations last year. But we know this year we're not gonna sneak up on anybody, and we're okay with that. We know we have expectations, we talk about them, we don't run away from them."
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