By Robert Wilson
Central Hinds Academy has had its share of winning football teams over the years, even capturing a MAIS Class A state championship in 1995 when Mr. Everything – running back, safety, punter, and kicker Josh Wren – led the Cougars to a 12-2 record as a senior and scored 77 touchdowns in his career.
Just three years ago, Coach Phil Hannon led Central Hinds to a 10-2 record and the MAIS Class 3A semifinals.
But the Cougars have fallen on tough times, winning only one game in the past two seasons.
“We have 11 seniors and they recommitted themselves this summer,” Central Hinds coach Lance Teasley said. “They knew they could be better than they had played in the past two years. They wanted to play for each other and get the monkey off their back.”
Central Hinds defeated Washington 27-0 Friday night in Greenville to open the season and win its first game since the last game of the 2019 season.
Junior running back-linebacker Brady Price ran 28 times for 163 yards and one touchdown and had eight tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble on defense. Sophomore quarterback Brady Clark ran seven times for 60 yards and scored three TDs in his first high school start. Senior linebacker Luke Knight had a team-high 12 tackles.
When the game was over, the Central Hinds team – 38 players strong – celebrated.
“It was emotional,” said Teasley, who is in his second year of his second stint as head coach. He was 11-9 in two seasons in 2015-2016. “Tears were shed. I was very proud of them. They’ve worked very hard to get to this point. We had super participation from them this summer. The win has given them renewed hope.”
“The previous two seasons of my high school career have been challenging to work through,” Knight said. “Our confidence as a team was low, but we continued to work hard and challenge each other to be better players. The summer, the senior players decided that change had to happen from the top down and began leading the team by example. We worked harder than any senior class in the last three years and pushed the underclassmen to give their all as well every day. We gave it our all each practice and pushed the guy across from us on every snap. This dedication and strong work ethic transferred to the game last Friday.”
“It was a great feeling to start the season with a win and see how all of our hard work paid off,” Price said. “We as a team have come together and pushed each other to be better and improve so we don’t experience another season like the last one.”
Central Hinds goes for its second straight win Friday night when it plays host to Park Place. Last year’s game with Park Place was the closest Central Hinds came to winning, losing 19-18 in overtime. Park Place defeated St. Aloysius 40-26 Friday in its season opener.
“We look to continue challenging each other this week as we prepare to play Park Place this Friday night,” Knight said.