Senior running back Keshawn Harris speaks for all of the 15-member class when he says the time is now.
Haynesville won a state title in 2009, the year before the current seniors entered high school, and this class doesn’t want to leave without bringing a championship of their own back to one of the most storied Louisiana football towns.
The Golden Tornado came close this past season, falling to Ouachita Christian in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
And all but one starter from the 2012 runner-up team will step back into the Dome when No. 1 Haynesville (13-0) takes on No. 2 Mangham for the Class 1A state title Friday at 12:30 p.m.
“We didn’t get it my freshman year, my sophomore year, or my junior year – so you feel like you have to come out and get it at least one time before it’s all over with,” Harris said. “It’s just important for me and my teammates to keep grinding so we can get on top.”
Senior wingback/saftey Felix Evans said getting a taste of championship football in 2012 stuck with this 2013 team.
“You want it more,” Evans said about how last year’s championship loss affects the team. “We’re hungry for it.”
With every bench press, every squat, every sprint this offseason, Harris said he had one thought on his mind.
“We think about it all the time. When it goes through your head, you think about how it slipped away,” Harris said. “And you’re thinking about getting stronger because last year (Ouachita Christian) was stronger than us.
“We had to get stronger, faster, better. When other teams aren’t working, you’ve got to be working. Never take any days off, and it’s a sacrifice we make if we want to be champions.”
Head coach David Franklin said Friday after Haynesville’s 31-14 semifinal win at Kentwood that the Tors had been eyeing a return to the Dome since the 2012 loss.
“I think the loss last year really fueled these guys,” Franklin said. “I wouldn’t say we played down there last year, but I think we could have done better last year. We let it slip last year.
“Ever since that ride back last year, they’ve done very well in handling the success we’ve had and have done a really good job.”
Haynesville is aiming to ride back champions this season, which would be the 16th football championship in program history — second-most behind John Curtis with 25.