BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Reviving what was once one of the premiere programs in Birmingham can be a difficult task. For Banks Academy Head Coach Riley White, it’s been a welcome challenge getting the Jets off the ground.

“I want our kids to leave Banks and have had the best high school football experience they could possibly have and we teach things in high school football that are life lessons,” said White. “Football is the avenue we teach them that will carry our things into their jobs, their marriages and in their lives beyond Banks Academy.”

In 2019, Banks Academy fielded an eight-man team that finished 6-4. There was a big adjustment for the squad moving up to regulation football, where they went 1-9 last year.

“Very big change, very different, the league was more tough, more physical guys,” said Banks Academy running back Josh Bonner.

This year, Coach White has led the team to their first winning record since bringing back the program, which saw its share of state titles in the past. The program won it all in 1965, 1972 and 1973 under White’s grandfather, the legendary George “Shorty” White, and Riley is happy to carry the torch to keep the legacy alive.

“When I first learned what that meant, I always knew getting into the coaching profession that I would apply things, spending a lot of time with him, I learned hard work and discipline, intensity and all the things he brought to the field,” said White. “And it’s been fun to make an attempt to follow in his footsteps in that field and get to do that at Banks Academy where he spent the majority of his high school career.”