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WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) — No team ever expects to go win-less for an entire season.

Oak Hill Academy did back in 2011. It was reasonable to expect then for 2012 that the Raiders would struggle, but that wasn’t the case.

First year head coach Daniel Merchant turned around OHA in just one season and got the Raiders to .500 at 6-6. This season, it’s about building off of what last year produced.

“It was tough to change the mentality,” coach Merchant said.  “When we got here, the kids were eager and ready to win. I could tell that when I got here last year. They were wanting to erase the 0-10 season a year ago. You can tell that over the summer workouts we had a great turn-out and we’re ready to go.”

“We made a big step from 0-10 a couple years ago,” senior Bradley Allen said. “This year, we want to build on what we had last year. We have so many playmakers back from last year’s team. 6-6 was pretty good last year but we want to go farther than that and make it farther in the playoffs.”

The Raiders bring back a talented team across the board including the skill position players, where Oak Hill will lay their hat on this year.

“We are pretty deep in the running back position,” Merchant said. “Probably as deep as I’ve ever seen since I’ve been coaching.”

What it comes down to for Oak Hill Academy this year is competing for a  State Championship. The Raiders move into a new division in Double A where the competition will be amped up once again.

“We have a pretty tough schedule. A lot of tough games,” Allen said.  “This year we’re expecting to go pretty far in the playoffs and make a championship run.”

“All of our coaches and players think we can win State this year and we can make it a long way in the playoff,” junior Drake Riley said.  “They really believe in us and they think we have the potential to do it.”

The Raiders will start at home on August 23rd against Hartfield Academy.

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