“That’s our controllable, you have to focus on the present and the day to day because that’s all you have and all you can control,” said Tompkins head coach Todd McVey. “That’s how we look at things."
Tompkins has run into a sledgehammer each of the past two seasons.
Each of the last two years, the Falcons have made strong runs through district and the playoffs, before falling to the juggernaut of North Shore in the third round of the playoffs.
Last year’s matchup was a one-score game against the eventual state champions, and that thought hasn’t left the mind of this year’s returners, as the Falcons feel like they are ready to take an even bigger step this year.
Overall, it’s been four straight years that the Falcons have fallen in the third round of the playoffs, as they have proven their talent, but fallen just short in those matchups.
But while the Falcons know how close they were last year to making what could have been a historic run, that’s not their focus. They know that to be successful, you have to focus on the present, the day to day and not worry about the past or the future.
“That’s our controllable, you have to focus on the present and the day to day because that’s all you have and all you can control,” said Tompkins head coach Todd McVey. “That’s how we look at things. When you keep it basic it keeps you grounded there in the present because if you start looking too far ahead, that’s when you stubmble.”
The Falcons return some of the most key cogs to their offense. The offensive line is spearheaded by junior Ashton Funk and senior Pedro Da Silva, while Caleb Blocker should take a big step in his junior season after running for 1,017 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore. Wyatt Young will also be a key piece to the offense in his junior year after a huge sophomore season in which he carried the ball 58 times for 539 yards and 14 touchdowns while also catching 40 passes and scoring six times as a receiver. And Matthew Ogunrin provides a huge big play threat as an outside receiver, giving both Young and Chris Gilbert Jr. lots to work with as they compete at quarterback.
“The guys on offense last year really had a great trust in one another and that’s really the key,” McVey said. “These guys have to continue to gel and start to build their own chemistry together now. That’s how you develop that trust in one another and those guys are building to where they can have that success by trusting themselves, trusting each other and the coaches and the positions we are trying to put them in.”
On defense is where the team will need newcomers to step up the most.
The Falcons only return three starters, in senior defensive backs Caleb Komolafe and Cody Chapman and junior defensive lineman Eduwa Okundaye.
Komolafe and Chapman will be huge pieces at the back end of the defense and will bring experience to help other players along, but the team has shown some great promise with players stepping up at linebacker and defensive line.
“All of those guys have stepped up and that’s the key because all of them are going to have to step into bigger roles this year,” McVey said. “Chapman and Komalafe have stepped up back there in the secondary. Chapman did a good a job at the end of the year stepping in and he’s really grown especially as a leader and with his communication on the field, setting up his teammates and putting them in good spots. And Komolafe, he’s always been quieter, but he’s really started communicating with the guys in front of him as well. If other positions mess up there’s someone behind them to clean it up. But there’s no one behind the secondary. So that’s big for the two of them to do that. They’ve had a great offseason.
Tompkins will get tested early, playing two very strong teams in non-district play in Cy-Ranch and Bridgeland, and things won’t get easier once district starts. The Falcons will open District 19-6A play against Katy before taking on Cinco Ranch, two of the tougher opponents in the whole district.
“You want to prepare yourself to play the best and that’s exactly why we scheduled those guys. Those are two really good teams, they’re playoff teams,” McVey said. “We look forward to the challenge of both of those teams. They’re well coached and we’ll have our hands full. We just have to go out there and take care of business, execute and see what happens. You want to see those kids go through that adversity and get better, so those two games in non-district will be really key for us.”
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