NETTLETON, Miss. (WCBI Sports)–The Nettleton football team is re-energized after winning its spring game this season. The Tigers look to turn the page on their 2-9 record from a year ago.
Nettleton did not make the playoffs last season, starting off the year with six-straight losses. It was a new coaching staff led by head man Mike Scott. Offensive coordinator Ken Topps says everyone was adjusting to each other, and should be more comfortable this season.
“Last season was our first year with them. It was new coaches, new offense, new defense, it was a learning curve for everybody,” Topps said. “This year, we come in with more playing experience, we gel a little bit, we kind of know each other. This season, I’m hoping we get everything turned around and going in the right direction.”
Senior Quarterback Dakota Cruber has started since his 9th-grade year for the Tigers. The staff says he’ll be a key to the offense threw the air and on the ground, an offense that only lost four starters.
“[He's] very easy to work with. He’s willing to work hard. Very coachable, he’s going to work hard, every time he hits the field he’s going to compete to the best of his abilities and I can count on that. I like having him, I love coaching him,” Topps said.
Cruber says he’s learned to be a leader and is trying to steer Nettleton to a winning direction.
“We’re just trying to forget because since ninth grade I’ve only won seven or eight games so you’ve got to learn to forget. You have to learn how to forget the past and move on and get better,” Cruber said.
He’ll be helped by senior wide receiver Levert Jernigan, who also plays cornerback. The defense is led by a number of upperclassmen. The coaching staff is excited about senior Demaris Samuel.
“Refocusing, what’s in the past is in the past, you just have to look forward. Highly excited, I’m so ready right now for the first game against Baldwyn. The anticipation is killing me,” Samuel said.
The coaching staff believes the team is gaining momentum.
“Coming out of the spring, we actually won our spring game and that helped with the confidence. Coming off a season like we had last year, getting that win in the spring has turned a lot of heads with the program. The kids have kind of bought in,” Topps said.