CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Brian Halsey knows what it takes to win at Charleston and now the former head coach is back in the place he knows best.

“Everyone here was excited about him coming in,” Charleston senior linebacker Brett Spour said about Halsey.

“I was one of the first ones to talk to him and told him he needs to go for it because we want him back,” Charleston senior receiver Langdon King said about his head coach. “So it’s very exciting to have him back where he needs to be.”

The Trojans’ most successful coach is back in charge again after an eight year reprieve, where he spent six seasons as offensive coordinator at Newton before taking 2022 off. Former head coach Jerry Payne stepping down in the offseason opened the door for a reunion.

“It’s pretty special,” Halsey said about the opportunity to be back on the Charleston sidelines. “It was emotional early on in the year. I’ve spent more than half my life as a player, or an assistant coach or a head coach here at Charleston High School.”

And Halsey has brought winning back to the Charleston program, as the Trojans are just one win away from playoff eligibility. They haven’t qualified since Halsey’s first stint in 2012.

“Not only do I want to do it for my teammates, but for the community,” King said. “This community needs something exciting. It’s something we haven’t had here for a while.”

Heading up a semifinal appearance in 2011, Halsey knows what kind of program Charleston can be. And his second act as Trojans head coach has his players believing they can get there again.

“These kids want to win, they know the work it takes,” Halsey said. “Many of them were little brothers or even sat in the stands and watched these games as youngsters.”

“I remember coming to the games as a little kid, and then you hear about it all over the community,” added King. “He is someone you want to play for. Definitely excited to have him back.”

To get that all important fifth win of the season and qualify for the postseason, Charleston will need to beat rival Mattoon in the Coles County Clash on the turf at EIU in the Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week.