Dawgs rebuilding after rare losing season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

UTICA — Since his arrival at Hinds AHS, Michael Fields has directed consistent winners on the field.

The team hit a pothole last season, struggling to an injury-filled 2-8 record and Fields responded by opening up the roster for anyone worthy of playing. No jobs are safe on this year’s team.

The War Dawgs have seven seniors on the roster, but most of them have limited football experience. Fields coaxed several basketball players into playing football and Hinds will even suit up a girl, Kiara Barnes, on the offensive line.

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“If they can help us, they’ll play,” Fields said.

Fields is most concerned about his team’s health, a point that has hampered the War Dawgs in the past. The team opens the season with three straight games against larger schools, including an opener at Amite County, a team Hinds lost to 38-6 last season. Most of Hinds’ losses last season, though, were close. Two were by one point each and another by 10 points.

Jimmie White anchors a front line that will be without John Gilmore, a hulking lineman who is at Hinds Community College now. The War Dawgs are not overly large on the line and the skill players are quick and shifty. That, Fields said, will be a key if Hinds wants a return to the state playoffs.

Seniors Kienté Williams, Raphael Wilson, Lonnie Gibson and Rodney Alexander should provide most of the firepower on offense. Senior Corbin Edwards could be the latest in a long list of standout Hinds running backs. He was hurt for most of last season, but in two games ran for more than 400 yards.