MYRTLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Myrtle High School's first varsity season of football couldn't have gone much better.
The Hawks went 7-1 in 2018 while playing an independent schedule.
Fast forward to 2019, and Myrtle has a new head coach. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Smithey was promoted after Justin Hollis was named principal at Nettleton.
Smithey is no stranger to building programs - he was previously an assistant at East Union.
Myrtle has just 30 players, including four seniors, on the roster, but most of last year's starters.
The Hawks join Division 1-1A this season and open Friday at Vardaman.
"It was a big confidence boost for the majority of these kids," Smithey said. "I just don't want it to be too much, to build a lot of cockiness in them - yeah, it was good to have the season you had, but we're not playing that same schedule anymore.
"Division play is just a whole different world from where we've been in the past."