If you don’t believe me, travel back to the final two games of the season, when things began to look grim for the Carroll Academy Rebels, as the team was plagued with injury.
Head coach Jimmy McGregor handed the ball off to then-sophomore Liddell, who helped the Rebels to a district title and their first playoff season in three years.
Now a junior, Liddell, 17, will again suit up as the primary running back for the Rebels. He wants the Rebel faithful to know how serious this team is about winning.
“We’re a tough team this year,” Liddell said. “I think we shocked a lot of folks last year when we pulled off winning the district. I still think we have something to prove.”
The Rebels posted a 4-7 record on the season, but managed to be the only area team to win a district title in 2013.
The Rebels saw their season come to an end in the first round of the Class A playoffs in a 17-14 loss to Riverdale, the Louisiana team. It was the first district title for the Rebels in 15 years.
Carroll Academy moved down to a Class A ball this season and competed against Immanuel Christian, Greenville Christian School, Deer Creek, and Strider Academy in 2-A play.
Liddell is also expected to play on the defensive side of the ball, but it is the tailback post that gets his blood pumping. In those final two games of the season, critical wins over Greenville Christian and Central Holmes, Liddell rushed for over 100 yards, and he said he never doubted himself, although he was surprised.
“I knew what I could do,” Liddell said. “All I wanted was the ball and to block somebody. As for confidence, that was a big boost for me.”
During the offseason, Liddell said the Rebels have worked hard in the weight room, and he sees this season being a tough matchup for the opposition this year. He said head coach Jimmy McGregor is an outstanding coach and knows a lot about the game.
“A lot of our offensive linemen are back, and that will make us pretty good up front,” Liddell said. “We have Tristian Wiggins, Bailey Howard and Austin Jennings; we’re just loaded with players that know about the game.”
Liddell said the goal is simple for this year’s team and with the entire team buying into McGregor’s system, it can be reached.
“We want a title,” Liddell said. “No matter who it is, I think we can beat them.”
Liddell is the son of Jeremy and Tanya Liddell of Teoc.