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NOXAPATER, Miss. (WCBI) — Last year was a year to forget at Noxapater.

Head coach Casey Orr knew his team was going to be young and deal with growing pains, but all of the struggles last year have built a foundation for this upcoming season that has plenty of promise for the Tigers.

Aug 21 JZ George away
Aug 28 East Webster home
Sept 4 Union away
Sept 11 Ethel* home
Sept 18 Leake County* away
Sept 25 Sebastopol* home
Oct 2 Montgomery County* away
Oct 9 McAdams* home
Oct 16 French Camp* away
Oct 22 Nanih Waiya* home
Oct 30 Greeneville St. Joe home
Nov 6 Durant* away
*District games

“We started a lot of 9th and 10th graders at key positions last year,” coach Orr said. “I’m excited to see how they’ve matured and how far they’ve come.

“We didn’t have the season we wanted to last year and it didn’t sit well with our older guys that are coming back so I’m excited to see where we go after what happened last season.”

It truly was a youthful squad that made up last year’s Noxapater Tigers, but this season that youth has a valuable year of experience under their belt.

But again, it was a year Noxapater wants to forget last season: failing to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 has the Tigers using that as motivation for 2015.

“Playoffs are a big thing for us,” Orr said. “Our program has a lot of history and pride. Missing out on the playoffs last year left a bad taste in our mouths and our senior class doesn’t want to be a part of a football team that didn’t make the playoffs two years in a row.”

While Noxapater isn’t big in numbers for 2015, they are getting bigger where it matters.

The weight room has been a big selling point for Casey Orr in the off-season, and he hopes that will be the turning point for a team that returns athletes all across the field.

“I like how hard our kids have worked in the weight room and I thought that was a factor last year was our lack of strength,” Orr said. They’ve really busted it in the weight room to get stronger.

“We’ve got some great skill guys back: Vonte Woods and Keontae Daniels are two huge play-makers returning so we’re excited about them.”

And if you visit the Noxapater weighty room, you will see the 2011 State Championship trophy sitting on a table staring down the Tigers as they work. It’s a symbol of how high Noxapater can rise and what they can achieve this upcoming season.

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