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Coach Ray leads his winning team with a

Coach Ray leads his winning team with a "military-oriented, team-focused" approach.

Coach Ray leads his winning team with a "military-oriented, team-focused" approach.

MacKenzie Sarrett, Staff writer/ photographer

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It’s all about “being a role model to everyone.”

— Kaden Ashby

Beckley-Stratton Middle School’s Football team is working hard this new season. And it’s showing.

While most of us were enjoying our long weekends, the football team was still at practice. Coach Ray is one of three coaches of the BEST football team. He describes his coaching style as “military-oriented and team-focused.” Coach Ray’s goal this year is for all of his guys to work together as one. Coach Jones, the team’s defensive coordinator, is focused more on his “Be Accurate” slogan and the team’s ability to be spot-on with tackling, running, and executing plays. And it must be working. The practices have led to a 3-0 record so far against contenders like Trap Hill, Shady Spring Middle, Collins Middle, with an upcoming game against the school’s biggest rival, Park Middle. “So far, going into Park week, we are 3-0. We have watched film and seen things that we definitely need to correct, but they are being accurate this year.”

The talented line-up this year includes Bradley Snyder, one of the starters for the team. His best experience being an 8th grade player so far is, “…how amazing it is to be a leader on the team and make sure everyone is doing things right.” Snyder also believes the 6th graders will grow to assist if they listen and are trained right. The biggest competition has already been won against, so a championship season may be on the horizon. Snyder hopes so — he plans on playing for the Woodrow Wilson High School football team next year.

Kaden Ashby is another player to watch. Ashby feels like he has great responsibilities being an 8th grade player. He says it is like “being a role model to everyone.” Ashby also believes that 8th graders should help others because 6th and 7th look up to them. Ashby says that the team’s biggest competition will be Park, Greenbrier East, and Bluefield. Ashby believes that his team will perform amazingly and that the season will start slow, but once they get out there, they will pull it all together.

Another member contributing to the team’s overall success is Xander Stegel, an 8th grade player who thinks being a part of the team is like being a part of something important. Stegel, too, feels like he is a leader for the team and also a peer for the younger players. Stegel seems confident to say the Bulldogs really have no competition this year and he also says that his team will continue perform its best throughout the season.

BEST football’s biggest game is the Battle of Beckley, which is a game against Park this Thursday, September 27. The team, school, and town are always excited for this game. It is a traditional backyard brawl that started many years ago and the competition gets more fierce each year.

“Expect a good game Thursday. I’m assuming both teams are going to come out ready to play hard, but I think Beckley-Stratton is going to be victorious. I believe we have the better team,” said Jones.

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