For the Independence Football Team, this season’s theme is out with the old, in with the new.
“There’s a whole lot of new going on around here,” first-year head coach John Lilly said. “There’s a new principal, new assistant principle, new athletic director, new head coach … So, there’s a lot of teaching going on — implementing a new system — but [the players] are buying in pretty good. I’m pretty pleased where we’re at at this moment.”
Change has become the norm for the Patriots. Independence football has had three different head coaches in as many years. But, the coaching carousel has only drawn the players closer together.
“If we don’t have consistency in coaches, we have a consistency in ever player,” lineman Isaac Jarrett said. “Because every year there’s going to be some players that come back and each year you’re going to see those players. So, therefore, you’re just going to end up getting closer and closer and bonding more with those guys.”
However, the team believes that John Lilly is the coach that the program has been searching for to establish consistency and sustained success.
“He’s really bonding everybody as a team,” lineman Michael Powers added. “He’s getting everybody in the weight room getting bigger, stronger, faster. He’s getting everything worked out and everything is going good.”
Despite all of the change the Patriots have endured, their confidence is as high as ever.
“Win states,” Powers said. “We have very high expectations. The whole team does.”
The new-look Patriots will debut on August 24th against Midland Trail.