Lions bring no-nonsense approach to practice field
| 12:20 a.m. May 14, 2015
WINTER GARDEN — The Foundation Academy Lions are preparing for their spring game against Seffner Christian with an eye on a high-intensity, competitive season in the fall.
Jacob Murphy, a rising senior and the Lions’ second-year quarterback, has been key in helping the Lions step up during their spring practices.
“We’ve got a game plan, and we’re following it, and we’re not really taking a whole lot of nonsense,” Murphy said.
That level of focus has been apparent to head coach Brad Lord, who likes what he has seen so far from his program.
“It’s actually the best spring we’ve had,” Lord said. “We have a lot of returning starters, a lot of returning all-district players.”
According to Lord, the spring is all about evaluation. Winning their spring game in May is not his goal, necessarily — the veteran coach simply wants to practice and see where his team stands as it prepares for the fall. The Lions will kick off the fall season with their first game being against the West Orange Warriors, a steep challenge for a Class 2A program.
“Our boys are up for the challenge and ready for it,” Lord said. “Bob Head is a good friend of mine, so we’ll have a little fun battle of Winter Garden going here.”
Although some of their key players last season were graduating seniors, Lord said the Lions have some of the best running backs in the state. He believes Gabriel Walker, Konrie Brown and Jaquane Patterson will be difference-makers this season.
Not only does the team have to make up for the athleticism it lost but also the leadership its key senior players contributed.
“Some of those guys were really good leaders, but we’re trying to step up in that category,” Murphy said. “We had some good athletes, but athletes can only get you so far.”
Echoing this thought, Colby Adamson has seen attitudes throughout the team go through a positive change coming out of the offseason.
“Some of the kids that used to give attitude on the field — I don’t see it anymore,” Adamson, the placekicker for the Lions, said.
According to Lord, Adamson can kick anywhere he wants on the field. Averaging more than 40 yards each punt and with 24 touchbacks last year, Lord describes him as athletic and tough.
What is giving Foundation Academy its edge this spring is the difference in its unity. The Lions spent their winter in the weight room getting stronger on and off the field, building a bond in the process.
“I’ve never seen this team come as a brotherhood before — I’ve been here for five or six years, four years playing football, and I’ve never seen a varsity team come together like this brotherhood,” Adamson said. “I don’t care if we don’t win games. I like that we see a brotherhood, and we’ll always be brothers.”
Also seeing this change is Sydal Barton, rising junior and defensive tackle.
“I feel like this is the best spring practice that we’ve started out to because we’ve all bonded together as a team; we’re all one unit,” he said.
For their spring matchup, the Lions will face Seffner Christian Academy May 22.