Countdown to kickoff 2022: George County Rebels
LUCEDALE, Miss. (WLOX) - There’s not much topography on a football field. But that’s not stopping George County’s quest to get to the top.
“We want to climb the mountain. We want to be at the peak,” head coach James Ray said. “You can’t just decide one day you want to climb the mountain and do it, it takes preparation and a little bit of failure. You’re not going to get to the top the first time.”
Last year’s team went 6-1 in a strong region, led by a 23-man senior class. This year, there’s a smaller group - only 11 of them - all of whom will see the field, and take their leadership roles seriously.
“We just have to use our experience to help lead others and help them improve on what they need to improve on, and use what we know to help them,” senior offensive lineman Casey Tynes said.
Even with a fair share of underclassmen, the Rebels have experience across the board, including sophomore starting quarterback Deuce Knight, who was forced into the starting role at the end of last season when senior starter Ashton Hollins went down with a knee injury.
“Didn’t like the fact that Ashton was hurt at the time, but Deuce got those four games at the end of the year,” Ray said. “So he’s really not a new guy coming in, he’s experienced. He played in two of the biggest games we played in all year.”
The Rebels played a lot of sophomores last year, too, including Gage Reeves, who started every game at safety. Now a junior, he’s one of those experienced players on the team, stepping into a leadership role of his own.
“We just got closer,” junior safety Gage Reeves said. “It really helped us at camp this past week with the talent show we had, and team-building things.”
Regardless of class or position, this year’s squad has played its fair share of meaningful snaps together. Creating a bond that coach Ray says is special.
“Everybody has been showing up more, more dedicated, giving more work and more time for this, just doing more work,” senior defensive lineman Braxton Green said.
“When we talk about being a family, they put it to use here,” Ray said. “We don’t want to win games because we hate that team, we want to win because we love each other so much we don’t want to let each other down. This is my 29th year going into coaching, and it’s probably the strongest family-type atmosphere that I’ve been around.”
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