SANTA ROSA BEACH Fla. – (WMBB) – The South Walton football team is highlighting defensive improvement heading into the 2021 season, to complement one of the best offenses in the state.
The team is returning senior quarterback, Kemper Hodges, who led the state in total yards and was first in passing for most of the 2020 season.
The Seahawks are looking to once again boast one of the top offenses in North Florida, and Head Coach Phil Tisa believes they’ve made improvements on the opposite side of the ball as well.
“We’re hoping that you know the leadership and hopefully you know an improved defensive performance will be able to keep us, to where we’re like I said, we don’t have to have shootouts, and not rely on the offense to carry the ball,” Tisa said. “You know hopefully we can, you know, keep scores respectable and do what we do, you do those two things, we should come out on the winning end more times than not.”
Playing defense against South Walton is always a difficult task of opposing teams, mostly in part of their fast-paced and no-huddle offense, that lineman, Ismael Ali, said is a work of art.
“I mean if everybody does their job you know, everybody,” Ali said. “Everything is executed perfectly, just a beautiful play gets done you know, and everybody starts getting lit.”
The biggest weapon returning to the roster is Pearce Spurlin, a junior, who is the second-ranked tight-end in the nation for the class of 2023. Middle linebacker, Shane Lane, had high praise for the top-ranked prospect.
Shane Lane: “He gets double-teamed a lot and not many corners that we play can guard him, he’s unguardable basically, he’s 6’7, he’s taller, he’s quick.”
The Seahawks finished the 2020 season at 4-6 and made it to the second round of the playoffs, but this year their veteran leadership is something Coach Tisa thinks can take them further.
“We have a good group of leaders in this group with Kemper and Kade on offense and then Shane over there on defense,” Tisa said. “You know, a good group of kids that do things the right way and try to get other people to do things the right way. You know, if we can get everybody pulling the rope in the same direction, we’ll have a successful year.”
South Walton will play Chiles in their kickoff classic game on August, 20, and will take on Jay in week one of the regular season.