By Tom Behrens
“The biggest thing is our numbers have increased,” said Tompkins High School varsity head football coach, Tony Tademy, in describing the start of practice for the upcoming season. Two years ago, Tompkins first year in District 19-6A, the Falcons had 60 kids for practice; this year they have over 300 kids.
“Last year we didn’t finish games,” continued Tademy. “The game of football is about finishing plays, finishing strong in the classroom, finishing strong in the weight room. We have leadership meetings; we have short term, long term goals, but we are still in the teaching process.”
Two years ago the Falcons played players on both sides of the ball and finished 0-10. Last year Tompkins received serious attention when they knocked off Seven Lakes, 21-20.
“We emphasize that each game is important,” said Tademy. “Our motto when we started playing football was “Brick by Brick,” one step at a time. This year it’s “Finishing”.
The Falcons this year will have 46 varsity returning players. “We have some guys that started four years ago that have been playing up. This is going to be another interesting year.”
“We are still at the point where we have some crossovers, have some guys who play both offense and defense.”
Coach Tademy lists some of the players who he expects to have an impact this year:
Brad Pinkerton, senior linebacker, made first team All-District as a junior. “We won’t have our original seniors this year so we will be the leaders of the team, we will have to step it up,” said Pinkerton.
“Reese Rusk has taken every snap at center. He’s a leader for us and we are excited about him,” said Coach Tademy.
A.J. Tademy, playing strong safety, is going to be in his fourth year. “We are a little bit older this year, and provide the senior leadership. Our strength is our defense; we just have to finish this year, and keep them out of the end zone,” says A.J.
Parker and Peyton Powell, one’s a wide receiver, one’s a corner; have been in the battles for the last three years. “Our defense is experienced, hopefully we can keep them off the board and get some touchdowns here and there, get us some wins,” said Parker.
Peyton had three touchdown catches last year… Strake Jesuit, Terry, and Seven Lakes.
“The kid I probably have been most excited about on this football team, that I have watched grow and mature,” said Coach Tademy, “is Reed Reddell who played corner for us; he can play safety, who basically I think is getting a lot of looks (from colleges). He calls the defensive plays, gets everybody in the right place.”
“Sebastion Terrell, junior running back this year, played for us last year, is showing some talent. It’s going to be exciting because we have guys coming back. This is our largest senior class.”
Coach Tademy says what happens depends on how everybody comes together as a team. “We have to keep maturing, keep coaching, keep grooming, keep being positive role models, and teach them how to finish.”
“We didn’t finish, had fumbles, turnovers. We would have dry spells offensively, didn’t get first downs, defense would give up the big play last year. The efforts there, but it’s like you get to the point where you have to strain, strain together.”
Tademy claims the Falcons are lacking in depth, that he will still have play some young kids.
“Football is a tough game, a foxhole game, not a finesse game. You have to have people in the foxholes. We have people in this district who are going to say we are going to run the ball right here, and what are you going to do about it. One person breaks down… we don’t finish; I want to look back at the end of the season and say we finished.”
The Tompkins Falcons first game is against the Humble Wildcats at Rhodes Stadium.