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Ready to earn it: No. 4 Wildcats won’t let rank define season

Published 10:14am Monday, August 12, 2013

After last season’s 11-2 campaign, the Benjamin Russell Wildcats football team enter this season not only as the favorite to win the region crown but also as a dark horse contender for the state championship.
Despite being ranked No. 4 in Class 5A to start the season, the Wildcats have no plans on letting that distinction go to their heads.
In fact, they aren’t even concerned with where they are now, according to BRHS head football coach Danny Horn.
“Well, to be honest with you, I don’t really pay much attention to the poll,” Horn said. “To me, the rankings don’t mean a whole lot because we have the playoffs at the end of the season.”
Horn said the rankings have only served to paint a target on the Wildcats, and his primary focus is to make sure the team is ready to play week in and week out.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anyone this year,” Horn said. “We have to learn how to handle winning.”
Still, Horn acknowledges that the preseason rankings do serve a bit of a purpose.
“It’s good recognition,” he said. “To get from where we’ve been to where we’re at, it’s a positive.”
While being No. 4 in Class 5A has given BRHS a chance to reflect on the strides it has made with Horn at the helm, the coach said it wouldn’t change how his team would prepare for the 2013 season.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great statewide recognition,” Horn said. “But we weren’t ranked until about week 6 or 7 of last season. It doesn’t matter if we’re ranked or not.”
It also doesn’t matter if any rivals are ahead of the Wildcats, Horn said.
BRHS rival Homewood is ranked No. 3 in the state, and it handed the Wildcats their only regular season loss.
According to Horn, the onus is on the Wildcats themselves to take care of business on the field, as the ranking in front of their name won’t have any bearing on the results.
“We have to learn to handle  everything that comes with it,” Horn said. “We’re going to continue preparing as we usually do, and we have to go out there and play each game like it’s our last.”

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