North Forrest is no stranger to adversity.
Truth be told, most of these Eagles have been counted out once or twice in their life. That extends to the football field, too.
Small roster size. Slow starts to the season. Shall I go on?
Your average program might crumble under those circumstances. Well, North Forrest is not an average program. No, more than a team of football players, this is a team of fighters.
“Life is all about overcoming adversity,” Eagle head coach Anthony Dillon said. “Every day you wake up to get ready for work or school, you’re not going to always feel your best. But you just have to persevere, overcome that and make the best of every opportunity you can.”
“Some things you have no control over. Somebody just has to step up, and we’ve had a lot of guys do that.”
Dillon’s Eagles started the 2017 season 0-2. Since then, they’ve won seven of their last eight and now sit at 7-3 overall. They’re also headed to the playoffs for a third straight season.
“Tough times don’t last long, tough people do,” Dillon said with a smile. “I tell you, I’ve been very overwhelmed with some of the effort, consistency and heart these guys have been exemplifying.”
Hard not to start with Daylyn Croom, one of the team’s senior leaders and one of the more underrated dual-threat quarterbacks in the state of Mississippi. He also perfectly fits that mold of what it takes to play at North Forrest.
“You gotta have heart and grit,” Croom explained. “We don’t have that many guys, so you gotta go both ways. You gotta do this, you gotta do that. Everybody just buys in and does their part to make the team better.”
It can be a senior like Croom or in the case of Rhyen Brisco, a sophomore. Brisco has burst onto the scene in his first year with the team. In just the last two weeks, he’s found the end zone six times. Wearing that No. 1 across his chest, Brisco is looking more and more like Christian Williamson, who dazzled Eagle fans play-after-play the previous four years.
“When he [Rhyen] knew Christian was leaving, that was the first thing he asked. If he could get the No. 1,” Dillon recalled. “I said, ‘No, you don’t get nothing around here. You have to earn it and that will be predicated on how you attend summer workouts’. He was here everyday faithfully, and he earned it. That’s what they say. That he plays a lot like the No. 1 you had last year.”
“I don’t really know why I wanted it,” Brisco said. “I just wanted to be No. 1.”
That’s the goal for every North Forrest Eagle. The odds are certainly stacked against them, but that’s not gonna stop them from believing and working towards that ultimate goal.
“Just gotta take it one step at a time, game by game,” Croom said. “We’re trying to get to state. That’s our goal. That’s everybody’s goal, but I believe we can do it. I really do.”
“We gotta fight. We gotta fight with what we got.”