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Rebels still have ‘hills’ to clumb despite ending long losing skid

Rebels still have ‘hills’ to clumb despite ending long losing skid
Rebels still have ‘hills’ to clumb despite ending long losing skid

Obion Central’s Chris Donaldson gives chase to Fulton County’s Leonard Smith during Week 0 action.
Obion Central’s players must’ve been asking themselves: “Didn’t we win?”
Despite breaking a two-year, 20-game losing streak with a resounding 52-14 romp over Fulton County Saturday night, the Rebels were greeted at practice Monday with the assignment of running 30 ‘hills.’
The extra running work served both for what head coach Shawn Jackson said was “leaving 30 points on the field” vs. the Pilots, and as conditioning.
The remainder of the first practice following Central’s feel-good triumph was upbeat, according to Jackson.
“The kids were happy; they had a little bounce in their step,” the OC coach said.
“The ‘hills’ are a little deal that we’re going to do for not scoring when we should after every game — win or lose. We really didn’t play that well, and we’re usually not going to be fortunate enough to waste opportunities to put up points and still win. We’ve got to learn to convert every time we have the chance.”
That could especially be the case against this week’s opponent — Byhalia (Miss.) — with information on the Indians somewhat hard to come by.
“We saw them Friday against Booker T. Washington in Memphis, and they have some athletes,” Jackson said. “Plus, we’re not good enough to overlook anybody.
“We have to do all the little things right, and one way to get kids’ attention and have them pay attention to detail is through drills like running the hills.”
That mission likely was accomplished.
THE RIGHT FOOT — If second-year South Fulton head coach Kelly Spivey needs to be reminded how important a victory in the season opener is, he needs to look no further than last season.
The Red Devils’ 33-20 victory over then-Region 7-1A rival West Carroll in Week 0 propelled the county locals onto a six-game winning streak that earned the program the No. 10 ranking in the Associated Press’ Class A poll.
This season, SF opens again with WC and while the two teams aren’t league rivals anymore, the importance of gaining a win in the opener is still huge to Spivey.
“I think winning the first game of the season is really big for a young program trying to find its way back to being a contender,” Spivey said. “A win in the first game gives the players confidence in themselves, their coaches and what they’re doing system-wise.
“Last year, it was vital to what we did during the first six games and I honestly don’t know if we could have won the second game or the other close ones last year without the boost that first win gave us.”
Since 1951, South Fulton is 28-29-1 in season openers. A victory in Game No. 1 has propelled SF to a winning season in 16 of the 28 campaigns in which it has won the opener. On four other occasions, the Redmen finished at .500.
BUSINESS AS USUAL — Though Union City has an open date Friday after playing just one game, the Tornadoes are treating it as a regular week.
Monday’s practice was actually one of the longest of the year, lasting nearly 31/2 hours, according to Union City head coach Darren Bowling.
And the Twister skipper insisted there would be no break the remainder of the week in regular such sessions while UC prepares for its initial District 14A game against Trenton on Sept. 4.
“This just means we have an extra week to get ready for Trenton,” Bowling said. “That’s a big game for us, because it’s the next game on our schedule and because it’s our first district game.
“With the new playoff format being so confusing, the way we can eliminate some of that is by winning all our league games. And you can’t win them all if you don’t win your first one.”

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