John Essex win could pump up fans, program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The John Essex Hornets have battled through a tough season. The group&8217;s previous coach left in the middle of the summer, which meant a replacement couldn&8217;t be found and put into place until the summer was almost over.

Head coach Fentress Means entered the Hornet halls and found a program in disarray. Players didn&8217;t have to workout without a coach, let alone practice. Then there was the difficult task of introducing a new scheme to his sparse 13 players with only weeks until the first kickoff. Needless to say this has not been a dream season for the 8-1 John Essex High School team &8212; it has been about par.

But this week&8217;s homecoming for the Hornets isn&8217;t going to be a cakewalk for a team looking for a spark to ignite their program. They are facing Fruitdale, who is 5-4 this year, at home, but Fruitdale isn&8217;t as bad as their record indicates. Means knows this and is preparing his group for a tough-fought game.

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Means said he thinks his group has the personnel to contain the fullback from Fruitdale. And he said a win at homecoming could be a catalyst for a change in the program.

With a win, winter workouts and a good spring, Means said the Hornets might come out in 2008 with a new sting.