Editor's note: This story is number three in a planned series of features on DeSoto County’s nine high school football teams. The DeSoto Times-Tribune will be doing a preview of each high school football team in the county leading up to the first games of the season.
High school football for the Horn Lake Eagles starts next month with a scrimmage against Oxford High School Aug. 20 and the first official game of the season Aug. 27 against the Grenada Chargers.
The Eagles are led by second year Head Coach Mitchell Harville. Coaching at Horn Lake is Harville’s first job out of college and he’s been committed ever sense. He has been on the school’s coaching staff since 2007 and was offered the head coach position for the 2020 season.
“People don’t always identify what our kids are like here at Horn Lake,” Harville said. “A lot of times we get a bad rap. Some people in the county look down on Horn Lake but there’s really a lot of greatness here.”
Going into the summer, the team focused on building off of what they did the previous season. The 2020 season was obviously not ideal with COVID causing all sorts of complications, but the Eagles persevered and played every game scheduled last season. Harville said last season was great to continue building up the experience levels at Horn Lake to even higher levels.
“I was told last year, ‘Coach, if you can make it through this year, you can make it through anything,’” Harville said.
Coach Harville and the Eagles have been working hard on developing a sense of in-game urgency during the offseason.
“We play really fast,” he said. “We try to make the easy plays and the basic plays, and if you make those enough, they tend to become spectacular plays.”
Harville said that despite a big senior class last year, the team has a talented group of experienced players returning for the 2021 season. Most of the young men on the team have been playing for the school since their freshman or sophomore years, according to Harville.
The Eagle’s quarterback, two out of three running backs and all three tight ends will be back on the field this year ready to move the chains.
He pointed out Jarnorris Hopson, who has experience at several positions including receiver and quarterback, as an exceptional player to keep an eye on this season.
“We have guys that are getting offers and getting recruited,” Harville said. “There are players on our team that are getting looked at outside of just Horn Lake.”
Harville also mentioned senior corner Rashard Daniels and senior linebacker Dyllon Bullard, who is starting for the third year in a row, as defensive leaders on the team.
“I’m just excited to get these guys out on the field and let them compete,” Harville said. “We haven’t been able to do that in a while and they’re ready to show everyone what they’ve got.”