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West Harrison football embracing ‘I’m strong, we’re stronger’ mantra

Watch West Harrison prepare for 2017 season

Watch West Harrison prepare for 2017 football season. The Hurricanes are hoping to show improvement in Tracy Rogers' second season as coach.
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Watch West Harrison prepare for 2017 football season. The Hurricanes are hoping to show improvement in Tracy Rogers' second season as coach.

Ask Tracy Rogers about his West Harrison Hurricanes and he gushes. He can’t seem to help it. He’s not big on hyping up individuals, but when it comes to the ‘Canes as a whole, he can’t help himself.

When Rogers took over the program, West Harrison’s roster was in the high 30s. Last year, the Hurricanes increased their numbers to around 60 despite maneuvering through a one-win campaign. As the season gets underway, WHHS should have north of 65 players on its roster, an impressive feat by itself.

While walking the practice field early in fall camp, Rogers listed off player after player who had perfect summer attendance, or at worst missed one or two training sessions because of a family trip. At one point Rogers even apologized for being so repetitive. He said his team has totally embraced the motto “I’m strong, we’re stronger,” which he hopes translates to progress in his second season.

“We started last November when the season was over,” Rogers said. “One thing we have done is we’re not an ‘I’ team. We have really come together and have a good bunch of kids who fight for each other, work for each other and pull together. Things have really started to turn in the right direction.

“They’ve committed and bought in. That’s why you just love these kids. They come to work every day. They don’t just come to show up, they put the work in.”

Offense

The Hurricanes will be multiple on offense with junior Dayln Anderson leading the attack.

Rogers said Anderson was “put into the fire” as a sophomore last year and commended his quarterback for how he responded. While he did throw 18 interceptions, he was a spark offensively and finished with 1,248 yards and 10 touchdowns passing on top of 272 yards and two scores rushing.

In West Harrison’s 26-12 win over Bay last Friday, Anderson passed for 110 yards and two scores and then broke free for 75 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries.

“He’s a guy who at any moment could take it to the house. He’s throwing the ball a lot better than he did last year; he had a great summer throwing,” Rogers said. “He’s just tough to defend. He can throw it and run it.”

Rogers believes the Hurricanes have four or five running backs who can provide solid depth out of the backfield.

Zavion Pride should lead the position group. The senior rushed for 412 yards and six scores last season. He averaged 6.8 yards on eight carries Friday against Bay, finishing with 54 yards.

Joel Washington and Joe Miller should also add depth in the backfield.

“We have some depth back there with guys who can go in and give us some good, quality reps,” Rogers said. “That’s important to help us stay fresh.”

As for the passing attack, five different Hurricanes caught a pass Friday, with Ahmad Gage hauling in a 56-yard score and Hunter Sonier adding a 35-yard touchdown.

Austin Pickett should be a leader along the line for WHHS.

“He can play any position up front,” Rogers said. “He knows it all. He’ll be our force up front.”

Watch West Harrison prepare for 2017 football season. The Hurricanes are hoping to show improvement in Tracy Rogers' second season as coach.

Defense

Rogers has high hopes for Jerprice Preston to lead the defensive core. After making 38 tackles as a sophomore, Rogers has seen the linebacker mature over the offseason.

“(Early in camp) we had a day where we just couldn’t run the ball in the middle because he had a great day,” Rogers said.

The second-year WHHS coach also expects to see improvement from Jaden Pruitt up front along the line. As a junior in 2017, Pruitt registered 37 tackles with two sacks.

“The leader up front will be an undersized guy in Pruitt,” Rogers said. “He played last year but it was his first time in high school playing a full season.

“We don’t have that vocal guy, but we have a lot of guys who lead by example.”

Gage should lead the WHHS secondary as a senior. Against the Tigers, Gage’s interception helped set up the Hurricanes’ final score.

Bottom line for West Harrison: If the Hurricanes are going to continue to make progress, Rogers said they’ll have to continue to buy in to his message.

“It’s no one guy,” he said. “We have to do this together.”

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

West Harrison schedule

Aug. 18: Bay

Aug. 25: Vancleave

Sept. 1: South Jones

Sept. 8: At Pass Christian

Sept. 22: At Stone

Sept. 29: At Picayune

Oct. 6: Gautier

Oct. 13: Pearl River Central

Oct. 20: At Long Beach

Oct. 27: At Wayne County

Nov. 3: Hattiesburg

West Harrison roster

1 Darrian brown

2 Ahmad Gage

3 Jerprice Preston

4 Damarius Allen

5 Joseph Miller

6 Elijah Reece

7 JaBryan Taite

8 Rudy Faulkner

9 Jaquan Jackson

10 Hunter Sonier

11 Jeremiah Lane

12 Cooper Martin

13 Jaden Williams

14 Keith Holloway

15 Nikko Pittman

16 Jeremy Lane

17 Dayln Anderson

18 Jaden Pruitt

19 Jerod McIntosh

21 Zavion Pride

22 Levi Fore

23 Khiyale Gates

24 Joel Washington

27 Brandon Hunt

30 Brendan Fore

31 Randolph Perkins

32 Llanes Dickerson

33 Travail Scott

35 Adam Ladner

38 Cameron Elzy

40 Cody Travis

42 Jared Nobles

45 Dalize Nutall

49 Josh Harvey

50 Zach Lizana

52 Jhaimeric Howell

53 Harold Rose

54 Ja’Quawn Taylor

55 Romello Johnson

56 Timothy Jones

57 Cobbey Wright

58 Brandon McMillan

59 Alex Kenney

60 Austin Pickett

61 Cody Ledford

62 Randy Seymour

63 Peter Lin

64 Quesean Delgado

65 Danny Bui

66 Collin McAdams

67 Corey Bragg Jr.

70 Derrick Cowart

71 Whitney Delaney

72 Brady Simmons

74 Derick Taylor

75 Michael Magee

77 Dae’twon Robinson

80 Jermaine Caldwell

82 Blayne Brierton

88 Alvin Mays

99 Jah’Lion Jackson

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