Alcorn Central football is looking for anything and any way to win football games within the rules.
To that end the Golden Bears have worked hard in the weight room as well as on the field and they saw a two-game improvement last year (3-8) compared to 2018 (1-9).
But two and three win seasons are not the numbers third-year head coach Matt Meeks and his team are satisfied with, however, he feels confident that the last two seasons were building blocks for the future.
That future begins with the 2020 season, which kicks off September 4 at Walnut.
“Over the last two years we have been laying a foundation, growing and learning how to win,” said Meeks. “Last year we had a lot of success early, starting the season 3-1. But we kind of fell off the winning train after that due to injuries, inconsistency and inexperience.”
“However, in the midst of adversity, we battled, competed and showed glimpses of greatness. When you are starting younger guys you are playing for experience and the future. I feel like that future we were playing for is here now,” he said.
Last year’s starting quarterback and leader, Kam Rorie missed time with injuries that slowed him down but he was still the focal point of opposing defenses all season. With Rorie now graduated, junior Charlie Staley will be a prime candidate to start week one at Walnut.
Other key offensive skill position players that Meeks will rely heavily upon this season include senior’s Jacob Leatherwood and Blake Doran.
“Staley had more total touchdown’s than anyone on the team last year,” said Meeks.” He’s a kid that if you tell him to play something he’ll do it no questions asked. He played four positions for us last fall and was voted second-team All-Division at defensive back.”
“Blake is another guy that was huge for us running the ball, receiving and just making plays last year,” continued the coach. “Pound for pound he is one of the strongest guys on the team and has tremendous speed. We will find ways to feed him the ball. He’s also a home run threat on kickoff and punt returns as well.”
According to Meeks, Parker Rushing- an East Mississippi Community College baseball commit- will be a factor at wide receiver while Jayden Adams, former Kossuth running back Jaley’s younger brother, will be the fullback.
Along the offensive line, which Meeks referred to as athletic and aggressive, key contributors will be sophomore Rylan Pleasant, junior Alex Rose, senior Gavin Lowery, sophomore Jordan Stevens and junior Dylan White.
Meeks said, “In the past, defense was an achilles’ heal for us but I think it will be our biggest asset this year. We are senior heavy, especially in the secondary.”
Key defenders for 2020 include four-year starter Lowery at ‘Mike’ linebacker and Staley at the ‘Sam’ spot. Sophomore Chadwick Sanders will hold down the ‘Will’ position.
The line will feature Adams at strong end, Rose at rush end, Stevens at tackle and Dylin Wigginton in the middle at nose tackle. Doran, a second-team All-Division DB in 2019, will start at strong safety while Rushing will fill the free safety role. Seniors Riley Steen and Seth Jones will be at the corners.
Senior Justin Hernandez will serve as the Golden Bears kicker this season. Primary returners will be Doran, Sanders, Jones and Rushing.