In his first year as head coach for Leeds Middle School football, Jesse Turner has taken a team with a previous 1-7 record to a winning 4-3 season. Proud of the hard work his team put in, Turner says their success was due to resilience and perseverance.
For Turner in his inaugural run at coaching this team, it was about building relationships.
“We needed to let these guys know what we’re about. To learn our values and stress the importance of being a team,” Turner said. “Going in, I wanted our guys to know they will be held accountable.”
With long-term goals in mind, Turner and his coaching staff are implementing a six-year program that includes a complex defense, learning the lingo and executing a system.
“We always talk about creating a brand and selling it. Our brand at Leeds promotes positivity and hard work,” Turner said. “We want to be the best wherever we are, be it in the classroom, on the field or out in the community. We’re always holding the torch of Leeds football.”
Challenged by adversity this season, the team has had several key players including its starting quarterback and defensive back go down due to injuries. This served as a learning moment for the team in which Turner said they grew and learned how to respond when their backs were against the wall.
Exuding enthusiasm and love for the game to his players, Turner says what he loves about football is the excitement and hype surrounding this sport.
“Football and I have similar personalities. It rewards preparation, which is a huge thing for life in general,” Turner said. “Game days are like a drug, it’s a feeling fueled by hard work and determination. It’s high-intensity, and that’s what I love about it.”
Appreciative of opportunities that present themselves, Turner said he would love to one day be a head coach at the varsity level. But for now, he loves working with the middle school age group.
Looking forward to continuing to build the brand of creating champions, Turner wants to expand his program by inviting younger students, such as fourth and fifth graders, to step up by serving as ball boys to offer them character building opportunities. “We want these young men to get on board early and have the opportunity to represent their school and achieve success,” he said.
Another key element to LMS football’s success this season was support. Turner says the fans that packed the stands, not only at Homer Smiles Field, but from Oneonta to Riverchase were electrifying.
“The LMS band played at our home game against St. Clair County and they were kickin’. Our band, cheerleaders and fans really added to the atmosphere.”
A turning point in the season was the team’s win over Lincoln. Turner says the team found a way to get it done because of commitment to the program. “I’m really proud of how we finished,” Turner said. “This is a high energy group who looks forward to having the opportunity to grow.”
Grow is exactly what Turner has done, as he is a former defensive back/receiver for the Green Wave. A 2011 graduate of Leeds High School, Turner also serves as the eyes and ears for assistant coach Brent Reese, on Friday nights.
Excited about his first year teaching and coaching at LMS Turner, the team and crew look forward to being able to continue directly representing their school and the Leeds community with a quiet confidence where winning is an expectation because of commitment, hard work and character. Because in Green Wave country, it’s not just about football, it’s about creating champions.
For those interested in joining the 2016-17 LMS football team, contact LMS Head Coach Jesse Turner at email@example.com.