By Adam Gore/ICC Sports Information Department
FULTON – Last season the Indians turned a 1-3 start into a 4-1 finish. This season, the Indians look to build off the late momentum from 2010 and turn it into a fast start to the 2011 campaign.
“Last season we built a solid foundation for what we hope to be sustainable success in the future,” second-year head football coach Jon Williams said about the 2010 football season that saw the Indians finish in a tie for second place in the MACJC North.
ICC finished the season with a 5-4 record and just missed out on their first MACJC playoff appearance since 2007 via tie-breaker rules.
“I think the key to a successful season will be starting fast,” said Williams. You can dig yourself a hole in this league if you don’t start fast. How we start the season will determine a lot about how we finish the season.”
Defensively, the Indians will look to replace players like Mississippi State signee Darius Slay in the secondary and Troy signee Xavian Evans on the defensive front.
“We have solid veteran play at a few spots,” said Williams. “We are going to be more aggressive and rely on our team speed this season.”
Cameron Wiggins (Clay-Chalkville, AL) and Dre’Shon McGaster (Foley, AL) will look to anchor the front line from their defensive end positions along returning starter Tim McAdoo (Murfreesboro, TN). Martrez Townes (DeSoto Central HS) and Jeremy Sessom (Byhalia HS) will be key cogs at linebacker while Pat Malone (Byhalia HS) and Brandon Smith (Aberdeen HS) will highlight the core of defensive backs.
Offensively, first-year offensive coordinator Aaron Flores will have a big pair of shoes to fill in Central Arkansas signee Arturo Hernandez at center and North Alabama signee wide receiver D’Angelo Henry.
“Coach Flores has really focused on playing a sound and fundamental brand of football that hopefully brings a defensive mentality,” Williams said about the early outlook of Indians’ offense.
Wide Receivers Erik Buchanan (Aberdeen HS), Wes Saxton (Hueytown, AL) and Jehrvonte Ryals (Bessimer City, AL) will look to spearhead the ICC passing attacking while cousins Keon (Shannon HS) and DeShawn McGaughy (Itawamba AHS) will carry the load in the running game behind Du’von Milsaps (Buford, GA) who will anchor the line at offensive tackle.
“We are solid at the running back position with two guys that can really play,” said Williams. “The question of them playing at a high level for the duration of the season still remains because running backs in this league really take a beating. It’s imperative to stay healthy and be physical at the same time.”
Depth will also be a key factor on both sides of the ball this season.
“You are never deep enough along the fronts of each side of the ball and that’s always a concern,” Williams said. “We are untested at many spots, so I am anxious to find out if we are more mature as a team in the early stages of the year.”
Will Goodwin (Starkville Academy) returns as the Indians’ kicker and could be a vital part of the Indians success on both sides of the ball.
“I think Will is as good as or better than any other kicker in the state,” said Williams. “He is a competitor that can flip the field and score some points. A great kicker can be your MVP and Will has made the commitment to improving his skill level as a kicker.”
Williams sees plenty of room for improvement as his team matures from one week to the next.
“We are a long way from where we need to be,” said Williams. “So much depends on how well your team gels and unifies during the preseason. We have come a long way in meshing as a team, but we aren’t there yet. Right now our attitude is that everything we do can be done better.”
ICC will open the season on the road in Raymond as they take on the Hinds Community College Eagles on September 1 before hosting No. 8 Pearl River Community College on September 8 in their home opener.
For more information on ICC football visit the college website at www.iccms.edu.