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NETTLETON, Miss. (WCBI Sports) – Nettleton is in a unique situation in two different ways.First, the Tigers go from losing a lot on offense heading into last season, with their defense then being their strength, to now saying goodbye to those experienced defensive players and bringing back a more developed offense.

“We lost three or four really good skill people and we weren’t able to make plays,” fourth-year head coach Mike Scott said of the 2014 season. “I think this year we have some people we can get the ball to.”

The second trait that sets Nettleton apart is its new division in 3A. The Tigers add Hatley, North Pontotoc and Mooreville and leave Louisville, Kemper County and Winona.

“I think we’re in a more competitive division this year,” Scott said. “Louisville, Kemper County, Winona, all three of those teams athletically were a notch above anything else in this area.”

It’s a new challenge for the Tigers and in their minds it’s potentially an easier slate. Scott says that’s not something he has to tell his players.

“Our kids read the paper. They know what division we’re in. The main thing is how much confidence you have going into those last five games,” Scott said.

Building confidence last season was an issue. Nettleton says it’s eager to move past its three-win year.

“Last year was a bad year,” senior safety Jay Graham said. “This year we want to come back and show everybody that’s not us. We can play better.”

“It’s like an arrow to the heart,” senior wide receiver and defensive end Chris Long said. “We had expectations so high.”

“It was a rough season but there were some good points in it,” senior lineman Bailey Minich said. “We learned a lot, gained a lot of experience. It made us more ready for this year.”

The first step in the Tigers’ plan to turn the page is adding intensity this off-season.

“This is the hardest summer I think we’ve worked,” Minich said. “We’re ready to compete within the division. I think we really are.”

Sophomore Colton Ausbern is back at quarterback. Long returns after missing 2014. Scott sees promise for this fall.

“If we can do well in our pre-division games, I look for us to do well toward making the playoffs,” Scott said.

The Tigers start the year hosting Okolona on Aug. 21.


Aug 21 Okolona home
Aug 28 Shannon home
Sept 4 Booneville home
Sept 11 New Site away
Sept 18 Kossuth home
Sept 25 Open
Oct 2 North Pontotoc* away
Oct 9 South Pontotoc* home
Oct 16 Mooreville* home
Oct 23 Hatley* away
Oct 30 Aberdeen* away
*District games

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