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Adams County Christian School changes identity in spring

Adams County Christian School’s Carlos Woods throws the ball during spring football practice Thursday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Christian School’s Carlos Woods throws the ball during spring football practice Thursday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

 

NATCHEZ — The opportunity of playing for a state championship isn’t enough for Adams County Christian School.

As the football team competed against one another in spring practice Thursday, there was an underlying message being told through all of the on-field collisions and finesse drills — win a ring in 2015 with toughness.

“The goal is to get a ring and come out on top,” running back Jordan Wells said.

ACCS head coach David King said his team approached that mentality minutes after a 35-21 loss to Centreville in the 2014 MAIS AA State Championship Game.

“You know, last year, after the state championship game, I saw some kids having a little meeting, saying ‘We got close and we lost some great teammates, but we feel like we can win a ring,’” King said. “I feel like there was some widespread panic with us moving up a class (MAIS AAA) and losing our top players, but the lack of star players, so to speak, has made this more of a cross-the-board team effort.”

Without speedsters Trey Fleming, Torrey Smith and Lester Wells making plays in 2015, the Rebels will rely on its brute and physicality, something King feels his team will have no shortage of.

Carlos Woods, the team’s returning starting quarterback, said skill players like George Scott, Chisum Mardis, Jordan Wells and others are ready to step up and become key contributors on offense.

“They’re hungry,” Woods said. “We’re ready to eat. Everybody wants it this year.”

Not missing a meal alongside those hungry competitors are sophomore linemen Jo Adams and Chris Sikes, who towered over teammates at spring practice.

“I’ll tell you what I’m excited about is our linemen,” King said. “I’ve got some sophomores that look really good, and I’ve got Cole Gatlin who’s a tough nut. We’ve got some hard-nosed backs in Mardis and Wells, so we’re going to be a physical team in 2015.”

And while ACCS might have lost talented skill players from a year ago, the Rebels inherited a few more in the form of transfers. Safety Shaverick Williams from Block High School will play for the Rebels in 2015, and 6-3, 230-pound Chris Smotherman from Lawton High School in Oklahoma will join him. King said Smotherman’s transfer came about when his family decided to move back to Natchez from Oklahoma.

“I had an inbox on Facebook from his mother one day saying his father wanted (Chris) to play for me,” King said. “They moved back in town, and he enrolled. We walked up on a stud. This kid was playing tight end and defensive end for a 6A school. We’re looking at him at linebacker, but he’s the type of athlete that could play anywhere.”

Smotherman was not at practice Thursday, but in his absence, returning players were flying to the football in half line drills before engaging in furious battles in the trenches.

If last year’s team embodied finesse and speed, Rebel players are confident 2015’s squad will feature a hungrier, grittier ACCS team.

“We’re going to do what we have to do to get a ring this year,” Scott said.