A few yards away from Resurrection’s practice field there’s a constant reminder of what the Class 1A Eagles are striving for — even if it’s somewhat unintentional.
While jogging from the school’s gymnasium, across Watts Avenue and onto the field for the first official practice of the 2017 season Monday, RCS players passed a framed team photo of the 2015 1A South State Champs.
“It lets them know that when you walk through the gates this is what you’re shooting for,” said the architect of Resurrection’s football renaissance, Scott Sisson. “We don’t talk about it but they know that’s what we’re shooting for.”
High schools are limited to just shorts and helmets for the first two days of practice. The teams can add shoulder pads on the third day and full pads on Day 6.
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In addition to working on a lot of special teams, Sisson also hopes to reinforces the basics during the first week of practice.
“We always do the formation, alignment and assignment. We work on technique more than anything else, especially with our D-ends, linebackers and defensive front,” said Sisson, whose Eagles are 33-6 over the last three seasons. “The DBs will work on checking coverages; just simple things you have to know. (Once the season starts) you can’t just look at the sidelines and ask ‘what do I do?’ They have to know.”
Coming off of a successful campaign like 2016, there will be plenty of expectations heaped onto Poplarville and coach Jay Beech, the reigning Sun Herald Coach of the Year.
Internally, at least, Beach said Monday his team is taking the classic “one day at a time” approach and trying to “enjoy every minute” of prep toward the 2017 season.
“We’re not trying to look ahead or anything like that,” he said. “We’re not worried about revenge or getting back to playing for another state championship. We’ll worry about that when the time comes.
“Right now we’ve told our guys what we expect of them: Just to play hard, be prepared and play with class.”
The Hornets should be practically good to go on offense, returning nine starters; the two projected newcomers are a senior and junior.
Defensively, however, Poplarville will need to find a new blend of players as it must replace five starters.