Mentorship, Capitol making progress despite being winless _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Friendship Capitol coach Johnny Duncan.

Mentorship Academy coach Jeremy Gradney said it best.

A successful season isn’t always measured by wins or losses.

“At the end of the day the score doesn’t always tell the truth of a season,” Gradney said. “If we’re giving our all and the scoreboard doesn’t reflect what we gave, then that is fine. You’re going out there everyday and fighting to get better, that’s success. At the end of the day, we gave it our best, and that’s all you can do.”

Gradney’s Sharks will have one last opportunity to notch a win when they face Friendship Capitol in a District 6-2A season finale on Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.

Capitol (0-9, 0-6), has been hampered by a combination of youth, inexperience and injuries. In a district which includes No. 7 Madison Prep, Episcopal, East Feliciana and Dunham, consistency was key.

Entering Thursday’s matchup, the Lions will be starting Brandon Hill, their third quarterback of the season, who is also a converted defensive back.

Hill will be paired with running back Devin Joseph (339 rushing yards two touchdowns) and receiver Darius Ellis (276 yards and two touchdowns) .

One highlight for the Lions has been the play of two linebackers, senior Jihad Furqan and junior Chris Duhon. Furqan leads the team with 102 tackles and four sacks and while Duhon tallied 93 tackles and six sacks.

“They’ve been our leaders vocally,” Capitol coach Johnny Duncan said. “One (Duhon) talks a lot, but he backs it up. He just gives me everything. Jihad is the quiet kid but he tends to put people out of the game with the way he hits. It’s really a joy to watch them.”

For Mentorship, it’s been a case of a toddler learning to walk. The program is in it’s first full season of competing for district honors and improved from 10 players to a total of 35 on the roster.

“Right now we’re competing in a very tough 2A district,” Gradney said. “But our boys are competing and I’m so proud of these guys for sticking with it because a lot of people through adversity wouldn’t show the type of character that these kids show.”

Two players to watch for the Sharks are senior running back Arthur Henry and Caleb Adams wide receiver and defensive end.

Come Thursday night, both teams will be playing for pride. Win, lose, they say they leave it all on the field.