Saints try new role

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 17, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Trinity’s Wyatt Franks, left, and Seth Sanford perform football conditioning exercises Thursday evening in preparation for this year’s football season.

NATCHEZ — Even with back-to-back state titles, Trinity Episcopal seems to be getting overlooked for the 2011 season, head coach David King said.

And King also said that’s the way he likes it.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Trinity’s Daniel Dunaway, center, and his fellow teammates perform football drills Thursday evening in preparation for this year’s football season.

With a move back to MAIS Class AA, King said this year’s Saints team hasn’t been mentioned as one of the favorites to play for a state championship. But so far this summer, his players have responded well to the coaches’ challenges, he added.

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“We have another talented group of seniors this season, but they’re not the talk of AA, and that’s where I like to be,” King said.

“We seem to be a team they’re not really factor in (to the championship talk), so it’s a different role than we’re used to, but the kids are excited.”

King said he likes the under-the-radar role because it allows his players to sort of go into the season with a chip on their shoulders.

“The main thing is, it’s motivation for the kids,” King said. “They don’t want to be the group that brings the bar down, so they’re working extremely hard to keep it there.”

At this point in the summer, King said his players are focusing on speed, strength and endurance — the usual things.

“We’re sort of hard-headed, in that we don’t really change up a whole lot (with our workouts),” King said. “We’re doing the footwork drills and throwing and catching the football — just a lot of speed work.

“The most important part of high school athletics, in our view, is speed. We’re also working on our foot speed and strength for our linemen.”

And the type of offense Trinity runs has a lot to do with that philosophy, King said.

“We want our linemen and backs to be fast,” he said. “We really just use some of the (workout) stuff we pick up from other places. We didn’t invent any of this, we just have players that work hard when they get here.”

King said turnout has been very good for summer workouts, and this year’s group is the same as years past.

“We’ve just been very, very blessed with great kids,” King said.

“We’ve been blessed with self-motivated kids, and that feeds off on their teammates. We had a lot of success early on when I got here, and that’s carried on over the years. It’s just been a lot of luck and hard work.”

One thing that King will have to adjust to is not having his son, Kent King, to coach this season. The younger King recently graduated from Trinity, and the elder King joked that he’ll probably have to find someone else to pick on.

“It’s going to be a lot less distracting, let’s just say that,” King said. “I’m sure he’s happy to be gone.

“I found it funny the first couple of days I coached (without him here), but these boys are like my sons, so I’ll get over it quickly.”