BAY SPRINGS, Miss. (WDAM) _ At first glance, the 5-foot-7, 210-pound Krystopher Newell might not be the first guy one would think to tap when remolding a football team.
In fact, Newell is exactly the kind of bedrock that sixth-year Bay Springs coach Dan Brady has built his teams upon, a core of hard-nosed, blue-collar young men who lead by example.
Newell, who was selected as the Bulldogs’ “Player of the Pine Belt,” will enter his senior season as a three-year starter, though he’ll be sliding over to offensive guard after two years at center.
“If you were picking offensive linemen, he might be the last one you picked,” Brady said. “But kids like Krystopher Newell are what Bay Springs football is about. They’re under-sized kids, but hard-working kids. He’s not real tall, but he’s 210, 215 pounds and he’s strong because he works so hard in the weight room.
“This will be his third year starting on the offensive line. A hard-working kid, plays hard. Got great technique. Just does all the right things for us.”
Newell will be one of just a handful of seniors left on a Bulldogs’ roster that lost eight starters on either side of the football from a team that went 11-4 in 2018.
“We did lose a lot, but these seniors are very used to winning,” Brady said. “In ’16, they played for a state championship, ’17 they made it the third round and lost to a good Collins team. Last year, we played for the South State championship against Taylorsville. So, they’re used to winning.
“We’ve got some big pieces to the puzzle we have to fill, but it’s just another challenge and I know these kids will rise to the challenge.”
Newell said he’s ready to step up.
“It’s going to be about playing with the young guys,” Newell said. “We’re going to have to depend on a lot of them this year. We’re just working to get better, to get stronger. It’s my senior year, and I feel like everybody’s going to be better, everything’s going to be straight.
“We expect a lot out of ourselves, but our goal is to compete. That’s all we want. Everybody’s doubting us because we lost so many, so we just want to compete.”
Bay Springs’ offense has relied on a punishing ground game over the past few years, and the Bulldogs have some big cleats to fill in the backfield where Jamarius Hosey (1,742 yards, 24 TDs; seven 100-yard games) and Anson Windham (1,588 yards, 22 TDs; seven 100-yard games).
Freshman Ty Jones will be one of the top candidates at running back, while the Bulldogs will turn to junior Hosesa Singleton at quarterback.
Adrian Cole, who started the past two years at quarterback, has been shifted to receiver, where Bay Springs lost Derrien Lee who had 616 yards in receptions and caught 10 of the Bulldogs’ 15 scoring passes.
“We’ve had the same recipe for success here for five years, but we may have to tweak it, change it up a little, bit,” Brady said. “Still, we’re going to do what got us here. We’re going to continue to do the things that have helped us be successful.”
Newell said that’s just fine by him.
“I like playing guard,” Newell said. “It’s crazy, because all we do is run the Wing-T, so it’s run, run, run, run.
“But that’s OK. I just like hitting people, man.”
Bay Springs opens the 2019 season at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, when it hosts Stringer High School.