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The first objective for Kane Wommack is to find a way for his South Alabama football team to win football games.

The second-year head coach is also winning over a city.

“That's a dream being realized for us,” Wommack said. “When I took the head coaching job here at South Alabama, a lot of what I envisioned for this university was for us to become Mobile's football team. We live in a very football-rich state. You can support other programs and other universities at the SEC or Power 5 level, but this is Mobile's football team.”

The first part of that is winning football games and being in a position to win championships. Through 11 games, the Jaguars have nine regular season wins for the first time as an FBS member. They are tied with Troy in the Sun Belt West standings but the Trojans own the tiebreaker after winning at South Alabama on October 22.

It would take a Troy loss at Arkansas State on Saturday to give South Alabama a chance at playing in the Sun Belt championship game for the first time. If Troy loses and South Alabama wins at home against Old Dominion, then the Jaguars would be in the championship game.

It’s a much better feeling for Troy, being in control of its own destiny. But, either way, it’s a big step for the South Alabama program.

“As the city and surrounding area continues to pull the rope in the same direction as South Alabama, and particularly our football program, we're going to see great growth,” Wommack said. “I've said all along that football can be the great unifier. You think about our city which has such a great history of commerce and diversity, and it's an opportunity for all of us to rally around one thing, which happens to be on a football field. That's really special. I think we feel the outpouring of support from this community. I think that's represented in social media and when you walk around town and see people with Jaguar gear on, and then certainly in the stands both home and away.”

Offensive lineman James Jackson, who is in his second season in the program after transferring from Mississippi State, said there is still work to be done but it’s nice to get the process rolling in a positive way.

“It's a big deal, just to be able to change the course of the program over the next few years, just to win games this year is big for the city. Everybody's coming out and we're getting more fans at the game. It's just a lot of community involvement." 

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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