OKOLONA, Miss. (WCBI) — Okolona wants to take the next step towards being a powerhouse in 2A.
They certainly have the talent and speed to do it.
Head coach Jack Clark returns for the Chieftains as this year’s team, more than most, has the potential to be great but it’s not from what shows up on the stat sheet.
“There’s a lot of team chemistry with this bunch,” coach Clark said. “They know they’re young and there’s not a lot of returning seniors. The younger guys and older guys all feel like the same age. It’s led to a lot of team chemistry.”
“When we were young, we all came from the same environment,” senior J.C. Buchanan said. “We all have the same mindset. We want it.”
“It’s a brotherhood-type team,” senior Joshua Ford says. “Everybody comes together. Everybody competes against each other. Everybody works hard every day to get better.”
Since moving into 2A, Okolona has shown they can be a dangerous side with plenty of power.
But the Chieftains have yet to break out on the postseason stage. And this year, the expect that to change from last season and previous years in Class 2A.
“We’re going to be a hard team to beat,” Ford said. “Our leadership this year got stronger. On the field, we’ll work twice as hard as we did last year.”
“They’ve done a really good job as turning into leaders at the fieldhouse, on the field but also in the classroom,” Clark said. “We have a really good group of leaders.”
With a loaded Region 4-2A, making it into the postseason is a challenge of its own.
But the expectations at Okolona haven’t change since coach Clark has taken over. The Chieftains want to be a playoff team but also want to aspire for more.
“Every season, you want to start by getting in,” coach Clark said. “Especially in our division. If you just get in from our division you’ll have a chance to move forward. North half last year was our 1 and 3 out of our division. Just getting in our division, you’ll have a chance to move forward.”
Okolona will start the season on the road at Nettleton then return home to face South Pontotoc and Houston in back to back weeks.