McKENZIE – Wade Comer may not be able to say yet his football program at McKenzie High has returned to the prominence it enjoyed last decade, but results from the 2014 season suggest the Rebels are on their way back if not really close.
Here’s a checklist of the Rebels’ accomplishments last season:
• Won District 13-A with an undefeated record
• Won twice as many games as it lost with an 8-4 record
• Three of the four losses were to teams who eventually won a state championship (Peabody twice and Union City)
• Played in the state quarterfinals
“Is that where we want to be and enough winning to say we’re ‘back’ or whatever anybody else wants to call it? I wouldn’t say that,” Comer said. “But winning the district and playing into the third round of the playoffs do beat not winning the district and not making the playoffs.”
The Rebels failed to make the playoffs the previous two seasons.
The return of senior quarterback Jack Surber and running back Eric Robinson suggests the Rebels’ offense has the potential to produce plenty of yardage gains on a consistent basis this year.
Surber passed for more than 2,200 yards last year and rushed for nearly 800. Robinson surpassed 1,100 yards on the ground.
In front of those two are a group of linemen who enter this year as a more experienced group than what the Rebels have had in years past.
“Not only are these guys experienced, but there’s quality leadership there, too,” Comer said. “We saw that last year in the way they responded when the team had a little adversity, and hopefully they’ll continue to develop.”
What could hurt the Rebels this year is their schedule, particularly the middle part of it. After opening with Class 4A Dyer County and a couple of games against West Carroll and Gibson County, the Rebels have games against Camden and Adamsville before traveling to Huntingdon and returning home to face Trinity Christian Academy before a bye week.
“The good thing is we probably have our most important games at home, but in high school football, you can win and lose at home or on the road any time,” Comer said. “We need to be ready to go each week no matter who we’re playing.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751