Hebron Christian School located in small Pheba, Mississippi, in the west part of Clay County made some serious noise in the eight man football ranks this season.
Though classified as an independent by the MAIS, Hebron rattled off an impressive eight straight wins and rose every week in the Mississippi eight-man polls. The highest ranking they received was #3 before the heart breaking loss to #2 Calhoun Academy, a favorite to challenge for the MAIS eight-man football crown. The Eagles finished #5 in the Mississippi eight-man polls and held a final record of 8-2 but were unable to enter the playoffs due to their independent status.
“I just kept telling my guys, let’s see how far we can get in the polls,” commented Coach David Foster on his Eagles’ season, “It is a major accomplishment to finish in the top five of Mississippi.”
Playing every game like a playoff game, the Eagles were able to put emphasis on every game and never overlook any opponent. After opening the season with a victory over 11-man Strider Academy, Hebron defeated their next seven opponents; Victory Christian, Calvary Christian, Clinton Christian, Mt. Salus, Central Academy, Kemper Academy, and Flint Hill Christian. Hebron beat these eight teams by a combined score of 304-94. Many of these games were finished by halftime showing how dominant Hebron was offensively and defensively.
A lot of the Eagles success can be attributed to a very Senior-laden team. Six seniors, Will Corbin Rogers, Taylor Coggins, Austin Foster, Tyler Doss, Jacob Ware, and Ryan Moore, led the Eagles throughout the season.
Offensively, Hebron was very dominant putting up very big numbers almost every single game. Senior Coggins led the rushing yards totals with 1,056 yards which led to 11 rushing touchdowns. Along with Coggins, Austin Foster (563 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns) and quarterback Rogers (758 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns) helped carry some of the workload for Coggins. Hebron complimented their smash mouth running attack with consistent passing from Rogers who threw for 622 yards completing 65 percent of his passes and throwing for 7 touchdowns. Ryan Moore was the recipient of many passes from Rogers accumulating 14 catches for 234 yards tallying 5 receiving touchdowns. Andrew Myatt also led in the receiving category with 5 catches amassing 109 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. Hebron consistently put up points throughout the season making it tougher for Hebron’s opponents to slack off on defense or ever shorten the deficit they faced against the Eagles.
Coach Foster preached to his boys that they had to do well offensively, but their main focus was on the defensive side of the ball. Leading tacklers for Hebron Christian were Austin Foster (98 tackles), Collin Moore (82 tackles), Taylor Coggins (67 tackles), Ryan Moore (63 tackles), and Channing Tapely (57 tackles). The Eagles held one shut out and only allowed an average of 17 points a game. Considering many players played both sides of the ball, Hebron was a tough team to figure out defensively and to put a lot of points on the board against.
After such a great year, Hebron hopes to return next August to continue their success and build their program. It will be tough to replace these six Seniors, but a few talented underclassmen are willing to answer the call and rise to the occasion. Hebron will return to the MAIS North Division where they will hope to have a chance to enter the playoffs next October. The Eagles will be a team to keep an eye on next year under the leadership of Coach David Foster and his son Hearne Foster.