Seems wildly appropriate that spring is considered the season of youth.
At Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High Schools youth is the theme of spring football, which began last week.
The Tiger Sharks had 18 seniors graduate from a 2018 varsity roster of 25.
As for the Gators, they had 16 seniors depart from a varsity roster of 24.
Each school is allowed 20 practices, including one jamboree.
The Gators have 16 practice sessions, Monday through Thursday each week over four weeks, two hours per day concentrating on one side of the ball each day.
Port St. Joe is adhering to an almost identical schedule except after 16 sessions the Tiger Sharks will close the spring at a May 17 jamboree in Liberty County.
Details of whom and how long Port St. Joe will play will be released later.
Port St. Joe coach Greg Jordan said the spring will focus on fundamentals and working to expose players to multiple positions to identify the best fit.
“There will be a lot of teaching, which I love,” Jordan said. “We have a lot of youth and inexperience and I enjoy working with the new kids.
“I enjoy teaching the game and that’s what I want to the kids to do, enjoy learning the game. I look for two things each practice, good effort and good attitude.”
There are plenty of spots open on both sides of the ball as the Tiger Sharks seek to replace eight starters on each side of the line of scrimmage.
Due to personnel, the Tiger Sharks will also be switching to a 4-3 defense instead of the base 3-4 of last season.
In Wewahitchka, Coach Bobby Johns has a spring schedule designed to have “literally no agenda.”
“For instance if we want to put in three plays during a given practice and only get one in, that is fine,” Johns said. “I want to enjoy the spring and I want them to enjoy the spring.”
Johns, as has been his want at Class 1A Wewahitchka, will not schedule a spring jamboree, preferring not to place that game-type pressure on his team and coaching staff given the many distractions and challenges of spring.
“Every day we get them right now in the spring is a bonus,” Johns said. “We are hampered by numbers, but I’ve been really pleased that has not affected us.”
Several players are playing baseball, each class has an annual trip and the Lady Gator softball team typically makes a deep run in the playoffs.
Toss in graduation festivities and there is so much happening that stressing about a spring football game is counterproductive, Johns said.
“Spring is a good evaluation tool,” Johns said. “I’ve been extremely impressed with kids so far, they have been very focused though we are very young.”
Youth, however, is assisted by several two- and three-year starters providing strong leadership, Johns added.
Regardless of approach, spring is a time to prepare for summer workouts to prepare for fall workouts and the next season to come.