BY WILL NATIONS
Fridays are pay days for high school football teams. That is what Head Coach Tony Stanford told his squad after the first two-a-day practice Thursday morning at Oak Hill Academy.
It is the beginning of football season. Overcast skies welcomed the opening practices for the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) football teams around the state as preparation got under way for the season.
With its first practices, Stanford and Oak Hill honed in on learning new defensive schemes and the offensive play book. The Raiders also focused on adjusting to Stanfordâs new rules.
âEvery year when you start a new season, you have things you have to take care of. Itâs kind of like cleaning up the house,â Stanford said. âWe set regulations for the players to follow for our expectations of them. We want our guys to get those things right, and I know they will.â
The Raiders are putting in the hours to earn the victories on Friday nights. Senior returning quarterback Riley Pierce said the team will be in shape for the season, but it needs time to adjust.
âWe need to learn the offense. Itâs a whole new system, and the play calling is different,â Riley said. âWe are running the spread this year, when we are used to running the wing-t. I think we will get it all together before the first game. Coach Stanford knows what he is doing.â
The Raiders return a bulk of last yearâs starting lineup from a 5-6 season in which Oak Hill made its second consecutive playoff berth â the first time since 1989-90 seasons. Stanford wants the most out of his team on both sides of the ball.
âTrying to learn new things, we had a decent effort today,â Stanford said. âI think we can get more effort in coming practices.â
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