#HSFT21 Stop #26 – Pickens County Tornadoes
REFORM, Ala. (WCBI) – “There are always other people working like we are so you got to work harder,” senior wide receiver and outside linebacker Jacoris Barnes said.
After tasting defeat in the 1A state championship game, the Pickens County Tornadoes are working harder than ever. Head Coach Michael Williams returns eight starters on offense and defense who are hungry to make it back to state.
“It was a young team and a lot of things we couldn’t handle mentally,” Williams said. “That’s been the whole focus this summer. That’s why we haven’t done any seven on seven or anything with another team because I know for a fact it’s everything that we do. It’s all about us being mentally strong.”
“They know what to do now,” senior defensive tackle Kristopher Sanders said. “They know what it takes to win and what it takes to get there. I feel like we have the greatest chance to make it and win this year.”
“Everybody has been competing,” senior quarterback Javion Belle said. “We should get over the hump this year because we’re hungrier than ever.”
The straw that stirs the drink for Pickens County’s offense is quarterback Javion Belle. He is prime for another big season.
“Javion has done some great things,” Williams said. “Came in his sophomore year and took us to the semifinals. Last year took us to state. Trying to send him out on a good note and finish it out the way we’re supposed to.”
“We pretty much know what we’re going to do before we do it,” Sanders said. “That’s with everybody. That’s one of the best things to happen.”
“Running a lot of routes after practice,” Barnes said. “Just coming out here even when we don’t have to practice. Sticking together.”
But that’s enough talk about the offense. Instead, it’s the Tornados stout defense that has the team grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m not gonna lie to you,” Belle said. “The defense is stacked this year. Offense too, but the defense is always stacked.”
“All I got to say is y’all will see August 27th,” Sanders said. “You’ll see what we’re talking about.”
“Coach Hall has done a great job with those guys teaching them,” Williams said. “He is helping them have the carryover from last year and the year before that. He’s putting them in the right positions. Like they said, it’s looking pretty good right now.”
Pickens County hasn’t won a state championship since 2013; however, this year’s team believes it has what it takes to change that.
“It’s a little thing called heartbreak,” Williams said. “When you make it there and don’t get the ultimate prize, it adds a little fuel to the fire. Losing in that game can either tear you down or build you up. I like the way we’ve responded this summer. I can’t wait to get to fall camp and show what we’ve been working on.”
“We like to compete,” Belle said. “We will give our best night in and night out.”