Countdown to Kickoff 2023: Pearl River Central Blue Devils

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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CARRIERE, Miss. (WLOX) -The Pearl River Central Blue Devils are starting a new era under head coach Jacob Webb who comes to Carriere from Jackson Academy in Alabama.

As Coach Webb inherits a new program, he says the main focus this offseason has been installing new schemes as well as building mental toughness.

“Mentality and physicality,” said Webb. “You can’t do it if you don’t think you can, getting them to play physical and play through the whistle. That’s a struggle with every program and playing assignment football. Change is glacial and we’re trying to make a change every day.”

The Blue Devils bring 14 seniors on the 2023 squad and are heavy in sophomores including quarterback Qorday Russell who says the transition to Coach Webb’s style has been smooth.

“I think it’s been good. He’s been installing a lot more new stuff but it’s been better for the team overall. We’re learning something new every day,” said Russell. “I think it’s going to help us this year to put up more wins, we went 1-9 and we weren’t proud of it. But we’re trying to fix that this year.”

It’s not just the on-the-field work that’s improving.

Ethan Lossett is a senior linebacker and he says the off-the-field leadership has improved from years past.

“The team as a whole, we needed more leaders,” said Lossett. “We had too much playing around. We needed to get more serious about football. It’s very important, it’s one of our top things to focus on is leadership, we have a lot of young kids here.”

As a sophomore starting quarterback, Russell says he’s also worked to become a better leader in the huddle this off-season.

“Stepping up to varsity after my 8th grade year I was quiet,” said Russell. “This year I’ve been trying to push myself to lead the team, and let them know what I think.”

Whether they’re putting on the pads for the first time or the last time, the Blue Devils say they aren’t taking any moments for granted and want to send the upperclassmen off the right way.

“It means a lot, it’s very special and it’s already flying by,” said Lossett.

“I don’t want them to go out how we did last year at 1-9, I want to give them something to remember,” said Russell.

The Blue Devils open up with South Pike this Friday at home at 7:30 p.m.

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