“Things are going well,” Mathis said. “I wasn’t able to come in until the summer which is a late start. The kids did a great job working out. The main things are having a great attitude and a huge desire to get better.”

Mathis and the coaching staff have taken steps to get acquainted with the St. Francis roster throughout the offseason.

“We’ve watched film and saw that there were a lot of games that the team could have won last season,” Mathis said. “Our theme this year is to start strong, finish strong. We don’t say you have to play four quarters but five quarters. We’re stressing doing the extra. The players have bought in and we’re working on having a positive mental attitude as a family.”

Mathis spent last season as head coach at Franklin County High School in East Point, Florida. He also was on the coaching staff previously at Shorter University for 11 years.

“I’m good friends with Coach Booth and he recommended me for the job,” Mathis said. “He did a good job here. I had done some camps here in the past and knew about the school’s mission. I like the way that this is the perfect setting to educate kids. I’ve worked with small rosters before back at Franklin County. We’ll have around 40 kids which is a good number. We’re young but that’s a positive because we’ll have them for three or four years.”

 St. Francis’ offense will be run-based using an option attack. “That’s what I believe in and think it’s the best offense you can run,” Mathis said. “We’ll also throw it as well if the defense is going to load the box.”

Top returners will include two quarterbacks in senior quarterback Matt Davis and junior Nick Kreitner who will compete for the starting spot. Sophomore fullback/linebacker Bret Madren will also be a big contributor this season. The defense will be led by its secondary manned by Robert Jones and Mike Edenfield.

“I’ve established from the beginning that no one has a starting position anymore and they’re going to have to fight for it,” Mathis said. “Honestly, we have some young kids who are going to be great ball players who are just coming into the program. Defensively, we want 11 people around the football with effort. We have to play as a team and trust each other.”