Bassfield Head Coach Lance Mancuso continues to see his program grow and build expectation year after year.
Even with a huge target on their back this season, the Yellow Jackets just tore right through their schedule and cruised to another state championship.
With their 48-7 win over Calhoun City, Bassfield won their 6th state title in school history and finished 15-1 on the season. In the past two AA state championship games they have outscored their opponents 83-7.
Coach Lance Mancuso quickly deflects any attention off himself and says the ingredient to the success of the program comes down to something the fine people of south Mississippi know well; grit, toughness, and old fashioned hard work.
"We are extremely proud of our young men here and they work so hard," Coach Mancuso told GoldenEaglePride.com today.
"We had great leadership and our seniors stepped forward and led the way for us. We probably had better than 95% participation in our summer work outs, which led into a great fall camp.
"Our guys played a difficult schedule and were up to the challenge each week. Our young kids followed along and had some big football games this year."
Their success is much of what the people of south Mississippi know very well.
"They are a bunch of just good ole country boys," he added.
"They grow up having to work hard so they understand what it takes to be successful. The tradition they have here at Bassfield carries them and they expect to be the next success story.
"They have accepted it and they are ready to continue to get to the next level with their hard work."
Coach Mancuso's message is a simple one, and his ingredients for success don't come easy.
"Be consistent in everything that you do," he said when asked what the program prides itself in.
"Take pride in what you do and have responsibility for yourself. Accept your role on this team and be accountable to each other day in and day out. Having high quality kids that are willing to make the sacrifice and understand what it takes.
"We just have a big group of kids who take that attitude every day."
When Coach Monken and his staff came on board, one of the goals of his program was to start recruiting south Mississippi first, then work their way out.
Coach Mancuso said that philosophy has helped both programs.
"I think its extremely important and I think what they are doing over there right now is tremendous," he said.
"I'm excited about Southern Miss football again. Back in the early and late 90's there was an excitement about the program and I really feel that coming back. Its a tribute to Coach Monken and his staff and saying we need to evaluate football locally in Mississippi.
"We are going to see more and more high profile kids in south Mississippi making that commitment back to what they are doing there at Southern Miss. I have a lot of confidence in what they are doing there."
Two seniors signed with the Golden Eagles and are ready to bring that winning tradition to help the turn around at Southern Miss.
On Curtis Mikell: "Curt is going to be one of those guys who will come in and he will play himself into a role," he said.
"He is very football smart. Not only is he an athlete but he is so smart on the football field. The game really slows down for him. His individual ability speaks for itself, not only does he have great speed but he has one of the best set of hands on the football team.
"It will just be a situation of where he fits in when he gets there. Before he leaves there he will leave a big footprint on the program."
On Cornell Armstrong: "Cornell is so down to earth," he said.
"Nothing rattles him. He has the same demeanor about himself and handles pressure really well. He looks to be in that spot and in the state championship game we put him on the top receiver and he covered him up.
"He looks for that and his competitive nature is what keeps him motivated and he's going to be a big time addition to Southern Miss."
There are a few other players Coach Mancuso talked about in the future classes as well.
"Jamal is a special player and he's been blessed with a lot of God given talent but he doesn't rely on that. He's a hard worker and a very team oriented player. We are excited about having him another year and we are going to rely on him next season a great deal. The thing to know about Jamal is what a great kid he is."
"We have a tailback Trodrick Daniels that is an outstanding player. He's special as a running back and will be a big time player at the next level as he continues to develop."
"Also a kid that is going to be a junior Racheem Boothe. He played in the middle with the Moore kids and he's going to be a big time football player. He's already getting a lot of attention from the major colleges and its going to be very exciting to see him grow as a young man and as a football player."
One thing is for sure, this program just continues to grow and churn out talent, and Southern Miss could be a big benefactor of it.