Editor's note: This story can be found in the 2017 Grady County Football Preview with the previous weekend edition.
After a first-round exit a season ago and a familiar face returning to coach, the Rush Springs Redskins are a loaded team with experience and looking to challenge for a district title.
Coach Mickey Seifried last year led the team to a 4-7 record in the 2016 season, but has transitioned to the full time elementary principal, bringing back former head coach Tim Beard to lead the team in 2017.
Beard was the previous head coach for Rush Springs before stepping down to be an assistant, and Seifried was hired to lead the team.
With the return of a familiar face roaming the sidelines, Beard said one of the things he knows about the program is the tradition and has tried to install that on day one of being brought back as the head coach.
“Always at Rush Springs the expectations are always high,” Beard said. “One of the things we talked about is tradition and traditionally we have been a good football school and have had good football teams.”
Even though Beard is familiar with the team, traditionally in football having a new coach can make it hard to transition leadership, but Beard said the transition has been easy and familiarity will help the players do a great job this season.
“The transition has been good and I don’t feel like we missed a step with Coach Seifried stepping down and me stepping back in,” Beard said. “It was a pretty easy transition being that I had been here before and of course I know all these kids and I had them in junior high and they are now sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
Rush Springs has several returning seniors in key positions and Beard said the team is hungry after last season falling in the first round of the playoffs to Minco and is looking for leadership from the seniors.
“Minco was a fine football team last year and having to play them in the first round really left a sour taste in our mouth,” Beard said.
“These guys have put the work in and one thing that I can see about this team is that we have good leadership. Leadership like that can really carry you and it is just a tough 10 game road and the district is tough, and we are proud of the way these kids have stepped up.”
Some of the key seniors that Beard mentioned were Tyler Losher, Logan Lite, Caleb Scott and Chase Bruner, who are all returning to their positions for the Redskins in 2017.
Another key returner will be at the quarterback position as the Redskins return junior Kyle Foster, who is a dual-threat quarterback and according to Beard will use his speed to the advantage of the team.
“With Kyle being an athletic quarterback, he is going to run the ball for us,” Beard said. “I think we can do some good things and I think we will be able to score.”
The expectations are high for Rush Springs according to Beard, and he has been telling them the whole preseason that a district title is not out of reach for the Redskins.
“We think we can challenge for the district title and I know Apache is good, Ringling is good, Healdton is good and Elmore City came on and almost beat Apache last year and our district is tough and we got a lot of good teams,” Beard said. “I told them at the first of the year that it won’t surprise me if we were district champs ,and I know there is a point A and there is a lot to get to point B that have to happen right. I think they can do it and we are driving them to it right now.”