Last season, the Kirby High School Cougars football team – as well as the rest of the school – had to endure disruptions from pest infestations. Students were required to relocate and adjust to a new attendance schedule.
The football team found normalcy on the practice field. Bonding together in head coach Chester Flowers’ high-powered offense, the team was teased early last season by opponents because of their situation.
Kirby outscored their opponents 513-178, finishing with an 11-2 record and a Region-8 5A District Championship. The team did not meet its goal of a state championship, falling two wins short of the title game. And star QB Jaden Johnson is now taking snaps at the University of Southern Mississippi.
This year, senior Draylen Ellis helms the Cougar offense, and he has already committed to the University of Tennessee at Austin Peay. He learned all of the ins and outs of the offense from Flowers and from playing behind Johnson.
The Cougars are rolling heading into their week off. Not only is the offense in full stride the defense is making a statement as well. This season, Kirby has outscored opponents 117-0!
“They have to learn the foundation first. It is like building blocks,” Flowers said of his squad’s offensive schemes. “When they learn the foundation and when we come up and build off that, then it don’t seem as complicated.
“Someone who had never heard a play called would think that sounds like some crazy rocket science,” he added. “Our kids understand what part of the play relates to them. It all comes together and it looks sweet on game night.”
RB Charles Thomas made his season debut in the 35-0 win over Brighton. Thomas was spectacular, scoring four touchdowns. Flowers felt that Thomas could have done even more if he was in shape.
The lessons learned from the trials and tribulations have carried over to the current team. The players take pride in what they do in practice and it carries over to the games.
Flowers is happy where his team is now and knows his squad is the hunted. They expect to receive every other team’s best shot.
“We are not satisfied and we are not content,” Flowers said. “We have a lot more fish to fry. We have a lot more goals to accomplish.”
Kirby’s defense operates on several levels.
On the defensive line, Kirby is led by Corbet Mims. At 6’ 4”, 240-lbs, the senior DE controls things up front and has some great complimentary pieces in Bryson Blocker and Terrance Moore.
On the second level of the defense is senior linebacker Tamarious Brown, who is set to play at the University of Alabama at Birmingham next season. Brown brings great athleticism. Demario Perkins is a three-year starter as a defensive back and controls everything on that level. Kirby has a nice mixture of veteran and younger players that have developed a nice chemistry.
Mims is committed to Arkansas State University. He’s earned a rep as a humble player who likes to defer credit his teammates. Flowers praises his work ethic.
“No one is on or off the field before him,” Flowers said. “He’s not a prima donna, although he is one of the highest recruited players in the state. He is a self-made person.”
And Mims is proud to go just as hard in the classroom as he does on the gridiron.
“I like to hit the books just like I hit the field. I want to make sure I am going at everything I need to do right,” Mims said. “I want to be a leader on and off of the field.”
The Kirby team loves to have fun. Their martra is to work hard work hard from Saturday to Thursday. On game night they are going to play — play hard and have fun.
“If you come to one of our practices it is all work and no play. Everyone is serious,” Flowers said. “The kids love being around the facility, but they all know this a time to prepare. We are going to enjoy ourselves on Friday.”
Next up for the Cougars: The Southwind Jaguars. Kirby is currently 1-0 in district play and this contest may be a predictor of district championships. The game will be played at Kirby Stadium on Friday September 20 at 7 p.m.