Jimmy Young Realizes Dream in Leading Troopers
Friday night sure was a long time coming for Jimmy Young. His Mooreville Troopers fell in their season opener to Booneville 28-12. But that couldn’t keep him from being proud following his first game as the program’s head coach.
“It was a dream come to realization at last,” Young said of first game as head coach at a place he’s spent five years as an assistant. “My boys never quit fighting. We had some stuff slap us in the face last Wednesday losing our starting right tackle for the season and then Andre Peugh being sick. So I was proud of my boys for fighting and giving their all.”
“I know what-ifs cross your mind, but besides special team errors and penalties stalling momentum, I was proud of the effort.”
In May, Young was promoted from defensive coordinator - a role he held for three years - to head coach.
“I couldn’t really believe it. It was a little surreal.” Young told SES Mississippi. “I was flooded with excitement at the opportunity that lie ahead.”
Most of that opportunity focused and centered around the players. Not just on the field, but off it, too.
“My relationship with my boys is fueled by my love of Christ. I try to show them that love in all I do and say,” He explained. “I believe my role as a coach is an opportunity every day to be at the hands and feet of Jesus. So I am dedicated to my boys in their lives on and off the field. My ultimate desire is that they come to know Christ. My boys are what I do.”
Young knew that two things would be important to establish in his program right from the start. Setting high expectations and making sure the little things are done right.
“I have two rules, no cursing and no backwards hats,” He explained. “Those are small and picky to some, but if a kid will not curse around me and turn their hats straight, then I know they have respect for me and will do whatever I ask of them.”
That also meant things like taking cleats off outside, in order to keep lockers more neat.
“When you change one area or thing in your life, it affects all aspects of your life.”
Due to Young’s presence around the players in recent years, the buy-in from his team came quickly.
“They began taking on my personality in the spring to be honest. When I stepped in, that’s when it started,” He said.
“I’ve been blessed with everything from getting boys who have bought in and in put in work all summer to prepare for the season. I’ve got some tough kids, but each day one more is getting tougher. I ain’t got to have great athletes, just some “Clint Eastwood” type of boys. Some that say “don’t tread on me” and mean it.”
Another adjustment the Troopers faced this offseason was a jump to 4A. That has served a driving force, according to Young.
“Their work ethic and positive energy shows me they ain’t worried about it,” He said. “All of them are excited about the opportunity to play their buddies from other schools.”
“They are sick and tired of hearing everyone say they aren’t worried about Mooreville. It has turned into fuel for my boys to go out and prove a point this season.”
Offensively the Troopers return a senior at quarterback in Mitchell Tharp. Tharp is a multi-sport participant and a great all around athlete. But it is Andrew Peugh who really makes things go on offense. His incredible agility makes him must-see in the open field.
“Andrew Peugh is the type of kid and player that every coach wants on his team. He is a dynamic ball player, and he does things you can’t coach. He can do so many things for us all over the field. Andrew is a fierce competitor when the lights come on,” Young said.
With him healthy, the Trooper offense is sure to look better than they did in week one.
Young has guided the defensive side of the ball for some time now. And he likes his unit this season.
“We got some athletes on the defensive side of the ball that absolutely love contact,” He noted. “We are getting more and more physical every time we step on the field. We are going to get after it on defense.”
“We are loaded with sophomores on the defense this year. Watson Tate at middle linebacker is a natural. We’re tag-teaming the d-line with some one-two punches. Secondary is anchored by John Tyler.”
Another sophomore to watch is Rob Turner. He posses impressive side and nose for the ball, and he should be a playmaker in the box this season. Senior linebacker Rex Harris is a reliable tackler, who should provide leadership to a younger group.
This Friday the Troopers will host old division rival North Pontotoc. Last season the Vikings narrowly defeated Mooreville 15-11.
**Photo courtesy of Cheryl Cork