HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) – It is no secret, the Hemphill Hornets will be going into this football season as underdogs, however, observers say do not count them out just yet.
Coach Ken Stanley says he is selling it and the players are buying it. "They're hungry to win, and they want to do whatever it takes. And, I think, that's helping them to buy into what we're selling."
Stanley is taking his team back to the basics and conditioning his team to be more physical. He says if they can improve their basic skills, playoffs, district, and the rest will follow.
"Everything, our focus, is on preparing for district and giving ourselves an opportunity at a state playoff contender."
It looks like the players are ready to step up to the plate, following last year's 0-10 season. "We talked about restoring the pride around here. You know in recent years, past recent years, they've had some success here, and right now we're about restoring the pride," said Stanley.
Hemphill has a new coach and some strong returning seniors to lead them to victories. "I have great expectations for this team. I mean, if we come up this year. A whole different team, I think," said Spencer Ince, senior right guard and defensive tackle.
Senior Jordan Twine, running back and outside linebacker, says he is starting with himself to be a better asset to the team. "Cutting down on my fumbles, step up, be a bigger player on defense for my team, and just step up at that right time."
The Hornets are hungry to get out on the field and reclaim their pride. Senior linebacker, nose guard and tackle Michael Moore says they are looking to make the playoffs and then some.
Already Ince feels a different hunger in his teammates. "Just their effort, for one thing, I mean they show up every day and play hard."
"Just, you just got to keep everybody going on the last gassers or getting in shape. Just keep everybody running," said Moore.
The Hornets look forward to playing rival, West Sabine and reclaiming some titles this season. "Pinecone bowl, definitely got to get that trophy back," observed Jordan Twine, senior running back and outside linebacker.
With a new coach, a new mindset, and a new season, Hemphill is looking to have a major comeback this year. "Picking up the tempo, getting to the ball, securing tackles, I mean all about defense this year," added Twine.
"They can expect victories, obviously we want, but the one thing I can guarantee is we're going to have kids out here working their tail end off. Whether it's here on the field, in the community, in the classroom, giving a great effort and something this community can be proud of," said Stanley.
It is only pre-season and the Hornets are already causing quite a buzz.