If the Jonesboro Cardinals are to return to the playoffs in 2016, offensive guard Destin McMillian, left, and 3-star DE/TE Calder Marria will need monster seasons. (PHOTO: Tyree Brown)

JONESBORO FOOTBALL: Cardinals hope to exceed expectations with young, talented group

If the Jonesboro Cardinals are to return to the playoffs in 2016, offensive guard Destin McMillian, left, and 3-star DE/TE Calder Marria will need monster seasons. (PHOTO: Tyree Brown)

If the Jonesboro Cardinals are to return to the playoffs in 2016, offensive guard Destin McMillian, left, and 3-star DE/TE Calder Marria will need monster seasons. (PHOTO: Tyree Brown)

 

By Tyree Brown

tyree.brown25@uga.edu

LOCUST GROVE, Ga. — The Adidas’s 7v7 Championship Series was one of Jonesboro High School’s first moments back on the field since last year’s region championship run.

Head coach Tim Floyd used this opportunity to start rectifying the key losses from the 2015 Cardinals’ high-tempo offense and aggressive defensive. Last season, the program held all opposition to less than 14 points per game while it ran up the scoreboards.

Floyd accredits his success on all they puzzle pieces of his team coming back together in time for the season. A number of injury stricken players took a toll on the team, but once back together the team flourished.

“In past seasons we dealt with a lot of injuries.” Floyd said. “When those guys came back, we got a lot closer as team, therefore the guys played for each other.

The team won its first region championship since 1944 with 9-1 record regular season record, and made a run for a state title but was knocked out of the playoffs after a tough loss on the road to Cartersville in the Elite Eight showdown.

However, with the loss of more than 15 seniors, Floyd is left with a young team that is eager to match, if not better, last year’s success.

“A young team really gets you back to coaching the fundamentals that they may have missed out on,” Floyd said. “You have to really pay attention to details as a coach when it comes down to those fundamentals. That’s been a big focus for us this summer.”

Floyd will now be relying on the new upperclassmen such as offensive guard Destin McMillian. McMillian prides himself on his fast and aggressive style of play. He attributed this style to Floyd.

“(Coach Floyd) is a very intelligent guy that stays on top of you and doesn’t sugar coat anything” McMillian sad.

This further explains the unprecedented success of the Cardinals in last year’s regular season. With the help of McMillian, Jonesboro averaged 24.7 points a game.

On the offensive and defensive side of the ball, Floyd has placed rising senior Calder Marria at the defensive tackle and tight end positions. With so many seniors leaving, Marria understands the importance of taking over the leadership roles.

“I try to be a leader for the team on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball,” Marria said. “It works to lead by example.”

Jonesboro finished day one of the tournament at 2-2. They managed just enough points to advance to day two of the competition. However they did not reach the final eight.

“We’re getting better,” Floyd said Wednesday as his team was getting back on the bus to leave the park after being eliminated. “We’re a work in progress this year, but I definitely see signs of improvement.”

 

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