August 23, 2019 10:22:41 AM
MACON -- For Teddy Young, it's just like old times.
Entering his first season as the head football coach at Noxubee County, he'll open his tenure Friday against Tyrone Shorter and Louisville High School at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Shorter, the longtime coach at Noxubee County, left the school after seven years at the helm in January -- leaving the spot open to his one time player.
"He always wanted to push you and wanted the best out of his players," Young, who played both middle school and high school football under Shorter, said. "That's why I expect them to come in well-coached and ready to play.
Young's Noxubee County team comes into Friday night's season opener following a 7-6 season a year ago -- including a 27-26 loss to Louisville.
"It's a big rivalry between Noxubee County and Louisville and I didn't have to worry about getting kids up this week," Young said through a laugh. "The biggest thing was just trying to settle them down and get them mentally prepared."
Anchored by junior running back Bobby Shanklin and senior wide receiver Coby Lockett, the Tigers boast a loaded skill position group that should aide senior quarterback Marlon Windham, who continues his transition over from linebacker.
"When I was coaching wide receivers I always told my receivers that it's your job to make the quarterback look good," Young said. "Every ball that touches our hands, we've got to come down with it. We've got to make a play."
Windham totaled 60 tackles -- 16 for a loss -- and two sacks last season, but has been tasked with running the Noxubee County offense in 2019. A dual-threat under center, Young said he profiles as a run-first quarterback who can also beat you with his arm.
"For a kid who's never played quarterback and is just now coming over his senior year I think he's picking up the offense very (well)," he said.
Defensively, the Tigers will lean on junior Travorus Hatcher. Hatcher is the cousin of former Mississippi State star defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and has earned high praise from his head coach.
"I think he has the potential to be one of the best to come to Noxubee County," Young said. "And I expect him to have a big year."
Behind Hatcher, linebacker Trillo Brown enters his second season as a starter after totaling 59 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles a year ago.
For Louisville, this marks Shorter's first trip back to the school he won four Mississippi High School Activities Association 4A state titles at during his tenure.
The Wildcats bring back senior quarterback Bryandrea Shumaker and second and third-leading receivers David Haynes and Niselbyion Kirk from last season's 15-1 state championship team.
"We lost by a point last year on a field goal so the kids have been hungry," Young said of Louisville. "They've been working hard. They're ready for this game."
Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @bportnoy15.
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