Players of the Pine Belt: Columbia Academy senior QB Eli Beard

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 11:31 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - After a 3-9 season in 2021, Columnbia Academy is eager to turn things around.

The Cougars won two of their last three games and rode that momentum into the second summer under head coach T.C. Chambliss.

“We’re past the getting to know each other stage,” Chambliss said. “We’re where we’re buying into the program and they realize I’m for real and we found out who’s for real here. If you’re with me now, you want it. They care about their teammates and it’s been a great summer.”

“It’s became like a family over here, it’s a lot better,” said Columbia Academy senior Eli Beard. “Everybody’s working harder, they want to work harder because they enjoy being under him. You just gotta love it.”

Beard’s been an important voice in the huddle to echo coach Chambliss.

His seven interceptions on defense last year led the MAIS. Now he takes on an even bigger role at quarterback for his senior season.

“Being at quarterback’s just a little bit more mental,” Beard said. “And strong safety’s a lot more physical, knocking heads.”

“He’s been so hungry to take over and study and learn and he’s done a great job,” Chambliss said. “He’s the kid in the weight room and on the field that if something’s not right, he fixes it. And I’ve always told the kids since I got here, culture’s such a buzz word in sports nowadays. If it’s coming from the coaches, it’s just instruction but when it starts coming from the kids that’s when you know you have changes being made.”

The big changes Columbia Academy would like to make is in the win column.

Chambliss feels his team has the depth and experience to do just that.

“You gotta be pumped and ready to go this year than any other year,” Beard said. “More physical, more active and everything out there.”

“It’s going to be fun to turn these kids loose and know that they’ve had a whole year under our strength and conditioning program and that they’re prepared to do that and make that leap,” Chambliss said. “We’re going to get to turn them loose a little bit this year and I’m excited to see them and see what they do.”

Here’s a look at Columbia Academy’s 2022 schedule:

  • 8/12 - at Amite School - 7 p.m.
  • 8/19 - vs. Silliman Institute - 7 p.m.
  • 8/26 - vs. East Rankin Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 9/2 - at PCS - 7 p.m.
  • 9/9 - OPEN
  • 9/16 - vs. Oak Forest Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 9/23 - at Brookhaven Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 9/30 - at Centreville Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 10/7 - vs. Simpson Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 10/14 - at Wayne Academy - 7 p.m.
  • 10/21 - vs. Bowling Green School - 7 p.m.

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