Countdown to Kickoff 2023: Harrison Central Red Rebels
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Returning 18 of 22 starters from the prior season will excite any football coach. Having a lot of those returners as sophomores and juniors makes it that much better.
That’s exactly what Tony Myers and the Harrison Central Football Program have to look forward to for 2023 and beyond.
“I’m excited about this year,” said head coach Tony Myers. “I feel pretty good about our progress and the amount of hard work that these kids put in.”
“It’s really nice,” quarterback Tri Gaughf said. “We’ve come together well. We got our new turf field looking pretty good, so I think our team is going to be good.
“I’m really excited,” defensive back Kieron Jones claimed. “I feel like this year we have more potential because we’re all bought in.”
Following a 3-7 record a season ago, the Red Rebels elected to make a lot of changes to the program.
“Obviously, we have a lot of changes that had to be made,” Gaughf said. “I’m going to lead my team as far as we can go. I mean, obviously, last year’s outcome wasn’t good, but this school is known for football and that’s what we’re going to be known for this year, so it’s going to happen.”
“I changed my coaching staff,” Myers added. “I got guys in here that really know football, and I’m really pleased with the progress with my changes now. As far as the kids, they’ve bought in, and they’ve bought in quickly. We had a really good turnout during the summer and they’re working hard, so I expect really good things from them this year.”
Buy in — this is the message that Harrison Central used to motivate themselves throughout the offseason, resulting in a new culture around the building.
“I feel like over the past couple of years, HC hasn’t really been bought into one goal,” said senior defensive back Landon Badon. “It’s always been about the individual statistics. This year, we’re focused on being a team and buying in together.”
To prepare the Rebs for their 7A district schedule, Myers scheduled a challenging first month with teams from all over the state.
“If we can handle our business with this non-district schedule, it should really prepare us for our district because we have such a strong non-district,” the head coach said.
“We have some northern teams that we have to play,” Gaughf added. “They’re all really good teams, but we’re a really good team and we’re going to shock some people.”
Coming off their first season missing the playoffs since 2019, Harrison Central is ready to get back to postseason play.
“I just want to win,” said Badon.
“I want to lead my team as far as I can and have fun,” Gaughf boasted. “Senior year of high school, last year of football, might as well have fun.”
“Our goal for this season is just to be the best that we possibly can be,” Myers said. “I’m not going to put any expectations on whether we need to win district or state. We just need to be the best Harrison Central Team that we can be. If we do that, we can compete with anybody.”
“My goal is to make it to the playoffs,” Jones said. “Honestly, I feel like we got a state team this year. Most importantly, I want to see my teammates smile, play well, and hopefully develop into the young men the coaches are trying to build here.”
Harrison Central starts its season against the Ridgeland Titans, who finished 7-4 overall last season.
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