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West Harrison looks for turnaround in 2016

The West Harrison football team is looking for a turnaround under new head coach Tracy Rogers.
The West Harrison football team is looking for a turnaround under new head coach Tracy Rogers. ttisbell@sunherald.com

A new coach, a new optimism.

The West Harrison High School Hurricanes have a new head coach — Tracy Rogers — and a reborn optimism heading into the 2016 football season.

The Hurricanes football program has been struggling recently, going 0-22 the past two seasons.

The ‘Canes have not won a game on the gridiron since a 27-20 win over Long Beach in 2013.

Rogers replaced Sean Harden as the head football coach, and the Hurricanes are looking forward, not backward, in preparing for the Region 4-5A race.

“There is a lot of excitement,” Rogers said. “Throughout the summer, we’ve had 90-95 percent attendance, and we have around 60-to-65 kids in uniform.

“First, when we got the job, our numbers were down. We want to get the numbers up. I had a few coaches that stayed on and we hired some new coaches. These coaches love the game of football and love these kids. When the kids see that you care about them, then they want to play for you. We’re building a big family, a West Harrison football program. We’re preaching family — work together, help each other out.”

Leading the way

Sophomore Dayln Anderson will direct the spread offense for the ‘Canes.

“He played as a freshman for us last year,” Rogers said. “He’s a leader for us, he leads by example. He may have missed one summer workout. But other than that, he has been here every day.”

Some of the other top skill players for the Hurricanes include junior running back Zavion Pride, junior wide receiver Ahmad Gage and junior tight end/wide receiver Hunter Sonnier.

Senior center Arthur Pickett leads the offensive line.

“We are looking for him to have a big year and lead that offensive unit,” Rogers said.

The 3-4 defense is led by senior inside linebacker Cody Gassman and sophomore outside linebacker Jeprice Preston.

The Hurricanes team is more junior/sophomore-oriented in terms of numbers. The ninth-grade football team went 4-3 in 2015.

Rogers, a 2004 Mississippi State graduate, has had previous coaching stints at Philadelphia, West Jones and Hancock before coming to West Harrison.

New outlook

The Hurricanes are radiating optimism.

“We look more like a team, a family, than last year,” Anderson said.

“I’m looking for a winning season,” Gage said. “We’re way better than last year.”

“I think we are going to win,” Sonnier said. “Things are different around here than last year. The coaches are really going to help, and attitudes are different.”

“I believe we are going to do pretty good,” Pickett said. “We are going to push it. We will put a lot of points on the scoreboard.”

Rogers said the non-region schedule will prepare the Hurricanes for the 4-5A campaign.

“In non-district play, we play some quality football teams,” Rogers said. “Hancock is two years removed from the 6A playoffs. Bay is a quality playoff team. South Jones was 7-3 last year and we played them a close game here last year (a 35-26 loss) and I know Pass Christian came close to a playoff berth. It will test where we’re at.

“There is not an off weekend in district. You have to be ready to play every week.”

West Harrison opens the 2016 season at home on Aug. 19 against Bay High. The Hurricanes open region play at home on Sept. 23 against Hattiesburg.

At a glance

2015 record: 0-11

Region: Region 4-5A

Head coach: Tracy Rogers

Assistant coaches: Jeremy Turcotte, Carlton Cotton, Shawn

Hicks, Sidney Brown, Phillip Stegall, CJ Felix

Offense: Spread

Defense: 3-4 base

West Harrison Schedule

Aug. 19 BAY HIGH

Aug. 26 HANCOCK HIGH

Sept. 9 PASS CHRISTIAN

Sept. 16 At South Jones

Sept. 23 HATTIESBURG

Sept. 30 PICAYUNE

Oct. 7 At Pascagoula

Oct. 14 At Pearl River Central

Oct. 21 STONE HIGH

Oct. 28 GAUTIER

Nov. 4 At Long Beach

West Harrison Roster

1 Daequan McInnis

2 Ahmad Gage

3 Jeprice Preston

4 Kadarrius Taite

5 Joseph Miller

6 LeJuan Lang

7 Jaden Williams

8 Tyrell Shade

9 Ma’Kell Bell

10 Hunter Sonnier

11 Jeremiah Lane

12 Damarius Allen

13 Darrian Brown

15 Cody Gassman

17 Dayln Anderson

18 Jeremy Lane

20 Jordan Bell

21 Zavion Pride

22 Harley Shehorn

24 Joel Washington

25 Adam Ladner

28 Caleb Peel

29 Daniel Nolan

31 Randolph Perkins

32 Elijah Reece

34 Tyrone Shade

35 Jah’Lion Jackson

40 Raheen Lipscomb

41 Hunter Griffing

44 Ryan Cuevas

45 Jordan Church

48 Justin Woods

49 Jeff Hughes

52 Matthew King

53 Drew Warden

60 Austin Pickett Cooksey

61 Cody Ledford

62 Andrew Bashears

63 Zack Lizana

64 Quesean Delgado

65 Jhaimeric Howell

66 Collin McAdams

67 Corey Bragg Jr.

68 Harold Rose

70 Derrick Cowart

71 Ja’Quawn Taylor

72 Dennis Magee

74 Arthur Pickett

77 Charles Huddleston

80 Tyrice Dobbins

81 Eion Ellington

82 Logan Peel

84 Norman Laster

88 Darren Farris

89 Beau Bennett

90 Kana Hudson

92 Tyler Davis

98 Corey Herbert

99 Maalik Owens

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