40 in 30: Northeast Lauderdale Trojans

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MERIDIAN, Miss. -- After stepping away from coaching in 2017, former Quitman head coach John Douglass is back in his hometown of Meridian, and back on the football field this fall at Northeast Lauderdale.

"The year off from coaching was good and bad" Douglass said. "I definitely missed it. I'm excited to be back in coaching, and even more excited to be here at Northeast and in my hometown."

Douglass left Quitman for 6A George County in 2012, leading the Rebels for four seasons before stepping down following the 2015 season. He was an assistant at Oxford the following year, before accepting a job as an assistant principal at Terry High School for the 2017 school year.

Through spring and summer practices, the players have transitioned seamlessly to the new-look Northeast Lauderdale program.

"Coach Douglass is a great coach" said senior quarterback Kam Hulin. "He pushes us to our limits, and he's got a few tricks up his sleeve. I think it's going to be a great season with him."

"He's one of my favorite coaches that I've ever had" said senior center Zach Hodges. "He's got a lot of energy. He's just really high-energy for everything we do."

The Trojans reached the postseason last fall for the first time since 2012, ending the year at 6-6 after a loss to Poplarville in the first round of the 4A playoffs.

"I feel good about our team, I feel good about our kids, I feel good about the effort we're giving in practice" Douglass said. "But, you really don't know until you get out there and play somebody. We just want to get better each and every day."

Northeast Lauderdale opens the season August 17th on the road at Kemper County.