Rams putting in the work to grow mentally, physically

Rams putting in the work to grow mentally, physically

By TAYLOR D. BECK The Reporter

ASBURY — As Asbury prepares to play in arguably the toughest region in Alabama high school football this season, second-year Rams head football coach Matt Harris said his team must become the fiercest of competitors — on and off the field.

“I don’t care if it’s ping pong or football,” he said. “I want our guys to compete in everything we do.”

For the program’s eighth season of football, the Rams will play in Class 3A, Region 8 that includes four juggernauts in Geraldine (12-2 in 2023), Sylvania (10-3), Collinsville (8-3) and defending 2A State champions Fyffe (14-1), as well as Holly Pond, Whitesburg Christian and county rival Brindlee Mountain.

Harris said the Rams have been hitting the weight room and grinding this offseason, putting in the work to grow physically and mentally, while also having a lot of fun.

“They’re excited,” Harris said. “This spring, I asked every kid for 10 days to show them how much fun we’re going to have. It’s not all about X’s and O’s. There’s more to it than that.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys 125 pounds soaking wet,” he added. “We can change that, but it’s more mental than physical. I want them to be competitive with each other, competitive with themselves.

“When you buy in and believe, then being competitive with the people you line up across from is nothing.”

In the spring, Asbury traveled to Crossville for a jamboree game where the Rams defeated the Lions 47-6.

Asbury’s varsity squad stormed to a 26-0 lead in the first half. Harris said he was most impressed with the Rams’ balanced attack offensively, passing 15 times for about 140 yards and rushing 14 times for about 120 yards.

“We hit on all cylinders,” Harris said. “The first play from scrimmage we scored from 70 yards out.”

The defense had two takeaways, including an interception returned 40 yards to the Lions 10-yard line, and held Crossville to -26 total yards in the first half. Junior varsity and junior high played the majority of the second half.

“It served as more of a motivator for us than an indicator,” Harris said of the spring jamboree.

Harris said the Rams ended spring with 55 on the roster, and he has high hopes for senior Trey Childress, who rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on just four carries.

“He could be special,” Harris said. Last season, Childress did not play due to a torn ACL, and Harris believes his presence, as well as a few others who went down with early-season injuries, could’ve made a big difference for Asbury in 2023.

The Rams were 1-9 in Harris’ first season at the helm. He hopes to see much improvement in year two and lead Asbury to a historic season.

Since the program’s inception in 2016, the Rams have never won more than two games in a single season.

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