Thursday, July 31, 2008
Hawks return solid nucleus for 2008
By BARRY BURLESON
Clifford Brown can hardly wait until 12:01 a.m. next Monday, Aug. 4.
That’s when his Holly Springs High School Hawks will hold their annual “midnight practice” to officially kick off a new football season.
“I’m real excited, more excited than ever,” the head coach said. “I’m so ready to make amends for last year’s debacle, as far as what we wanted to accomplish.”
That debacle started with vandalism to the Hawks’ football field, which meant two early season home games had to be moved to the road. And the end result was a 4-6 record. The 2007 season did end on a high note – a 42-20 win at Lewisburg.
His returnees are solid. He lost just four starters on offense and three on defense.
“I’m real excited about what we’ve got coming back,” Coach Brown said.
This year’s senior class, 15 members strong, is the first he has guided throughout high school. He is entering his fourth season as head coach.
“This group of seniors went undefeated as eighth graders,” Brown said. “I know varsity is different, but it’s a big indication of what we can accomplish. This is a solid senior class, going into the fourth year of the same program, and I hope it will make a world of difference.”
Some of those seniors are high on college recruiting charts, too – like defensive back/wide receiver Darryl Kinkle, lineman Bobby Barksdale and DB/wide receiver Brandon Thomas.
Junior quarterback Demetri Oliver has been on the varsity squad since the eighth grade and started last year.
“Of course, we want to have a strong running game, but we hope to extend the passing game and push it down the field a little bit more,” he said. “We have some veteran receivers back and our quarterback, so we hope to get the ball down the field with more accuracy.”
Defensively, Brown said, “We want to be more aggressive in attacking – more pressure.”
The district race will be rugged. He said a new program, Lewisburg, will feature its first senor class, and “could be scary.” Senatobia is “solid year-in and year-out,” Brown said, and Byhalia had an “exceptional season last year and developed confidence.” Plus, Rosa Fort has a lot of players returning.
“Our goal is respect everybody and fear none,” he said.
Last season, Brown said he watched Marshall Academy have success in the playoffs and reach the state championship game.
“I saw the excitement in those kids,” he said. “That’s our goal – to get down I-55. I hope they go again and we follow. We want that feeling.”
The Hawks go to Horn Lake in a preseason jamboree contest Friday, Aug. 22.
They kick off the regular season Friday, Aug. 29, at Cordova, Tenn.
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