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ACCS football has high expectations despite losing key players

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat Adams County Christian School’s Parker Rymer makes a catch over the defending Richard Conn at spring practice Thursday. Rebels head coach David King said he hopes Rymer, who will be a senior this upcoming season, will be a big offensive producer in the fall.
Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat
Adams County Christian School’s Parker Rymer makes a catch over the defending Richard Conn at spring practice Thursday. Rebels head coach David King said he hopes Rymer, who will be a senior this upcoming season, will be a big offensive producer in the fall.

NATCHEZ — Talent takes a backseat to tradition for Adams Christian School football head coach David King, and he’s still in the early stages of building a tradition at ACCS.

The base of his 10-2 Rebel football team returns with skill players like Trey Fleming and Lester Wells and quarterback Tyler Stockstill. However, the Rebels will have to overcome three critical losses on the offensive line and four graduating linebackers. Still, King likes the direction of the program.

“We’re getting closer,” King said.

In a simplistic way, King acknowledged that wins and losses came down to his team executing blocks and tackles. But in a more lengthy description, King explained that this year’s results be a reflection of the changed mentality.

The changes are already visible for returning starter Stockstill, who warmed up his arm and did not practice because of his participation at the MAIS Class AA State Field Championship at Jackson Academy today.

“The morale this year on the team is completely different from the start of last year,” Stockstill said. “Everybody was still down in the spring last year from the previous season, but after a couple of games, we started looking around and going, ‘OK, we can actually be pretty good this year.’”

What resulted for the ACCS football team was the Rebels first playoff win in 31 years.

King said it ignited the school and the team.

“When they won that and the crowd really showed them that they appreciated their efforts, it was a little contagious,” King said. “There are a lot of people that don’t understand high school athletics. At the end of the day, tradition means more than talent, and we’re a little bit closer to building the program here.”

As ACCS took the practice fields for its third practice of the season in shorts and shoulder pads Thursday afternoon, starters like Wells and Fleming were absent as they rested their legs for the track championship.

King, who is known for spreading the ball around, said the offense will primarily run through Fleming and Wells at the running back position, and with both players absent, King kept a close eye on another weapon for his offense. At 6’5”, Parker Rymer is the perfect candidate to become Stockstill’s No. 1 target near the goal line, and King said if Rymer can win the matchups he should, he would become a big offensive producer in 2014.

“I’m really expecting big things from him,” King said. “He caught some really nice balls last year. If he can be the threat I know he can be, he’ll take a lot of pressure off of Trey and Lester.”

Defensive coordinator Richy Spears is also eyeing Rymer. With Brandon Ross, Brandt Pugh, Matthew Rymer and Zach Young no longer representing the linebacker corps for ACCS, the Rebels are making some major changes defensively.

“That’s why we went to three down linemen last year, so we could get those guys on the field,” Spears said. “It’s going to be tough to replace them. They had a nose for the football.”

ACCS ran a 3-3-5 and a 3-4 last season because of its linebacker depth, but in 2014, the Rebels will get back to Spears’ favorite defensive set, the 4-3 defense.

With the switch, ACCS will focus more on its defensive ends, and Parker Rymer is expected to be a game-changer at the position.

“That’s what he wanted to play last year, but we didn’t play too many defensive ends,” Spears said. “With his height and speed, I think he’s going to give us a spark.”

Until the start of the season, King and Spears will continue working fundamentals and technique with each player, readying them for appropriate wrinkles on offense and defense.

And that popping sound isn’t too far away. King said the Rebels will kick spring practice into full gear Monday with ACCS dressing in full pads.