#HSFT16: Stop No. 31 – Nettleton Tigers

Aug 19  Okolona  Away
Aug 26  Shannon  Home
Sept 2  Booneville  Away
Sept 9  OPEN
Sept 16  Kossuth  Away
Sept 23  OPEN
Sept 30  North Pontotoc*  Home
Oct 7  South Pontotoc*  Away
Oct 14  Mooreville*  Away
Oct 21  Hatley*  Home
Oct 28  Aberdeen*  Home
*District games

NETTLETON, Miss. (WCBI) – Ken Topps takes over as head coach this season at Nettleton High School. He’s been the Tigers’ offensive coordinator for the past four years under former head man Mike Scott, whom he played under at Shannon 15 years ago.

Topps has coached many of these players since middle school. It’s a team that lost about three-quarters of last year’s offensive production, but has a lot of guys who have significant playing time.

“It’s not that we’re starting over, we’re just trying to build our chemistry,” Topps said. “We’re making sure we’re on the same page.”

The players say they’re embracing Topps’ new role.

“I feel really great about it,” Coleton Ausbern said. “I think he’s a great coach. He’s going to do big things.”

Ausbern, now a junior, will return for his second year as the starting quarterback.

“It’s great not having to start over, re-teach everything,” Topps said.

The Tigers are transitioning from an older, lifelong head coach to a younger former assistant. Topps said he’ll take a lot of what he’ll do from Scott and said his philosophy focuses on everyone buying into the team concept.

“I just want these guys playing team ball, giving maximum effort,” he said. “As long as they play together, that’s all I can ask out of them. Everything else will come together.”

Nettleton did make the playoffs last season, but won just three games. The players say they’re excited to prove that they’ve improved.

“I feel really good about it,” Ausbern said. “Last year wasn’t too great, but we got to the playoffs and now everyone learned from that and saw what it will take to win.”

“We feel like we’re fixing to dominate the 3A teams, we’re trying to win, get a big ring,” senior Tyler Floyd said.

“I feel really good about this season,” senior Dalton Combs said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. Hopefully it’ll add up.”

Topps said he can see the chemistry developing.

“The whole team, we’ve worked hard to come together,” he said. “We’re trying to be one big, strong unit.”

The Tigers start the year at Okolona.

Categories: 2016, 60 in 60 2018, High School Sports, Local Sports

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