The Northeast Raiders have hired a new head football coach, and are hoping that change can lead the Raiders to a state championship. Ashley Harden is up for that challenge.
Harden is implementing a new system for the Raiders, and it's not just in their workouts.
"We are almost kind of like the army, we want to tear them down so we can build them up the way that we want them. Not to say that they were built badly before but its just a certain way that we need them to think and react," Harden said.
Harden spent the past two years at Twiggs County, where he helped turn the program around and take them to the second round of the playoffs last year. He's hoping to do the same at Northeast, where there last winning season came in 2013.
"I think as far as the preparation, that same preparation is going to be there, you know we had to bring our A game, night in and night out at Twiggs and we are definitely going to have to do that here at Northeast," Harden said.
Even though its a change of scenery for the coach, Harden says he won't shy away from what's made his teams successful in the past.
"Kids are the same, the thing that makes kids different are the expectations that we as a society place on those kids so I don't care where I go wherever I coach I place the same expectations on our kids," Harden said.
And one of those expectations is to trust your teammates, which the players have learned to do during the offseason.
"So far we learned how to just pick each other up, like have each other back. We got to learn how to just constantly just motivate each other and stay dedicated to the process," senior running back Alton Dennis Jr. said.
And while Harden and the entire coaching staff want to raid Class 2A, and win the region, their primary goal is to get the players ready for their future.
Our vision every time we go into a program is to be uncommon, we want to produce uncommon men, uncommon people, we want great fathers and great husbands and great citizens so we go into each program just trying to instill that into our kids and try to see those kids grow into great young men," Harden said.
The Raiders open the season against August 25th against Lamar County.