August 9, 2012
It’s a day-to-day process for the Benton County Buccaneers.
The football team is beginning its second year of existence with a brand new coaching staff.
“The kids are still learning the game,” said head coach Eric Rice, a former Ole Miss Rebel. “Every day we see a lot of growth. They’re working hard and getting better every day – giving it all they have – and that’s all we can ask for.”
Coach Rice and assistants Brian Lester, Chip Martin and K.C. Cope opened preseason camp last week with 27 varsity players from Ashland and Hickory Flat.
That was after a busy summer of weight room work and conditioning.
“The summer went well,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of the players showed up three days a week.”
The Buccaneers will go to H.W. Byers this Friday, April 10, for a 7:30 p.m. jamboree versus the Lions. They will play an independent schedule and then decide if they want to enter district competition in 2013.
“I have no guess as far as wins and losses this season,” Coach Rice said. “Success is different depending on where you are. Our goal is to go out every Friday night and be competitive and improve each week. We need to take small steps. We’re building not just a football team but a football program. It’s day-by-day.”
He said his Benton County squad is made up of very talented kids with a lot of natural ability – many of whom have excelled at other sports like basketball and baseball.
“When it comes to football, talent-wise, they’re just raw,” Rice said. “But they’re eager to learn.”
Size-wise, he said the Buccaneers are not where they need to be.
“We haven’t been in the weight room enough – just two months,” he said. “I look for this team to get stronger. We’re trying to motivate them and get them into the best shape possible.”
This is Rice’s first head-coaching job. He was an assistant at South Panola for four years and also previously worked at Lafayette and North Panola.
One of his assistants, Lester, is a native of Holly Springs. Lester also played for Ole Miss and then coached at Holly High and Oxford.
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