Countdown to Kickoff 2022: East Central Hornets

Head coach Sam Huff is going into his 16th year with the East Central program but his first as a head coach.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT
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HURLEY, Miss. (WLOX) -In the East Central weight room it’s the best of the baddest, as the team finishes up its annual “Baddest Hornet” competition before fall practice gets in full swing

Head coach Sam Huff is going into his 16th year with the East Central program but his first as a head coach.

He says its a challenge he and his team have embraced with open arms..

“I think they’re excited. I’ve actually coached all of these kids since they’ve been in the eighth grade,” said Huff. “They know me, they know how we operate at the school. I feel like the transition has been pretty seamless.”

The Hornets bring back 17 starters from last year and for some like Senior Safety Carson Ryder, he’s happy to have this team around him going into his final year

“This is a special group. There’s something about them that makes them a little more special than everybody else,” said Ryder. “They just stand out. Being able to play all four years with them here, it’s like nothing else.”

Between the weight room and the practice field bonds are built and strengthened. For senior offensive lineman Dalton Graham he says he’s conditioned himself better heading into his final year, and he’s proud to have been a Hornet for the last four years

“I’ve played with these boys since I transferred here in my ninth grade year,” said Graham. “They’re tough as nails. There’s not a lot of things that can break the bond of these boys. I’m glad I can say I’m a part of them.’

And this year’s Hornet squad is ready to roll no matter what’s thrown their way.

“It’s hot but this is what we love,” said Graham. “This is why we play football.”

“We feel like we’ve got more in the tank,” added Huff. “We ended the season last year with a bitter loss to Brookhaven and this group is hungry I think. The excitement is here in the weight room and we just need to transfer that excitement to the field.”

The Hornets open up the season on the road at Biloxi.

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