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VARDAMAN, Miss. (WCBI) — “I think it’s going to be a good year,” said senior guard and middle linebacker Zackery Criddle.
The Vardaman Rams are eager to ram through
Vardaman finished with a 3-7 record in 2020. However, head coach Brennan Pugh is very optimistic about this team.
“I really do think this group of guys has what it takes to make a huge step forward this coming season,” Pugh said.
Why will they? The players credit their hard work.
“Coming in getting extra reps. Buying into the weight room,” said Criddle.
“The work we put in,” said senior athlete Jadarious Shaw. “Getting up at 5:30 in the morning. Get here and workout at 6 o’clock. We do team drills. Miss a day then come at night. You know just keep putting in work.”
Putting in work is all Coach Pugh knows even when obstacles are in the way.
“It was weird not having him there, but it was good knowing he was going to do whatever it took to have our backs,” senior defensive end and tailback Hayden Alexander said.
Last season, Pugh was diagnosed with COVID-19 early in the regular season, but with the help of the community he was still able to coach while quarantined.
“Just fortunate to live where I live. People to donate the lift,” said Pugh.
It’s that level of dedication that won over the locker room.
“Him taking his time out where he could have been resting. If he can do the work, we should do it too,” Shaw said.
Just ask the quick Vardaman defense that returns 10 starters giving the team confidence heading into the season.
“We only lost a couple seniors last year so we still have most of our team from last year. We’ve been working really hard to get better,” said Alexander.
Couple that with a dynamic backfield led by the team’s leading rusher junior running back Logan Jenkins.
“I hate it for people trying to tackle Logan and Xay. That’s gonna hurt. Put me back there sometimes. We got three good runners. We’re gonna shock a lot of people,” Shaw said.
Vardaman will compete in Region 3-1A. Last season, they played in Region 2-1A.