Tigers poised to come back from winless season
If it’s true perfection comes in different forms, one might call the McKenzie High School football team perfectly imperfect.
The Tigers are coming off an 0-10 season that followed a 12-1 season the year before.
McKenzie is looking to turn its fortune around this Friday when they travel to Flomaton High School in Escambia County.
Although the players could have a lot to be down about, they are looking forward to the season with positive attitudes.
&uot;I think we’ll come out pretty good,&uot; said senior center and defensive end Travis Bush. &uot;It’ll be a real good game. It’ll be where we set the bar for what we do the rest of the season.&uot;
The Tigers fielded a team of just 16 players a year ago. That number is up to 28 this season.
The increase in bodies could be a factor in any success the Tigers have this year.
They are facing a Flomaton team that lost its starting quarterback and running back from the previous season.
Although the outcome looks promising for a team that will field a lot of seniors, the Tigers are not taking this game too lightly.
&uot;I think this will be a tough game,&uot; said wide receiver and safety David Davis. &uot;Brantley is the other tough game on our schedule.&uot;
New coach David Kirkland is charged with the task of leading a group of players that did not win a game last season.
The Tigers believe the one factor that will turn things around for them is the unity they share on and off the field.
&uot;There’s a lot of togetherness,&uot; said wide receiver and linebacker Matthew Bush. &uot;We respect each other.&uot;
McKenzie hopes the respect they have for each other will be matched by respect from other teams.
The Tigers went from a potential power in 2A football to a team their opponents looked forward to playing.
Their goals for this year are clearly defined – to get back to playing the type of football that earned them an undefeated record just two years ago.
&uot;We were 10-0, then we went 0-10, now we’re going to go 10-0 again,&uot; said Matthew Bush.
Ten wins would guarantee them a berth in the playoffs, and would shut the mouths of naysayers.
Although they are treating the game against Flomaton with the utmost seriousness, the Tigers have a lot in their favor.
The Hurricanes lost their starting quarterback and running back from a year ago and will not return many seniors.
A win to start the season could be the confidence builder the Tigers need to play winning football once again.
But their goal isn’t just to win. They want to make a statement.
&uot;We want to win a regional championship and make it to the playoffs,&uot; said Travis Bush.
The playoffs look a long way off for a team that wasn’t even ranked in the pre-season polls.
But the Tigers believe in themselves – and that’s enough for them.
Coach Kirkland could not be reached for comment on this story.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.