News 25’s 25 Teams in 25 Days: Biloxi Indians
Like most every team in 2020, the Biloxi Indians had their fair share of highs and lows, but it’s those highs that are starting to define the recent success of the program.
So, let’s jump right in at stop number one where making history is always part of the discussion.
“We talk every year about making history, making history at Biloxi and trying to make our mark and be the best program at this point that Biloxi has ever had.”
Dating back to the playoff era of high school football as we know it today, believe it or not, Biloxi has won just two post-season games ever, most recently in 2011. But perhaps turning a corner, on the back of consecutive playoff appearances for just the second time ever. Right guard Gabriel Brandon said, “Well, I mean last year was a big statement just for us to make the playoffs cause you’re talking 10 years, almost a full decade without any playoff appearances or something like that, so that hurts as a program. So, you’ve got to take something like that personal and really strive to end that playoff drought.”
After last year’s fourth place finish in Region 4, Big Red got a taste of post-season success, going toe-to-toe with eventual 6A state champion Oak Grove in the first half of a 54-34 loss, the most points the Warriors gave up all season. Wide Receiver Deon Hardin said, “I felt like we fought as hard as we could. The beginning of the game, I don’t think many people thought we would make it that far, and it is what it is.”
“We’re 21-21 with them with two minutes to go in the half, but then they were very explosive, very well coached, very good players and they kind of left us in the end. But overall, I was very happy with how we finished.”
The end of the season also included four straight wins to close out district play with a mark of 4-3 and an overall record of 6-4, setting the stage for a 2021 team that returns half of its starters.
Gone are the likes of Ole Miss signee Elijah Sabbatini and the more than 1,400 rushing yards of Holmes signee K.K. Kendrick.
In their place is another class of more than 20 seniors, including three-star defensive lineman R.J. Moss and his 14 Division I offers. “It changed my life a lot though, because all of that attention and everybody starts looking at you and it makes you work even harder, but yeah, it’s really a blessing.”
“You really have to try to keep things in perspective if you’re that type of talent, and he does. He’s a hard worker. He’s a great leader. He leads by example. He’s here every day working really hard. He’s a positive influence in the locker room. You don’t hardly hear anything negative out of his mouth. And so, if you’re going to have a four-star, you definitely want one with a good attitude like him, and he has that, and we’re excited he’s on our team.”
Now approaching year four of the Katlan French era, the Indians are on the cusp of completing the most consistent, if not the best, three-year run-in program history, having never made back-to-back-to-back trips to the post-season or any trip to the second round until now that is if all goes according to plan. “We just want to get farther than the first round. Like we’re preaching every day, like we’ve got to get past the first round. We don’t want to just like walk in there and be an easy bye in there, like we’re really trying to get deep in the playoffs.”
“You’ve got all the trash talk, Biloxi can’t win a playoff game. But as soon as that does happen, this season, I think we can go past that. I think that’s just one of those humps you’ve got to get over for us to keep going.”
“We’ve been back-to-back playoff appearances, and it’s time to get back past that first level. We’re trying to go to State.”
The Indians open up the 2021 campaign at home against East Central on August 27th.