DRAFFENVILLE – With the first scrimmage action of the year looming Friday, Marshals football coach Ron Barnard is seeing progress stemming from last year’s overachieving 4-7 team.
He summed it up in for succinct sentences:
“We’re stronger. We’re not strong, but we’re stronger. We’re faster. We’re not fast, but we’re faster.”
Barnard credits the manner in which his players have embraced the attitude and philosophy he began implementing last year.
“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “We’ve exceeded our speed and strength expectations. These guys have done a lot to raise that bar. The kids are setting higher expectations.”
That has accelerated improvement, Barnard said.
“Now leadership is developing” from within the ranks of the players, he said, which enables him to concentrate more on directing what’s going on rather than continually trying to reinforce positive attitudes.
Among the things Barnard relishes as he considers this team: Seven starters back on defense, a full-house crew of seniors manning the offensive line, a second year for quarterback Chase Clark, who started last year as a sophomore.
Two-a-day practice sessions the past two weeks were marked by enthusiasm and players’ impatience with the limitations that extreme heat imposed. Many of the Marshals, he said, were going to the gym on their own for extra training.
“We’re enjoying the progress,” he said.
The Marshals will meet Camden, Tenn., Friday in the Henry County (Tenn.) Jamboree, which will feature the Marshall County middle school and varsity squads.
A second scrimmage, against against Union County, is slated at home Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m.