FNF: Pearl River relying on versatility for a playoff run in 2020

Sports

PEARL RIVER, La. – After a 6-4 finish to the 2019 regular season, the Pearl River Rebels season came to a close in the first round of the playoffs with a loss to Leesville.

Arguably their biggest loss in 2019, All-District Running Back Corey Warren to graduation.

“It’s a hit, not just because of his ability, but his character, the kind of person he was. The ids loved him to death, he worked hard, never missed a day and it helped that he could run a football,” says Pearl River Head Football Coach Joe Harris.

The Rebels return 3 starters on offense and a plethora of youth.

Replacing Corey Warren will be Sophomore Running Back, Brian Jenkins.

As a Freshman, Jenkins showed flashes of All-District talent, but in 2020, the offense will be led by Senior Swiss army knife, Brayden Bond.

“I play receiver, quarterback, safety, cornerback, kicker, punter, kick returner and punt returner. I think it’s really cool to do that, to be the all-around guy that can do everything, but you have got to step up and do what you have got to do though,” says Brayden Bond.

“Bond can do it all. Any kind of ball the boy touches, he can do it all. Football, baseball, he can throw it, he can catch, he can run, he can tackle, he can just do everything and we are lucky to have him. Plus, he’s got a lot of character, he works hard and he is always here and all of the boys respect him. He’s definitely one of our leaders,” added Coach Harris.

What excited Coach Harris the most in 2020 is the 8 returning starters on defense, with a veteran linebacker room, headlined by Senior Middle Linebacker, Roy Smith.

Harris says, “He’s the guy in the middle. He’s a two-year All-District selection. He made First-Team All-Parish. He’s always here and works hard and the kids respond to him.”

“Me and the other middle linebacker, Caleb Matthews, we try to take on the responsibility as much as we can and teach all of the younger guys and show them their way around,” says Roy Smith.

Coach Harris says that kids like Smith and Bond bring a toughness to the Pearl River Football program that will have teams in for a fight every Friday night.

Harris says, “When you play us, you have got to be ready. We’re not just going to give it to you, you have got to play sound football because that’s what we preach around here. We are not loaded with all of these athletes. I guess we are kind of old school, you know, the stuff that most coaches know that really matters is just what we try to be good at.”

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