Coach Leroy Foster, left, will begin his third season in trying to turn the Morrow Mustangs into a playoff team. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)
MORROW — When Leroy Foster took over the Morrow football coaching job three years ago, he figured it would be a big task in getting the program back up to respectability.
He first wanted to lay a foundation in with working on the players attitude and weeding out any other bad habits.
Now, in Year 3, Foster is looking for better results on the field.
“We have been improving each year as far as attitude, work ethic and academics,” Foster said. “That has been a good start, but now people want to see the results as far as wins and losses.”
In the past, there have been plenty of losses. Morrow has not won more than four games in a season since the 1998, when the Mustangs went 10-2 in their last state playoff appearance.
Foster says this could be the team’s breakout year as far as producing more wins.
“We are at the door knocking,” he said. “The kids have bought into what we have been implementing. We just want them to stay focused and experience a steady dose of winning. We have been a long work in progress.”
This year’s season class hopes to change the team’s misfortunes on the field.
“I think we are getting more effort from everybody on the team,” said senior Shaun Murphy, a running back and strong safety. “I think a lot is going to change this year with the team.”
Morrow has moved from Class AAAAAA, the state’s highest into the AAAAA level. The season begins on Aug. 29 against Mount Zion at Tara Stadium.
The Mustangs enter the season on a seven-game losing streak with its only win last season coming against Locust Grove, a Class AAAA playoff team, with a 26-24 win in the third week of the season.
“It is going to come down to hard work for us,” Morrow senior wide receiver Keenon Davis said.
For the team to be successful, a new quarterback will have to grow up fast. Davis said that sophomore Josiah Dixon has been steadily improving since spring practice.
Despite Dixon’s youth and inexperience, Davis said the team has full confident in the 6-foot-4, 210-pound converted baseball player.
“I think he has the maturity to handle this job,” Foster said. “He is very mature for his age. He definitely has all the measurables to be successful.”
“He has been looking great during our workouts,” Davis said. “He just has to play his game, and keep working hard.”
The team is also motivated to do well to show their gratitude to Foster, who is the longest tenured coach for the program since Tom Van Tone’s four-year stay from 1999-2002. Since that time, the Morrow program has been a revolving door for coaches.
“I believe coach Foster has had an opportunity to leave, but he has stuck with us,” Murphy said. “That says a lot about the type of person he is. He showed that he has believed in us, and now we have to improve. I’m looking forward to this season.”