See Brad Locke’s column on Chris Duncan in Thursday’s Daily Journal.
A big reason Aberdeen’s football team is off to such a strong start – 2-2 with a pair of one-point losses – is that new head coach Chris Duncan has them believing they can win. Why, he said the JV team, which is 2-0, is already expecting to win every time out. The varsity is close to that point, and it will get there because not only is Duncan a good motivator, he’s a good coach.
Take quarterback Marcus Hinton. His job last year was to just hand it off. This season, he’s already passed for more than 900 yards and nine touchdowns. The junior has also rushed for 304 yards and six TDs.
His two big targets are Rickey Bell (310 yards, three TDs) and Tevin Blanchard (361, four), whose older brother Travis played for Ole Miss. That trio is a microcosm of Aberdeen’s strength: speed.
“In football, any time you have speed, you have a chance,” Duncan said. “You give me six or seven of them that can run, I can compete with you.”
After his team’s 13-12 escape against Aberdeen, Pontotoc coach Charlie Dampeer said, “They make the field seem twice as wide.”
Duncan said the talent and ability was there last year – he was only a teacher at Aberdeen at the time, having taken a year off from coaching – but that the basics were sorely lacking.
“You’ve got kids who can go play college ball,” he said of last year’s situation, “and they’re just sitting here, not doing anything.”
The Bulldogs run a split-4 defense, which is what Vardaman has run for so long. Duncan was the Rams’ defensive coordinator for three seasons.
Up next is Nettleton on Friday in a Region 2-3A game. The Tigers will be favored by most observers – this one included – but that doesn’t matter to Duncan. “Everybody said nobody could win here,” he said. “That’s a challenge to us every day.”