While it’s only spring, Nation Ford head football coach Michael Allen is happy with what he is seeing at football practice so far.
The Falcons are bringing back 14 returning starters from last year’s team, nine of which were on defense.
“We have been able to advance quicker than we have before, so that is a positive,” Allen said. “We are about as deep as we have ever been.”
One position the Falcons need to fill for the second straight year is that of quarterback as last season’s starter Kirk Rygol will be playing at North Greenville University this fall. The Falcons currently are evaluating five different players at the position and will have their work cut out for them in making a decision over the summer.
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Allen said pass-dominant Nation Ford also is trying to work more on a running game this coming season.
“We always try to advance in other areas,” he said. “We would like to run the ball more.”
A returning key player for Nation Ford is Ben Tuipulotu, who tore his ACL in last year’s playoff game and missed both the basketball and soccer seasons because of it. Allen said Tuipulotu will play on both sides of the ball in 2017, but predicts he will see more time at receiver than on defense. He will be limited in what he does this summer as he continues to rehab and get back to 100 percent, Allen said.
Tuipulotu, a rising senior, has already committed verbally to play for BYU like his older brother, Hank, a star tight end at NaFo.
Another player with several colleges looking at him is kicker Skyler DeLong.
“People are flying in all over the country to look at him,” Allen said. “He has put in a lot of work.”
Nation Ford will open on the road in the 2017 season at Irmo in Week 0. The Falcons will play their first home game against South Pointe the next week before having their bye week early in the season. They will also have home games against Clover Sept. 29, Rock Hill Oct. 6, and Byrnes Oct. 13. They will also play road games at Indian Land Sept.22 and end the regular season at Fort Mill Oct. 27.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM