40 in 30: Wayne County War Eagles

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WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WTOK) - Wayne County High School first year coach, Shelton Gandy, brings previous Division I experience to the War Eagles. Gandy’s resume includes stints at EMCC, LA Tech, North Texas and at Southern Miss – where he also played. Players have already taken to their new coach.

“When he came, we knew he was going to be a pretty good coach,” said senior defensive lineman, Jeremy Sibley. “He came back all the way from Texas to come back to Wayne County to show us how to work.”

Gandy inherits a .500 team from a year ago that made it to the playoffs – but exited early after a 39-33 loss to Brookhaven. The War Eagles are not far removed from a state championship, having won in 2015, and Gandy wants to capitalize on that tradition.

“It’s great tradition here,” he said. “You know, and that’s what I talked to my guys about: embrace that tradition. But, now everything’s not given to you – it’s not a given. We got to come out and work. Those guys have proven their worth, they won state championships here in the past and if we’re going to do it, we’ve got to copy, you know, that blueprint and how things should be.”

The new head coach has spent the offseason getting adjusted to his team and although will implement a new philosophy, knows that Wayne County has always been a physical program.

“You know, we’re going to be a physical football team. And, you know, we don’t mind playing anybody. And so that’s our MO and who we are and we come out and we practice like that and we play like that on Friday nights.”

Sibley feels last year’s team was handicapped by injuries and a healthier squad and a new coach is a recipe for success.

“I believe we came a long way. Last year we came up short – a lot of injuries,” Sibley said. “This year we’re healthy. We got a lot of people, we got a lot of talent. I think we’re going to be pretty good this year.”

Wayne County kicks off the year August 17th at West Jones.