Trojans’ goal: Forget about recent swoon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TALLULAH — Tallulah Academy has seen better days.

Once a perennial playoff team and championship contender, the Trojans have won five games the last three seasons and haven’t had a winning record since 2003. The nine seniors on this year’s roster are playing for their third coach in as many seasons.

As rebuilding projects go, this one is the Empire State Building.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“You didn’t get there overnight and you’re not going to get out of it overnight,” new Trojans coach Doug Branning said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time, and it’s going to get better every day.”

Tallulah’s nine seniors have all played varsity ball for four years, thanks to an extremely small class ahead of them. There are also six juniors on the roster who have seen significant playing time the last few seasons, making this an experienced group. Even some of the younger players have already played key roles in their careers. Sophomore Cody Landrem was the team’s leading rusher in 2007, with 708 yards and five touchdowns.

Branning said the team’s overall experience was one of its strong points.

“It does help, and they’re positive guys. They show up, they work. They’ve picked things up real well,” Branning said.

Another plus was the Trojans’ team speed, Branning added. Only two players on the roster weigh more than 200 pounds, meaning they’ll have to rely on quickness more than brute strength.

“I really think we have good team speed, and that really helps. It can make a big difference,” Branning said. “How we’re going to match up with somebody that wants to lean on us, I can’t answer that right now.”

Branning said he planned to prepare just about everyone to play any position, and then have them do so throughout the game.

“What I don’t want to do is play seven or eight guys on both sides all the time. That leads to fatigue and injuries,” Branning said. “I have a list in my pocket all the time, of different lineups. I have so many lists, I lose my lists.”

Branning wasn’t expecting a miracle turnaround, he said, just the first steps in the rebuilding process.

“We’re going to jump in and go for it. I don’t see any reason we can’t be competitive,” Branning said. “Who knows what happens if you can keep the score close?”