When Madison-Plains football coach Jason Hunt took the Golden Eagles’ coaching job over a year ago he talked about the importance of changing the attitude around the football program.
His squad won three games last fall which was viewed as a step in the right direction. He’s since continued to keep the buzz surrounding the program a positive one. In the last couple months the program went in a new direction in terms of look by purchasing new, stylish Nike uniforms.
Now Hunt is set on rekindling the connection between Madison-Plains High School and the Village of Mount Sterling. The coach, a graduate of Madison-Plains, himself is determined to bring that community with a rich athletic history back into the fold in terms of support. So much so that Hunt and his players conducted conditioning/practice at the Mount Sterling Community Center Thursday, July 17.
“We’re here because we’re trying to build a sense of community,” Hunt said during the conditioning session. “The Madison-Plains School district has been somewhat of a fractured district over the years and what we want the people of Mount Sterling to see is that this is their team.
“About 1/3 of our kids come from Mount Sterling, this is the Mount Sterling team and we hope the people of Mount Sterling will support us like they have in the past.”
Hunt said he opened the practice up to the public so they could come out and see what the Golden Eagles are doing and give a sneak peek at what the team has to offer.
“It’s a change of scenery that’s for sure,” Hunt said. “We invited the public to come and we have 35-40 people show up, it’s a cool thing. They’re welcome to walk around and see the drills what we’re doing and a get a chance to see our kids up close and personal, something we don’t normally do with our practices at the high school.”
The number of football players in the program now tops 50, a year ago that number was much closer to 40. Hunt knew changing the culture of the program wasn’t going to happen overnight, but he likes the strides his bunch is making and would love the support of those in the Southern reaches of Madison County.
“I’m not exactly sure when the merger of the district happened, but I grew up in Mount Sterling and there always has been a fracture in our community,” Hunt said. “Mount Sterling believes this and the Fairfield people believe this and Linson Road people believe this and that’s not really the case. We’re one community, one program and one team.
“We want to do our small little part to let the people know that we’re one community and we want their support. Next year we want to do a practice here and do one at Fairfield as well. We want to get the kids out in the community and we want people to come out and support them.”
Madison-Plains High School football hasn’t had a winning season since early in the 1990s, so championship dreams this fall may be too much for fans to expect, but the Golden Eagles coaching staff is just fine with fans and the community expecting a little more from them this time around.
“We want to raise expectations,” the coach said. “Last year people expected us to win zero games and we won three. We are not satisfied with three games, but those are three games we worked hard for and picked up wins. We’d like to do much better than that this year, we think we can be very, very competitive and be a much better team.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.