Darwin Franklin has two immediate needs as he takes over as the new Millwood football coach this fall.
Win now, and build for the future.
Typically, those two goals don't go together, but that's the uniqueness of the situation Franklin inherits with the Falcons.
The son of longtime Millwood coach Varryl Franklin, Darwin Franklin has a large and talented group of seniors, many of whom have been starting since they were freshmen and sophomores.
That's where the “win now” aspect comes into play.
Players like Cameron Batson, Larry Lambeth and Alfonzo McMillian have been major factors for the Falcons for the last few years. And with all of that experience graduating after this year, Millwood has to begin preparing the next wave of stars this season.
But first, the seniors want a title — bad.
One area where the Falcons' commitment shows immediately is on Lambeth's waistline. The senior running back/linebacker has trimmed 40 pounds off his 6-foot frame while adding muscle in hopes of being more durable with better stamina for the long haul.
“December came around last year and we weren't state champions,” said Lambeth, who is receiving some Division I recruiting interest. “So ever since the season ended, I've been working. I've dropped 40 pounds; I weigh 200 now, and I'm ready to work on both sides of the ball to give myself a better opportunity for college.”
Lambeth powers a defense that has one of the most dangerous secondaries in the state. Batson, a Texas Tech commit at receiver, and McMillian, who has offers from Washington State and North Texas, combined for 19 interceptions last year. Speedster Janari Glover helps out on the back end as well.
Up front, Quincy Dotson, Deandre Lewis, Emmanuel Cole and Kameron Lyons give the Falcons a good combination of size and speed.
Batson will transition to quarterback this season, and has McMillian among an experienced receiver group. Lambeth, Glover and junior Sheldon Bulock give the backfield variety with power and speed.
“A lot of us have been together on the football field since Little League, so it's nothing new to us,” said Glover, a 100-meter state champion in track last spring. “We have a lot of faith in the linemen we have. We're just out there having fun together and gonna try to go get that gold ball.”