FHN Bets Future on Past

Coach Brett Bevill shakes his players hands after their first meeting on Wed, March 2 (Jacob Lintner

Coach Brett Bevill shakes his players hands after their first meeting on Wed, March 2 (Jacob Lintner)

A crucial wager on the FHN football team was made on Feb. 19. While not the most fiscally costly, upon this deal, made by Athletic Director Mike Janes, hinges the team’s future. The Knights are betting their future on their past with Brett Bevill.

“We wanted to bring back the Howell North family,” Janes said. “We want to make games community events. We want to showcase our kids and how well they’re doing. We want to up some of the work ethic. One of [Bevill’s] biggest attributes is his passion. He’s walked the halls; he’s put on that football helmet; he’s been in the same locker rooms. He can really relate to Francis Howell North.”

Bevill, a 2002 graduate of FHN, donned the Knights jersey all four years of his high school career. He continued his college career at Missouri Valley College, earning himself the varsity Defensive Coordinator position at FZE in its opening in 2007. In 2014, Bevill was promoted to Assistant Head Coach, now, though, he is continuing his path as the head coach of his beloved Knights.

“We started the program at Zumwalt East,” Bevill said, “and we really hung our hat on building tradition and a hard work ethic. I feel that all of the things I learned starting the program from the ground up are going to give me a better idea and a better feel for what we need to do here to be a successful team. I feel good about where I come from- we were able to build a very successful and a very traditional program in a short amount of time.”

Stemming from his traditional views, the new head coach believes that the game of football has changed, but the approach is still the same.

“We want a strong presence in the weight room,” Bevill said. “In a lot of ways, especially on the varsity level, it’s ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ and if we don’t have dedication and commitment to that weight room, a lot of it’s for nothing. We have to get bigger, faster and stronger to compete.”

Bevill not only wants to bring back the tradition to the game plan, but he looks to establish a traditional, winning mentality amongst his players, something that he says has been missing in the program. The three keys to this traditional program, Bevill says, are to believe that they can be the best, to be the most vested and hardest-working team and to be completely selfless.

“We’ve got to be able to, at any point,” Bevill said, “find a way to look out for each other and not be selfish. If we can care more about the other players than we do ourselves, then I promise you we’ll be a great program.”

Going hand-in-hand with the new mentality of the team is the new game plan that Bevill intends to implement. The coaches describe it as “simple,” and the major points are to get his players the ball in space and to control the pace of the game with physical line plan and a swarming defense.

“Coach Bevill will be open to a variety of offensive plays,” Assistant Coach Charles Lott said. “He will not be close-minded. We will run anything we need to run to win. Defensively, we will be very structured, and things be set in stone. We will run more of a simple defense that’s very structured. That way, there will be no confusion on what should be run and when it should be run.”

“I’ll just say this: We want to score one more point than the other team every game. I don’t care if it’s 2-0 or 52-51, I am good with that. That’s the top of the philosophy for the whole team.”

There is a plethora of excitement surrounding the new coach’s hire- and with due cause- but, as with almost every new head coach, there will be setbacks, especially in the early stages.

“With any coach, you’re always going to have a group that’s resistant and/or just want to do things their own way,” Bevill said, “so that’ll be a huge thing to overcome. All I have control over is the day-to-day. I don’t have time to stress over if this guy doesn’t come around, I just focus on if I walk in today and make a difference with these players. I honestly feel that if they are around our staff and around our attitude and around the way that we do things, they will buy in. At the same time, if they don’t, that’ll be sad and disappointing, but life goes on.”

For now, the optimism for the 2016 football season will undoubtedly continue. For now, the name Brandon Gregory is a mere speck in the memories of the football team. For now, 2016 is the year to turn it all around.

“Right now, we’re behind,” Bevill said. “Other schools have already started their offseason programs. At the same time, you don’t show up on Friday and try to win the game. You win that game well before you walk on that field. Our preparation that we put into practice, our preparation that we put into the classroom and our preparation that we put into our character all put the whole program together. My job is to get everyone on the same page, and the quicker we do that, the quicker we’ll be successful.”

Read about former head coach Brandon Gregory’s departure here.

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