New coach, new team, same hunger: Clarkdale football preps for the 2022 season
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - New. That is the key word for the Bulldogs in the 2022 season.
Clarkdale did hire Bubba Brannan to be the new head football coach. Brannan comes to Clarkdale after taking some years away from coaching. He did spend time at Enterprise, Quitman and his alma mater, Stringer.
During the 2021 season, the Bulldogs started the season with their first ever 6-0 start in program history. But coming into the 2022 season they have lost about half of last years team. They have a lot of younger talent who is ready to step up but some growing pains are to be expected especially on the offensive line.
Clarkdale is known as the team who is always the underdog. But heading into the season as the underdog is something coach Brannan is use to.
“I told the players when I got here, this is a similar situation that I’ve been in before,” said coach Brannan. “A lot of people don’t realize it but stringer, which is where I graduated from and where I coached before was the same way. They had been through about a 15 year losing streak when I got there. Me and the other coaches had a group of kids that were hungry, helped turn that around so that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
Senior wide receiver and tight end, Landon Belk, said, “Hopefully we can change that this year. Hopefully spread it out a little more and yeah just go out there and have fun.”
Since this is coach Brannan’s first season with the Bulldogs the team has had to adapt to a new head coach. Since there are so many new athletes on the field this year, that is a big advantage for coach.
Senior quarterback, Cal Culpepper, said, “It’s been a good shift. Coach Brannan, he’s got us prepared. He’s gonna have us prepared to play. And I just love him.”
Clarkdale has about 10 seniors on the team this season which will help carry the younger guys on the team. But the one thing coach Brannan had noticed before coming to Clarkdale is this teams ability to fight and that is what he is working with now.
“I’m going to say most of them have proven that they are still hungry,” said coach. “There’s a few that we’re still working on that maybe don’t quite understand the commitment that we need to be really good but most of them are giving all that they’ve got. the core group of kids here have worked just as hard as any kids I’ve ever coached.”
Belk said, “Yeah hopefully just trying to get everybody to buy in is the big thing. If we can get everybody playing as one I feel like we could have a really successful season.”
“I’m just looking forward to honestly playing with my buddies,” said Culpepper. “I’ve played with them since the 7th grade and I’m just ready to go out there and win so.”
Clarkdale opens the season against Ethel on August 26th.
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