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HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI Sports) – Last year was Billy Cook’s first season as the Houston head football coach, and he says it was the Hilltoppers best year ever. Houston returns eight starters but graduated 15 seniors from that team.

“The senior class set the template for how to lead as seniors, set the tone for off-season workouts,” Cook said. “These guys are doing good, getting people in the weight room, keeping up beat keeping them going getting conditioned when it’s hot. Just getting everyone to kick it up a notch.”

Cook says more guys will play on both sides of the ball this year. Cook says sophomore Denver McQuary, who had 7 pics last season as a freshman, will be key on defense. He expects a big contribution from Damian Fields on offense. But the backups are a question mark.

“Depth, I know everyone says that, but we’ve got to find some people to come in and give us some breaks,” Cook said.

The man under center will be the spark plug, that’s first-year starter Garrison Howell.

“Transitioning in, he’s one of those guys who’s playing multiple sports. He’s had to change his throws,” Cook said.

Howell plays baseball too, and has had some struggles with his arm slot the move to starting QB.

“You just have to get used to the speed of the game. We’ve got seniors on this team who can help out and take control,” Howell said.

After missing the postseason for four-straight years, Houston made the playoffs for the second consecutive time this past season, and won two games. Now, it’s about keeping the culture of winning.

“We made the playoffs last year. We won the first playoff game in school history. We want that to be a continual thing every year so it’s not a big deal when we make it. That’s what’s expected,” Cook said.


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