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WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) – Depth will be the key for Winona. That’s what they lack. The Tigers have some talent returning, 14 starters total, but will have four players playing on both sides of the ball: that’s the most in Ken Chandler’s 12 years as Winona’s coach.

“Depth is a big, big problem this year with our numbers really down,” Chandler said. We are the smallest 3A in the state now so we just have to stay healthy and hope these guys can go through the season without getting hurt.”

Junior Marlo Hill returns at quarterback.

“He’s small but he’s very fast and quick and strong for his size,” Chandler said. “He did a great job, throwing 14 touchdowns with only three interceptions in a short time so we were very pleased with him.”

All-State tight end Josh Carpenter is one of Hill’s biggest targets at 6-3 235 lbs.

“He’s done a great job for us offensively. He’ll be a senior, to go along with our group of juniors and sophomores, skill guys,” Chandler said. “He’s a guy that we really depend on to move us. He’s a great blocker and turned out to be a wonderful pass catcher.”

The Tigers graduate Patrick Purnell at running back, as he signed with Northwest. Sophomore Teon Thomas is one of the leaders of the skill-position players.

“Starting the season off we just have to go hard, team effort,” Thomas said. “Everybody just has to be together. It’s a big step because you have to put in a lot of work out here. It starts in the weight room, that’s where it started.”

The Tigers made the 3A playoffs last year, going 5-7. They’re putting in the work to improve.

“I’m looking forward to teaching the young kids to have fun but enjoy the game and play fair, to be them and have fun doing it, but win some games,” senior defensive end Maurice Rivers said.

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