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KILLEN, Ala.- In 2016, Brooks made the jump to class 5A and quickly made its mark, winning the region 8 title and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The Lions’ success has them ranked 10th by the ASWA heading into this season but that taste has left them wanting even more in 2017.

“I think this is the hungriest team we’ve had honestly,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Ben Hamner. “Last year, it was disappointing because we thought we were the best team and should’ve made it to state and all that.”

Brad Black is heading into his third season at the helm and says this team has a lot to prove.

“A lot of energy and excitement,” said Black. “Losing experience, we lost a bunch of guys who started four years for us. It’s time to fill their shoes We try not to replace we just tell them to be the next man up.”

The backfield is where Brooks took one of the biggest hits. All-state running back Deondre Hampton is now up the road at UNA but Noah Turbyfill is a name you can expect to hear on Friday nights.

“He can run the power scheme like our guys like, he can get out and run,” said Black. He’s a special kid. He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever been around to be honest with you and he’s just a junior.”

Turbyfill’s success begins with the big bodies up front. Three-star Auburn commit Kameron Stutts anchors an offensive and defensive line that Black says is the strength of this year’s squad.

“You control the game up front everyone knows that,” Black said. “Every coach I’ve talked to, studied under, I’ve read books. That’s where it’s built at up front and I’ve always believed that.”

Black also believes they can overcome the age and inexperience this season. But they have to unite as a team to make it happen.

“Every year you wanna be a better team. You have to fill each other, you have to back each other up. You gotta do whatever you gotta do to be the best team you can. They’re excited about the opportunity and they know they’re young but like I said, they’re wanting to be the net guy that me and you are talking about.”

Brooks kicks off the season on September 1st at Fayette County.