• John Macon Gillespie

New Albany's Mason Phillips Plans To Stand Out At Fortius Project

At the conclusion of each Fortius Project, once all the sweat has poured and hardware has been handed out, Webb Lewis feeds campers with words to chew on.

At all seven stops on the camp series, over two years, one part of that message has been included. Lewis challenges campers to ask themselves each day did they get better that day.

New Albany rising senior Mason Phillips knows what it’s like to answer that question.

“After working out I sit back and think, ‘did I get better today or did I just try and get by,’” Phillips told SES Mississippi. “Every day I think about football and how to get better. Some people say you can’t worry about the small things, but small things win games. I want to win.”

Later this month Phillips will compete in the Fortius Project at Northeast Mississippi community college alongside a few of his teammates.

“I love competition,” He said. “I am coming to show other coaches and players what I am capable of. My dream is to play college football.”

“By performing well we can show schools that we aren’t a pushover football team. We may be young, and not the biggest, but we have the want and determination.”

Fellow Bulldogs Kalob Adair, Eli Keener and possibly others will be on hand at NEMCC to represent alongside Phillips.

However, Phillips plans to make an impression of his own.

“I stand out,” He stated. “I’m a different person wen I step on the field. I’m zoned in and you can tell that by the way I play.”

“My grind and determination will shine. I go hard in everything that I do. I have a very competitive spirit. I push myself to the limit, and I push my teammates to do the same.”

Entering his senior season Phillips would like to have better core strength, as well as better overall strength. He plans to work on that area with the offseason time that lies ahead.

Looking back at last season, with the dust settled, it is clear to see that second-year head coach Jake Hill pushed a young team to it’s limits. The Bulldogs reached the playoffs with a 3-2 fun in a tough division that included eventual 4A champion, Lafayette.

In 2017, however, those limits should be even further.

“We all enjoyed what we were doing. (Coach Stan Hill) made football fun again,” Phillips explained. “We had a young backfield last year. A freshman running back and sophomore quarterback, but a solid offensive line to make up for it.”

“We have to take bigger steps this year. We focused on big things instead of small things.”

The pride for what the program does on the gridiron runs deep, Phillips says.

“Football means everything in New Albany,” He noted. “You stop by a gas station and people are asking ‘how’s the team this year?’ I mean it’s driven in our roots. We eat, sleep and breathe football.”

“I’d give my life for my brothers on this team. Being a Bulldog and having pride is the best feeling you can have.”

It should be a display to see when Phillips brings his fierce determination and steady confidence to the Fortius Project at NEMCC on April 22nd.

**Photo by Donica Phipher of the New Albany Gazette.

#JohnLukeMcCord #NewAlbany

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