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Primetime 23: Kline Foster and Rials Hester of Loyd Star

The Primetime 23 recognizes the 23 best football players for the 2017 football season in the area.

As the two leaders of the Loyd Star football team, rising senior Kline Foster and rising junior Rials Hester have noticed a change in the culture of the program.

Foster and Hester were just wrapping up conditioning drills outside with the rest of Hornets team and came off the field with smiles on their faces Tuesday morning.

The drills featured wind sprints from sideline-to-sideline consisting of eight reps each with the groups rotating based on class.

New head coach Brian Ford keeps it loose with his players and cracks jokes with them throughout the morning.

After a long day of conditioning in the heat of summer, Foster and Hester enjoy going to practice every day and come away with a smile.

“It’s fun now coming to practice and being with these guys,” Foster said. “It’s tough out here in the heat, but it’s worth it to be with these guys.”

“It was all about buying into what coach Ford is preaching and I feel like a lot of the guys are starting to buy in,” Hester said.

Brian Ford comes from Lumberton High School, where he coached from 2008 to 2015 and won the 1A state championship back in 2010 with a 14-1 overall record.

Ford brings a winning attitude and culture to a football program that has been below average over the past couple of seasons.

“We’re practicing a lot more than we used to,” Foster said. “We come out here now three, maybe four days a week and grind together. Coach Ford makes it fun for us.”

“We’ve honestly been below average the past couple of years and I feel like coach Ford is going to change that,” Hester said. “We’ve got the players here now to do that.”

Ford helped recruit kids from other sports at Loyd Star to come and join the football team and so far over the summer, the turnout has been great.

“It’s cool to see the guys from other sports come in and wanting to help us win,” Foster said. “They’re starting to believe in what we’re doing.”

Foster is the leading tackler returning to the Hornets for the 2017 season. Last season, Foster totaled 42 tackles and will be one of the many players looked at to replace six starters on the defensive side of the ball.

“I’ve been trying to get faster on the field going sideline-to-sideline,” Foster said. “It all starts out here and getting our conditioning up.”

Hester knows there’s a lot of work to be done to turn around the offensive line with Cole Smith and Bradyn Brister moving on from the program, but he’s ready for the challenge.

“We’ve got the guys here and the coaching to do it,” Hester said. “I’ve been working on my blocking and making sure I finish my blocks until the whistle sounds.”

Loyd Star finished 4-8 last season under former head coach Adam Cook, with four of their losses coming by less than a touchdown. Three of their four wins came against Lincoln County opponents.

The team knows the talent is there at Loyd Star to win football games and with a new coach and more players, the leaders on the team are all in with the new look of Loyd Star football.

The leadership and experience Foster and Hester bring to the table has landed them on the Primetime 23.

“It’s cool to be on the Primetime 23,” Foster said. “There are a lot of good players in the area.”

“I’m honored to be a part of this,” Hester said. “It just shows that hard work pays off.”