PHEBA – Hebron Christian School football coach David Foster presented his team with a plan during the offseason.
He knew in order to have any success this season, there had to be some younger Eagles to contribute and the seniors had to lead.
Despite having only 12 players for eight-man independent league, Hebron has gotten the most out of its players and have started the year with a 4-0 record.
"It's the guys that have done it and the players I have," Foster said. "It has nothing to do with me other than I try to sell something to them. They believe in themselves and they go out every week believing they can do it. If you have the mental part and believe you can do it, that's what it's about."
The Eagles opened the season by defeating Strider Academy 20-6, then moved on to knock off Victory Christian of Columbus 48-20, Calvary Christian 46-6 and Clinton Christian 38-28 last Thursday.
This may be the first season for Foster as head coach at Hebron, but he's very familiar with the program.
Foster was an assistant for eight years with the Eagles, so the players already knew his philosophy.
"The guys bought into what I was doing," Foster said. "My kids went to school here and got all of their education from kindergarten all the way up, so most of the kids out here knew me already. It was an easy transition on that part."
Foster knew for an eight-man squad to work at Hebron, the seven 9th grade players were going to have to step up in a hurry.
After seeing there wasn't going to be a junior varsity team, Foster got the 9th graders ready for varsity.
"All summer I told the young boys they were fixing to be on the high school team, so you get out here and work," Foster said. "I told them 'you'll get playing time and some of you will really help us,' and my older guys bought into that and they bonded as a team."
Foster installed a system of power football at Hebron of mostly running an I-backfield with two tight ends.
"I've preached old-school football to them and we're going to smash-mouth," Foster said. "They've bought into it and they've done well. We've run some spread stuff, but unless we are made to we line up in two tight ends out of an I."
That offensive philosophy has worked out pretty well for the Eagles as they have averaged nearly 38 points per game.
One of the seniors who has been a valuable member of the offense is Starkville resident Will-Corbin Rogers.
Foster said Rogers is like having a coach on the field.
"During the game, I will think of things I need to change and do and he's already doing what I just thought about," Foster said. "He knows how to use the clock and keep ball possession. I strive on defense.
"He's a smart kid and a good athlete all the way around. He's done a good job of leading the team. I've got six seniors with five besides him and they've all shown leadership and the younger kids have bonded well with them to form a team."