MEDINA – Ask South Gibson High football coach Scott Stidham what his main goal is for the Hornets’ football program, and you might get a number of options.
“To help teenage boys grow into young men who are good husbands, fathers and citizens.”
“To be better at the end of the day than they are when they walk into the fieldhouse to get to work.”
“To represent this school and this town in a way both would be proud.”
When it comes to on-the-field goals, there is one primary goal for the program as a whole: Win a playoff game.
“Obviously there are smaller goals we need to reach to get to that one like make the playoffs,” Stidham said. “But that is one of our main goals we want to accomplish that we haven’t done yet.”
Winning a playoff game has been attainable three of the four years the school has had a varsity team. The Hornets made the postseason the first three years they competed, but they’ve never broken through to the second round.
They didn’t get the chance to break through last year as the Hornets suffered through a 2-8 season, and seven of the eight losses were close ones that could’ve been avoided if the ball had bounced a different way at the right time.
“Last year was a pretty long year from that standpoint, but I like the fact that we kept fighting and were in most of our games no matter who they were against,” Stidham said.
As far as trying to return to the playoffs in 2015, the Hornets will compete for a playoff spot in Region 7-3A. Three teams they’ve competed in the same district with for the past four years – Milan, Westview and Dyersburg – are in that league and look to contend for the region championship.
And there are other quality programs joining the fray including perennial power Liberty, athletic Jackson Central-Merry and possible dark horse teams South Side and McNairy.
Among the weapons the Hornets have at their disposal is Tyler Dysart, who proved to be a pleasant surprise in the backfield and in special teams last year as a sophomore. Austin Duncan will probably be the starting quarterback in the Hornets’ version of the shotgun triple option offense.
“They are both special players and quality athletes, and it’s important for us to make sure they touch the ball on as many snaps as possible,” Stidham said. “We have others who have the potential to be big players for us, but they’re unproven at this point.
“We hope to get them proven pretty quickly under the lights, because that environment is a whole lot different from a 7-on-7 scrimmage in July with maybe 20 people watching.”
The proving starts officially on Aug. 21. The preparation starts in earnest Monday when TSSAA athletes and coaches are allowed to return from the dead period.
“That doesn’t leave a lot of time for us to get too fancy with getting ready,” Stidham said. “So we’ll do what we can because everybody else has that much time as well.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751