Thursday, July 20, 2006
Football season just around corner
By BARRY BURLESON
Coach Clifford Brown will waste no time getting his Holly Springs High School football team on the field in preparation for the 2006 season.
Practice can start Monday, July 31, and the Hawks will take the field at 12:01 a.m.
“We’re looking forward to our second annual midnight practice to start our season,” Brown said. “We try to get the jump on the competition. While they’re sleeping, we’re working.”
Last year about 75 fans showed up for the midnight practice.
“We want to try and make it better this year,” he said.
“It’s all about getting these guys excited about football.”
Last year the Hawks finished 6-6 and won a state playoff game for the first time in school history.
The same rugged schedule awaits, starting with the opener at Lafayette Friday, Aug. 25.
“We played a tough schedule early in the year and it paid off,” said Brown, entering just his second season at the helm. “Then we had a good showing in district.
“We would like to get off to a faster start this time around and then when we get to district, hopefully we will be a force to be reckoned with.”
District foes include North Panola, Water Valley, Senatobia, M.S. Palmer, Independence and Byhalia. The other non-district foes are Ripley, Shannon and Rosa Fort.
The Hawks’ roster will include 19 seniors.
“It’s a talented group,” Brown said. “And we will have a good number of juniors and sophomores mixed in.
“Defense should be our strong point.
“We had a good showing in the spring (wins over Booneville and New Albany), and everybody is feeling good.”
The Hawks have been running, lifting weights and attending camps during the summer months.
New Byhalia Head Coach Devin Rutherford has been getting his feet wet quickly after being hired in the spring of this year.
Summer workouts have gone well.
“I’ve seen more improvement than I thought I’d see,” said Rutherford, former defensive coordinator at Trezevant High School in Memphis, Tenn. “Leaders are stepping up. They’ve never really had a summer program.
“Players have better attitudes. They understand the game and understand hard work.”
The Indians finished 0-9 last year.
Practice for the 2006 season begins in just a week and a half, July 31. The first game is August 25 at home against Lake County, Tenn. District contests begin September 5 with M.S. Palmer at home.
“We tell our guys – we want them to be better than they were yesterday, but not as good as they will be tomorrow,” Rutherford said.
Marshall Academy Patriots
Coach Wade Griffin enters his third season at Marshall Academy and he likes the work ethic of this year’s Patriots, from the winter to spring to summer.
“Their consistency has been impressive,” Griffin said. “The kids seem excited. They’re creating their own new identity, and that pleases me.”
The workouts have included weights, running and seven-on-seven.
There will be plenty of size in Marshall’s camp when practice begins in early August.
“We’re larger and stronger,” Griffin said. “We will have plenty of size on the line of scrimmage – 240- and 250-pound guys.”
The Patriots look to rebound from a 2-9 campaign in 2005.
Talent also returns in the offensive backfield and defensive secondary, and there should be more depth in 2006.
“We were two deep in the spring in several positions,” Griffin said, “and that’s something we haven’t seen since I’ve been here. Hopefully some of these young men won’t have to stay on the field every play for four quarters.”
The season begins August 25 at Tunica. A new, smaller district slate includes Delta, Lee (Ark.) and Lee (Clarksdale). Familiar foes on the schedule include North Delta, Magnolia Heights, Kirk, Rossville and West Memphis. A newcomer is North Sunflower.
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