News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days: Biloxi Indians
To know where you’re going you have to know where you came from is the idea for the Biloxi football program.
The Indians have come a long way over the last few years, but now looking to take another two steps forward after a small step back in 2021.
Big Red checking in as stop number 13 on News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days.
Head Coach Katlan French said, “Man, it doesn’t sit well. It didn’t sit well with me. It was a hard off-season mentally for a lot of us because we knew if we had made the playoffs last year, it would’ve been three years in a row, and that would’ve never happened. And we always teach making history here. We always try to improve the image of Biloxi football because we have a lot of good players here in this school and there’s no reason for us to not be able to go out there and be a competitive football team.”
After making back-to-back trips to the 6A playoffs for the first time in eight years, Biloxi fell short of expectations in 2021 with an overall record of 3-7 and a Region 4 mark of 2-5. Right Guard/ Center Loren Howell said, “That’s not how we roll. Like we’re used to winning. We’re used to practicing hard every single day and making the playoffs.”
Missing out on the second season was certainly a new experience for this generation of Indians, who are dead set on making the aforementioned history until history repeated itself.
Biloxi opened the year with a Shrimp Bowl victory over East Central, only to drop its next five games before winning two out of its last four.
The hardest pill to swallow was two out of the five district losses to Harrison Central and Pascagoula were by a combined seven points, both at home. “We’re not too good. We’re not too good for anything. We can always get better. We can always improve. After our Pascagoula game – a game we felt we all should’ve won, we kind of got serious and was like okay, we’ve got to get better from here.”
“We don’t lose those two, we’re in the playoffs and we’ve got a chance to make some noise. But it just didn’t go our way. But this year we’re returning a lot of guys that felt that.”
Defensive end Braeden Ratliff said, “Nobody likes losing, and we were like, we know we’re not a losing team. We know we can – we know we have the ability to be a great team.”
Left tackle/ defensive tackle Tyriq Ramsey-Thompson said, “We came to a realization, we weren’t as a team. We were always thinking about ourselves, so we’ve got to fix that. Me and my teammates this year, we’re fixing that throughout this season.”
Senior leadership shouldn’t be a problem for Big Red featuring the biggest senior class we’ve seen thus far on 25 in 25 with a whopping 29 members in the class of 2023.
“We’ve built a chemistry with each other since we were kids and we always play with each other in little league football, little league basketball and we’ve always been with each other. We’ve got each other’s backs ever since we were youngins.”
“Elementary school, we’ve always talked about this moment. Seniors, what are we going to do? How far are we going to go? It’s always been a dream of ours to win a state championship, so we’re going to work together in trying to achieve that.”
Backing up the seniors is a rock-solid junior class that won the eighth-grade championship for the Coast in 2019.
Overall, about half of Biloxi’s starters return, alongside first-year Quarterback Zach Marlin in place of recently departed Deljay Bailey, and his top target basketball star turned Vanderbilt football commit Duran Parish. “He just came out and played and he was just like the star, and I was like, he’s a real athlete.”
“That’s what people don’t know. He hasn’t played much football because he’s only played seven games in his life. So, he’s played seven games in his life, and he’s got an SEC offer.”
Fifth-year Head Coach Katlan French says the offense has three or four receivers that can exploit one-on-one match-ups including Day-Day McGee to compliment a much-improved defense.
Both sides of the ball are simply focused on the motto ‘do your job’ and hey, maybe even have a little fun in the process. “We’ve been working. We’ve been working. And we’ve been working. If everybody does their job, everything falls into place and everybody has a piece. It’s like a decimal. Everybody has a little decimal, a little fraction, and all of it equals one. If somebody doesn’t do their job, it doesn’t equal one.”
“The motto is always do your job because it’s really simple. But the main thing we did, we challenged ourselves. I challenged myself. I challenged our players, and we were not going to accept mediocracy in the off-season, during the summer. We’ve been hard on them, and they’ve responded. And at the same time, we’re not going to put any added pressure on ourselves. We’re going to go out there and have fun. And in order for us to have fun – a lot of fun – we need to go out there and win some games, and that’s what we really plan on doing this year.”
Biloxi kicks off its 2022 campaign with its annual Shrimp Bowl matchup against East Central on August 26th.
Time for some coach’s picks, Katlan French going with Pop’s Pizzeria for his go-to Biloxi meal. Keeping it in the family with Jack French serving as his coaching idol. Finally favorite championship moment is actually two for the price of one, Mississippi State and Ole Miss winning the College World Series in back-to-back years.