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Countdown to Kickoff: A Look at South Side

Tried and tested, Hayes expects to win with the run.

By Greg Hammond
By ghammond@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - After missing the playoffs last fall, Coach Jerry Hayes knew his South Side Hawks needed a shot of confidence.

They got one this spring.

“We had a good spring, a good spring scrimmage against Milan gave us some confidence," said Hayes.

But the Bulldogs weren't their only spring challenge.

"We do a thing we used to do a long time ago called the Iron Man contest. It's a very difficult obstacle course,” said Hayes.

“The kids enjoyed it and found out they could do some things they didn’t really think they could do,” said Hayes.

"That really helped our kids get mentally tougher and get some confidence. I think that's going to turn into some wins for us," said Hayes.

Tried and tested, Hayes expects to win with the run.

"Definitely, we’re going to run first. Ain't no doubt about it," said Hayes.

This is Coach Hayes’ 26th year at South Side, and if there's one thing he's prided himself in, aside from a strong running game, is a tough non-district schedule. The Hawks will open the season with USJ.

"We always played the JCM's and the Milan’s, when we didn't have to. Haywood and people like that. We just thought it was good to play stiff competition because it makes you better when you get to the playoffs," said Hayes.

If you check out South Side this fall, in person or on WBBJ’s 5th Quarter, you are sure to see Hawk offensive tackle Robert Burleigh. At 6-feet 5-inches and 290 pounds, you can't miss him.

"Rob’s going to be a (Division I) prospect. He needs to have a really good year, blocking and playing defense to up his stock."

Burleigh has already received letters of interest from schools as far away as the University of Oregon. University of Tennessee defensive line coach John Palermo visited South Side in May to talk with Burleigh.

Coach Hayes said the goals for the team leading up the Jamboree in August are to stay injury free and build team chemistry.
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