Ferriday Trojans more experienced for tough district race

Published 11:54 pm Monday, October 12, 2009

FERRIDAY — In football, a year of hard work and dedication usually makes a huge difference for a team, and the Ferriday High School Trojans are seeing the fruits of 365 days of labor.

Last season, the Trojans often struggled late in the game, finishing 5-6 overall, 1-3 in District 2-2A play. This season, the Trojans sit at 5-1 overall, 1-0 in district play, as they head into week seven of the regular season.

Ferriday head coach Freddie Harrison said a year’s experience has been key for his players’ improvements on the field.

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“God has really been blessing us, being able to come out here with some really good talent,” Harrison said.

“The kids were young last year, but learned from their mistakes. I told them if they could just hold out for a year, they’d get more mature.”

That maturity can be seen in the fact that the Trojan players are more battle-tested, and able to overcome adversity better than last season, Harrison said.

“You could tell that, last year, these players weren’t ready for the tough schedule we play,” Harrison said.

“This year, you can tell there’s a big difference. These guys just rise to the occasion when they play. Three hundred sixty-five days makes a difference, and they used every one of them to get better by sacrificing time in the summer, being in the weight room and coming to seven-on-seven workouts. The kids really devoted themselves.”

Harrison said he feels very fortunate to be able to not only coach players with talent, but also players who are willing to pay such a price.

“Somebody’s living right and doing things right around here, because young men that age could be doing a lot of different things other than football,” Harrison said.

Harrison also said the parents and community have bought into what he and the coaches are trying to accomplish at Ferriday.

“The administration here has also given us leeway to make this the best program it can be,” Harrison said. “The parents, administration and community, we’re all one big family out here in Ferriday. That’s all you can ask for.”

Last Friday, the Trojans topped Mangham High School 34-12 to get the first district win under their belts. This week, Ferriday hits the road to take on a tough Jonesboro-Hodge High School team.

“Jonesboro-Hodge is 5-1 on its season,” Harrison said. “They have really good team speed, and they’re well-coached. Their coach has won three or four state championships, and will have his team well prepared.”

Harrison said he knows the environment will be hostile when they head to Jonesboro-Hodge, but he’s stressing to his players the importance of staying within themselves.

“We have to stay disciplined and fundamentally sound,” Harrison said. “We don’t want to play up or down to the opponent’s level, we just have to make sure we execute and take care of the business at hand.”

The battle for field position will be an important factor in the outcome of Friday’s game.

“We’re going to have to make sure we take advantage every time we touch the football and score points, because they have an excellent kicking game,” Harrison said. “We have to make sure to take advantage of our speed in the kick return game.”