Senior linebacker and running back Reggie Ford has been a major part of Ellison’s stiff defense this year. He had a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Friday’s 28-14 loss to Waco. He is considering playing college football at Rice, Texas, Texas A&M or UCLA.
You’ve had some tough losses this year, but your defense has played real well. What has it been like to play on such an aggressive squad?
It’s been great. All the players are athletes. We get to the ball, but we work as a team. We see each other as family, we got each other’s back, whenever we pick up a fumble, whenever we intercept a ball. Whenever something like that happens, we make sure we have each other’s back, because out there, it’s a war.
What does this team need to do to get back on the winning track?
We’re going step by step, you know. We know that we have a new coaching staff that we love. We got new teammates out there on offense that we love. We’re just taking it step by step, and we know that, as long as we take those steps to get better, we’ll progress, because each time, our stats are getting better. And that’s all we can look forward to. We’re looking forward to getting a win.
You had a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown last week. What went through your mind on that play?
I always told my grandmother that I’m going to score a touchdown. It’s been my dream to score a touchdown in high school ball.
Your team has a bye this week, but you face defending district champ Waco Midway on Sept. 27. What will it take to beat them?
It’s going to take a family effort, and it’s going to take a team effort. Because, No. 1, family effort, as a family, if we go out there with hands held strong, we’re going to beat that team because they’re a bunch of athletes. We know that, but if we stay strong as a team we can beat them. And our offense, we’re going to run out there and run the ball down that field.
What has it been like working with new coach Trent Gregory?
He’s brought energy that I haven’t seen since my freshman year. ... He’s a great coach, he’s a great Christian guy that I love and he pushes the team. He expects nothing but the best from us, and he expects us to be a family.
What else does Gregory bring?
He’s bringing character, honor, discipline and toughness, and those are our four hallmarks. We lacked those last year, and that’s why we went 0-10. ... But he brings to the table hope — hope to win another game, hope to get on the field and happy to get on here and practice every day, and that’s why I come out here. He brings that hope and that energy that just keeps me pumping and going, and the team pumping.
With a new coach, do you feel any greater pressure to win?
Yes, definitely. Everybody’s looking toward the new coach and everything, and that’s all we complained about last year, even though it was players, too. But we understand that there’s pressure on us and we know that we’re going to grind it out as a family to get this win. We’re going to get a win. ... We’re going to get more than one win.
What do you have to do to be successful in district play this year?
(We have to) keep moving and taking those strides — pounding the rock, as the coach says. ... All our coaches say, “Pound the rock. Pound the rock until that rock cracks.” That’s district for us.