FOX 7 Football Field Trip: McCallum

The McCallum Knights are coming off a dream season but are now under new head coach Thomas Gammerdinger.

Gammerdinger, also known as Coach G, is not stranger to the Knights. After a near decade in the relative shadows as a McCallum assistant, he's now front and center.

Junior quarterback Cole Davis says, "I love Coach G. I've known him the longest out of all the coaches and I see him as a father figure."

But how does Coach G think his players would describe his style of coaching?

"I'd hope they say that I enjoy being out here because I do enjoy being out here. Energy. Passion. I don't know!" Gammerdinger says.

Davis says, "There's nothing too different other than he's a little fired up! You know - a lot more!"

Gamerdinger takes over for the departed Charles Taylor who helmed the team which finished 14-1 and made it to the state semifinal which was the deepest run in school history.

"Last year was a really special year. It kind of showed us what it takes to take that next step," Gammerdinger says.

Senior safety Gabe Williams says, "You expect to come out and do sort of the same thing. Try to keep on the tradition. Our motto this year is to pass the torch."

The problem is that most of last year's dream team passed the torch and then graduated. The Knights are returning just one offensive starter and a mere three on defense. Expect tempered expectations and growing pains early on.

"Yeah temper to put it mildly! Last year was a special group," Gammerdinger says. "They've been playing football here for 60-something years and that's the first group that's even gotten close to that. We just need to be the best team that we can be."

So while another state semifinal run is doubtful this rebuilding season, expect Coach G to reload with new stars and familiar core values.

"I'm really hoping the strength of this squad is the same as last year's: Team chemistry, accountability, kids playing hard for each other. Talent level may be a little different but we talk about it all the time: it takes no ability to play hard," Gammerdinger says.

It's a sentiment the players agree on.

"We are not laying down. Gonna play hard until the whistle blows. We're gonna give it our all and put our hearts out on the field," Davis says.