SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The South Walton football team has reached the playoffs in five consecutive seasons and they are returning the talent to make it a half dozen.
“We do expect playoff appearances,” South Walton head coach Phil Tisa said. “I see us as the team to beat in our district.”
The Seahawk’s defense emerged as the dominant side of the ball at the beginning of last season but showed its flaws later in the year.
“We know what the game plan is and are sticking to that game plan,” South Walton senior defensive back Rigby Ward said. “Those games last year, we didn’t really stick to our game plan, so it kind of threw us off.”
The Seahawks expect a more consistent product from their defense, with an older and more experienced front seven led by four senior linebackers.
“The intensity they play with and the focus that they play with,” Tisa said. “It’s really been fun to watch.”
One group lacking experience is the Hawks’ offensive line, but a recent addition of senior center Jake Pippin transferring in from Mosley, the group is looking stronger.
“Bit of a struggle,” South Walton senior wide receiver Jaden Robinson said. “We just always got to communicate, make sure they get everything down. And once they have it down, it’ll be great.”
One key returner is senior dual-threat, Carson Hawk throwing for over 1,500 yards and rushing for over 400 more.
“To go out and to be successful and to control and manage the game as well as develop as a leader,” Tisa said.
To take some of the pressure off Hawk, South Walton is working on a stronger run game with Grant Joyner and Ethan Horton.
“We’ll do some more with the running back and take some of that running necessity off of the quarterback position,” Tisa said.
Out wide, the Seahawks return receiver Jaden Robinson, who has received multiple D1 offers and is expected to put up big numbers in his senior season.
“This is the most athletic group we’ve been able to put on the field as far as skill position-wise,” Tisa.
The Seahawks start the regular season on the road against Baker on Friday, August 25.