CARRIERE, Miss. (WLOX) - With the unprecedented 2020 off-season in the rear-view mirror, the Blue Devils of Pearl River Central are full speed ahead on what they think could be a special season.
“Optimism would be one way to describe it. I’m very excited,” head coach Jacob Owen said. “We can’t wait to get on the football field. We feel like this is the best team we’ve had in three years, we have 26 seniors. We’re excited about our season, we feel like we really have a chance to make some noise.”
While experience is certainly valuable to have, that doesn't automatically equate to leadership.
“Being old doesn’t make you a leader. Being a leader is how you act. We have a bunch of guys who have led by example in the weight room, in practice, and during conditioning.”
A couple of those players have taken it upon themselves to consistently set the tone, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
“Being a leader, I’m not really vocal, I don’t yell at anybody,” fullback Ty Herring said. “I try to do what’s expected of us and let everybody know that’s how it’s supposed to be. I do everything as hard as I can.”
“I like to lead by example mostly. I’m like Ty, I’m not much of a vocal guy,” quarterback and safety Cameron Brunson said. “I like to present myself going full speed, so other people feel like they have to do that if they want to be great.”
Hungry for a postseason berth for the first time since 2015, the message to this Blue Devils team is clear.
“In this day and time, it’s really easy to make excuses,” Owen said. “The one thing I want to drive home to these kids is, we’re going to make it happen. Whatever situation we’re faced with, whatever adversity comes our way, we’re going to make it happen, and make this our season.”
But in order to sprint through the finish line, you have to start at square one.
“Win the first game,” Owen said.
“Be ready for the Blue Devils,” Brunson said.
The Blue devils will kick off their season Friday, September 4th, on the road against Lawrence County.