Countdown to Kickoff 2023: Stone Tomcats

Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 10:47 PM CDT
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WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - Prior to last season, the last time the Stone football program made it to a South State title game was 1991.

Following an 0-2 start to the season, the Tomcats ripped off nine wins in a row, setting up a lot of excitement for 2023.

“We’re very excited,” senior Dylan Hayden said. “We have a lot of new people. We lost 17 seniors last year. There are eleven this year, so our entire O-line is new, and we’re trying to teach everybody how to do everything.”

“Just ready to get to work,” senior Daylon Collins said. “Last year doesn’t mean anything anymore, we just have to repeat and try to go even further to State.”

“I’m super excited,” said senior quarterback Connor Tice. “It’s going to be a fun year. Ready to get back out there.”

“Well, I’m really excited,” first-year head coach Jacob Aycock claimed. “Something that brings me energy is our coaching staff has done a great job through the summer, even back into the spring. We had a great spring. Didn’t have our baseball guys, but now moving into the summer, they were able to join us and our varsity guys. They’re hungry. They tasted some wins last year and they want to build on that.”

Despite only having eleven seniors and less than ten total returning starters, Stone brings back key pieces from a year ago. However, one new face in the building is former Poplarville defensive coordinator Jacob Aycock, who took over as the head coach for the Tomcats in the offseason.

“It’s been a smooth transition,” Tice said. “I mean, it’s different. It’s definitely different. But it’s been fun.”

It’s been good,” said Collins. “You know, Coach Aycock knows what he’s talking about. He’s a real good dude, man.”

“Well, it’s been great for me because we’ve hired some really good coaches,” Aycock said. “Our Admin team worked with us within the school and moved some stuff around and made some spots for us to get guys who are really good with our kids.

The senior class has already put their name in the history books at Stone High School following last season’s success. But for them, they have unfinished business and are looking forward to making more memories.

“We have eleven really good seniors that are all leaders,” Aycock bragged. “They have their own groups that they’re responsible for and they’ve taken it and ran with it.”

“I mean, I’m going to miss just sitting in the fieldhouse,” said Hayden. “We all just kind of lay around, lights off. I mean, sometimes I bring the Xbox, PlayStation, play football, watch football clips, everything like that. I’m going to remember a lot.”

There’s no quit in the Tomcats. In his short time with the program, Aycock has instilled a fight with his football team that has its sights set on greatness.

“We’re trying to keep it the same,” Hayden claimed. “We’re trying to leave it better than we found it is our motto this year. And we’re going to try to do the best we can with all the new people.”

“Just going hard at each and every day at practice,” Tice said. Just laying it all out there on the field.”

“It goes by quick,” said Collins. “Just enjoy it. Even when you don’t feel like coming out here, you’ll miss it. You know, all these guys are capable of doing anything you ask them to do.”

“They tasted that success,” said Aycock. “They made it to the South State championship game and now moving up to 5-A, they’re excited about that. So my message is just let’s be consistent. Let’s not just be good on Monday or not just be good on Friday, but let’s string together good days, and that’ll turn into good weeks, and then hopefully, a good district run.”

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