GF Media Day 2023 Preview: Independence High School (Independence, LA)

First year Independence High School head football coach Travis Mikel is looking to bring his knowledge to an entirely different program. Coach Mikel has loads of experience around the game of football so he thinks he has what it takes to bring this Tiger football program to new heights. Having been a late summer hire, he is getting in the groove of things with his team and with his community.

“To be honest with you, I was just always been around the game. I had several coaches in my life that were huge influences on me, and how I operate and how I am today. So you know, I wanted to give back just like they gave to me.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel

Coach Mikel is starting to form bonds with his players and learn more about them, and that is something you want from a new head coach. He touches on how special this group of kids are, and how much they are wanting to have success back at Independence.

“So number one, we have great kids. You know, they’re high character, they’re high morals and they’re starving to win. They don’t mind to work and there’s several athletes in the building so those are the good things that you see right now.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel

Coach Mikel wants to bring a very quick-tempo and aggressive style of football to Independence High School. He wants the Tigers to have a balanced, yet quick team on both sides of the ball. He describes it here.

“We’re gonna be fast and aggressive. We want to set the tempo, and we want to set the pace and let you know that we’re gonna get you. We’re going to probably take more chances than most people will. We’re going to try to be fast not only offensively, but defensively and on special teams. You know all three styles have to mimic each other. You can’t be a risk taker on offense and not be one on defense so it’s going to be fun.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel

Coach Mikel knows that even though Independence is Class 2A, that his district will still be some stiff competition.

“Yeah it’s going to be tough. You know it’s Louisiana football so it is what it is. No matter what classification or what district you’re in, it’s going to be tough. We’re definitely going to have to be on our p’s and q’s. We’re going to have to be fast learners on offense, defense, and on special teams. Also, the effort it takes to actually win games in this state so in our district, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a battle to the end.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel

Senior WR/DB Gary Zanders Jr. and Junior WR/LB Gabriel Ballet made the trip down to Denham Springs with Coach Mikel for the GF Media Day event, and he spoke very highly of them. He thinks their success begins and ends with these two guys.

“Those two guys are what we want from an Independence Tiger. You’re not going to out work them and they will not miss a day. They listen to every little detail and do it exactly the way you would want them to do something. Also, when they do that, they’re also doing it with effort. The effort they gave is what we need to not only win regular Friday night games, but district championships and playoff games as well as. They replicate that constantly and they are what we want, and that is why they came with me today.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel

Coach Mikel thinks there is a bright future ahead for the Independence Tiger football program that has achieved a lot of success in the past.

“I think the future is bright, extremely bright. You can start with the kids in the building, the administrators and teachers and how well they are doing their job of teaching kids and trying to further them academically, and then that fire lights into the athletic side of it to where they want to win, and they want to win now. That goes from the building on 270 Tiger Avenue all the way into the community. Every day, we have people on our fence watching us practice. There are so many people in the community that are starving for a winner. They’re starving to get back to the program they once had. Coach Bags did such a great job of starting and establishing that and I really do think that’s where we’re headed because our talent doesn’t stop with our senior class. I mean it goes all the way down to seventh grade so it’s gonna be fun.”

Independence Head Coach Travis Mikel