SBLive is previewing the top high school football teams in Mississippi ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here is an inside look at the 2021 Southaven Chargers.
Head Coach: Eddie Stevenson (4th year, 10-21 overall)
Last Year: 4-5 overall (5th in 6A Region 1), missed the playoffs
DE Aaron Bryant
QB Jakylan Robinzine
DB John Slaughter
With the smallest roster in Class 6A last year, it was all hands on deck every week for Southaven. In the midst of a global pandemic, Southaven had to take their brand of toughness to a whole new level. They did everything they could, but the Chargers finished the season watching the playoffs from home.
A two-week COVID pause, a blown 20-point lead to Oxford and an agonizing season-ending loss to Horn Lake was their undoing. But coach Eddie Stevenson said he saw something in his Chargers' four wins on which he thinks he can build.
“Toughness,” Stevenson said. “Our roster only had like 50 guys, and those guys, we pushed them to be better. Against Center Hill, we played 35 out of 50. We only think about quality and not quantity in everything we do. We only have guys that want to get out there. There were games we were very capable of winning. You can only control what you can control.”
Stevenson, a strength and conditioning-minded coach, took full advantage of a full offseason to get the 2021 Chargers where they probably should’ve been last year.
“Just having them back, knowing that we’ve made them as strong as we can make them. That was something we couldn’t do last year,” Stevenson said.
The good news for Southaven is that Stevenson and his staff have plenty of players that are capable of taking the field and contributing. They were forced into action, and that means they've got experience.
“One benefit of having a small roster, centered around 60 guys, is that those second team guys are your scout team guys too. The whole time, they’re working instead of standing around doing nothing. Every one will make sure to hold the rope and get their hands dirty,” Stevenson said.
Jordan Hibbler is gone, but look for Jakylan Robinzine to step up and lead at quarterback with his dual threat capabilities. The backfield is loaded with returning production. Donta Brevard, Jalen Mays and CJ Gray all have something different to bring to the table. The offensive line has a few returning pieces and are expected to shine in the run game.
At wide receiver, it’s a different scenario. Very little production returns, but David Rowsey, Kalon Jackson and Mario Johnson are three guys capable of taking up the mantle.
Defensively, the Chargers will be in a brand new, three-high safety system that puts a big emphasis on secondary play. John Slaughter, Dillon Williams and Aquarius Winston are a few corners that are expected to make it go, with Dewayne Graham playing the nickel.
The biggest disruptor on defense lies on the defensive line, though. Aaron Bryant could be the best player in DeSoto County by the end of the season, and Dante Ellington and L.J. Gipson are back to help him hold down the front seven.
Southaven is scheduled to cross the state line on August 27 to face off against Valley View, Arkansas.