HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - The 2017 East Central Hornets football season was magical. Head coach Seth Smith was a master in motivating his players and led them to the 4A State championship game.
Coach Smith is an inspirational leader, able to communicate in a positive way to bring out the best in each and every player.
His Hornets responded. East Central made a remarkable run, 13 consecutive wins, many in dominating fashion. The 2017 team established school numerous school records. They captured the Region 8-4A title, first-ever 4A South State championship and trip to the state title game before dropping a 41-35 decision to Noxubee County.
After such a spectacular season, Seth Smith is the WLOX 2017 Coach of the Year.
Smith said, "Thank God! What a year, what a blessing. And I just feel fortunate to have been a tiny piece of this puzzle. South State champs, District champs, things that had not been done here before. It just goes to show you it's far greater than me. All our coaches to an amazing job. Tremendous football players."
Five years ago, coach Smith inherited an East Central football program that had hit rock bottom. He quickly changed the negative attitude and the Hurley community responded.
East Central is no longer a doormat for opponents. The Hornets have become a dynamic, explosive football team.
"So much credit goes to our senior class and the legacy that they'll leave behind and showing these younger kids that it's possible, "said Smith. "Our Junior High had a great run this year. Our ninth grade went undefeated. Our JV, I think, was 6 and 1. So, we don't want to be a one hit wonder. The goal is to maintain success year-in and year-out. And as long as we work hard, continue to do the things that this senior class had done, we feel like we can continue to grow and get better as a program."
The WLOX 2017 Coach of the Year, sums it up best.
"This community is as special as you'll be around or live in, "stated Smith. "Truly honored and humbled to have been a part of something as meaningful as this year."