FOXWORTH, Miss. (WDAM) - West Marion head coach Brad Duncan called over his defensive line coach Don Clanton.
“We call him Master Motivator,” Duncan said.
It only took two questions to realize why Clanton earned that nickname. He was passionate when describing the character of the 2019 Trojans.
"We don't have the best facilities, we don't have the best equipment,” Clanton said. “We make do with what we have and I think it's that struggle that our kids accept. And they go out there and play harder than I’ve probably seen a bunch play in a long time.”
West Marion is going to miss its defensive line coach and motivator – Clanton plans to hang it up after the season following 19 years of coaching.
What Clanton described is a football team that doesn’t make excuses. After missing the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in nine years, the Trojans responded with a 12-1 campaign.
The group exhibits a workmanlike attitude reflective of their head coach of 15 years – Brad Duncan.
"He's been here for a while,” said West Marion senior nose guard Blaten Norris. “I'm pretty sure he's never had a team that's ever given up on him, ever let him down or was weak-minded."
"We're not going to be the biggest, prettiest, fastest-looking team,” Duncan said. “But one thing you can always count on – we’re going to play hard.”
The Trojans proved as much on October 4, out-toughing Jefferson Davis 16-6.
Lance Mancuso and the Jaguars arrive in Foxworth on Friday at 7 p.m. with the return of several key players and a five-game win streak.
Jeff Davis is looking much like the program that has captured five state championships since 2012.
"They understand their backs are against the wall,” Mancuso said. “It just brings out the best in ‘em this time of the year. We’re hoping that their best is going to be good enough. Hopefully, we can match [West Marion’s] intensity a little bit because they definitely really took it to us the first time.”
“The hard part is, coach Mancuso, that staff, that program – they’re so used to winning,” Duncan said. “They’re used to being here. We don’t expect to see anything different. He’s going to run his Wing-T, that’s what they do. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We gotta play really hard, really smart."