Mike Carson hasn’t wasted any time making an impact in his new job.
The former Avondale football coach who took over at M.L. King earlier in the year, led the Lions to the NFL High School Player Development 7-on-7 regional tournament championship last month at Hallford Stadium. The Lions beat North Cobb 25-22 in the finals of the eight-team tournament.
The win earned the Lions a trip to Tampa, Fla., last weekend to play in the 7-on-7 national tournament. M.L. King represented the Atlanta Falcons and was one of 22 teams representing NFL teams at the event. the Lions were 4-4 in the tournament.
Twelve M.L. King players and two coaches made the trip to Florida, Carson said. Teams use 7-on-7 tournaments to work on their passing games over the summer months. Players do not wear pads during the games and tackling is not allowed.
Carson got a sneak peek at his new offense, which will be more air-oriented this fall since the graduation of University of Florida signee Mack Brown in the spring.
Two-way player Kevin Byard intercepted a pass in the end zone to preserve the 7-on-7 win against North Cobb. Byard also will spend some time at wide receiver during the season.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Cameron Myers, has graduated and former Avondale quarterback Jonquil Dawson, a junior, has transferred to M.L. King and is expected to be the starter for the Lions, Carson said.
“The passing game is really going to be our strength this season,” Carson said. “We’ve become a lot more multiple and will be more of a spread offense since we don’t have anybody like Mack to run the ball.”
The Lions’ top recruit, Demarco Robinson, lived up to expectations and played well during the 7-on-7 tournament, Carson said. A senior, Robinson has offers from Minnesota and Louisville.
Seniors Byard, Quentin Boswell, Shawn Sampson and Chris Stanford and junior Blake Tibbs also played well in the tournament, according to Carson.
“This was a good way for us to get things going,” Carson said. “It’s the first time a DeKalb team has qualified for the national NFL tournament, and we were excited about it.”