Ashley steps up Wing-T teaching at Choctaw County

Ben Ashley

Staff Writer

Rain sprinkled across Ackerman on Tuesday afternoon just enough to cool down the Choctaw County Chargers as they went through practice number two of the fall, but it didn’t put a damper on coach Ben Ashley’s teachings.

A year after taking the job and installing his Wing-T option offense, Ashley has gotten favorable results. It started with a 10-3 season last year that included a perfect 5-0 Class 3A, Region 4 record that earned the team a regular season championship. The Chargers also finished in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs before losing to the eventual runners up.

Much of that talent is returning this season for Ashley and the Wing-T culture is ingrained in the minds and bodies of the Choctaw County players. It hasn’t meant that they have been a little rusty out of the gates, however, as Ashley is looking for his team to run the offense much faster than a year ago.

“The information isn’t new," Ashley said. "It’s just coming faster. Last year we were a little slower tempo and we’re trying to speed things up. I want to see how well they respond to that and I can get a whole lot of reps if we never huddle. We’ve got so many guys back that have played that we know they’ll be able to handle it.”

The Chargers return some big pieces from that Region 4 championship. All four defensive backs are returning as well as most of their receiving corp. They lost starting quarterback Austin Telano and key runners Isiah Hannah and Amerious Brown, but Ashley likes what he has in place.

In the Wing-T, it all starts with the quarterback, fullback and B-back or the feature back of the offense. Sophomore Tylan Carter takes his first snaps as starting quarterback this season and has a slue of talent around him.

Junior Laterrion Mcbride returns for his junior season after 729 yards and 12 touchdowns as he’ll play the fullback role. Senior Rakeim Ashford will be the B-back who Ashley called one of the fastest players on the team.
Ashley just wants players that fit into the culture of that Wing-T and he said he has it.

“We’ve got guys that can run and guys that can block and in the Wing-T if you have guys that can do those two things, you’ll have a lot of success,” Ashley said. “Tylan Carter is our quarterback and he has an unbelievable upside. In the spring game, he hit 9 out of 13 passes and that was good to see.”

Practice this week and next leads up to the jamboree at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday, August 11 at 7 p.m. against Nanih Waiya. From there, the Chargers will play game one of the season against East Webster as they look to avenge last season’s loss in Cumberland.

For the Chargers to repeat last season’s success and even trump it, he needs the team to just know who it is.

“The focus is just us being better at being us,” Ashley said. “My philosophy has always been to be good as possible on defense and on offense run the ball to keep your defense fresh. We’re just trying to create some depth and try to maintain that mentality we’re trying to create. If we ever stop trying to be who we are, we’re going to be in trouble.”