Rebels excited for opener

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Zion Chapel’s football game football game is a jamboree, but don’t tell that to first-year head coach Randy Bryant.

The Rebels will kick off the Bryant era when they host Barbour County in a jamboree beginning at 7 p.m.

“We are definitely excited to be able to compete against Barbour County,” Bryant said. “They are coming here this year after we went there last year. It’s been a hard week of practice trying to get ready for an opponent.”

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The Rebels finished last season with a 3-7 record and missed out on the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, but that hasn’t squashed the excitement around town and on campus as we inch closer to kickoff.

“I am looking forward to it,” Bryant said. “Everybody says ‘Hey coach, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose the game, (fans) will pack it out.’ That’s great for us. That is one of our biggest revenue streams. We need a full house every Friday night we play here to fund our program.

“I am really excited for the crowd to come out and hopefully they will see an improved Zion chapel team.”

On the field, the Rebels have treated practice the same way they did during the spring and the summer.

“It’s been a normal week for us,” Bryant said. “There is nothing special and nothing has changed. We continue to focus on ourselves during the week and we will get to the game on Friday.

“I think the emotions have been pretty good. I talk to the kids about keeping an even keel and being able to handle the ups and downs of a football game.”

Even though it’s an exhibition game, Friday night’s contest will mark the first time that Bryant will pace the sideline as a head coach.

“I am not a nervous guy when it comes to a football game,” Bryant said. “I am just anxious to see my guys compete.”

Friday night’s game will also give the Rebels coaching staff the opportunity to gauge how far their team has come along this summer.

“I am ready to see these kids go and compete and see how much they have absorbed from what we taught them throughout spring training and our offseason workouts,” Bryant said. “Hopefully they have picked up and we have established a great base for fundamentals and will be able to add to our scheme. If we can see them do those things I will be pleased.”

Like the Rebels, the Jaguars will be welcoming a new coach into the fold in Steve Fryer.

“They have a new coach as well,” Bryant said. “He is a 28-year veteran of the military. He told me he hasn’t coached a whole lot. I’m sure anybody with that background will be disciplined. I know there are always great athletes there.”

The Jaguars will play out of the spread offensively; on defense they will sport a four-man front.

“We have ben practicing against those things,” Bryant said. “They don’t have film to share with us and we don’t either.”