EASTPOINT, Fla. (WMBB) — The Franklin County football team is dedicating their season to the memory of their assistant coach, Ashley Teat, who passed away at the end of July.
Head coach, Dirk Strunk said the team is in a great position for the upcoming season.
“Compared to where we were, it’s night and day,” Strunk said.
Strunk said one of the biggest differences for this year is they are physically stronger.
“In the past, we’ve had a tendency to get pushed around a bit because we were younger and smaller,” Strunk said. “I mean we’re still never gonna be bigger than anyone we play, but our kids are a lot more physically stronger and a lot quicker than they’ve been in the past and that should pay off big dividends for us this year.”
This season isn’t just about wins and losses for the Seahawks. Assistant coach, Ashley Teat passed away on July 31, after being in the hospital since December.
“Our kids have dedicated the season to him and it’s one of those things Ashley really loved these kids and they know it,” Strunk said. “So, I think one of the big things is when things get tough, they know what Ashley would be telling them to do. So, it’s pretty much go out and play for coach teat and that’s the concept they’ve taken and they’re doing a good job with it.”
The players will still use the lessons learned from Coach Teat this season.
“He always told us to bring each other up and so since then we’ve been doing that,” senior defensive tackles Kevin Sullivan said.
Coach Strunk said his legacy will have a big impact on the Seahawk’s season.
“It’s real important because most of these kids have known Ashley since they were little, since playing rec ball,” Strunk said. “He’s always been a part of their lives. Everybody’s families know him, he grew up here, he’s from here. I think it’s a big deal to him, knowing how much he cared and what it would mean to him for them playing in his honor.”
Sullivan said that while it’s sometimes been difficult to focus on football, he knows that Coach Teat would want them to push on.
Franklin County opened their fall with a preseason victory over St. Francis Catholic.
The Seahawks open up the regular season at home against North Bay Haven on Friday, August 26.