Davis coaches Heritage to AA state title test

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

Time flies when you’re having fun.

It was 10 years ago when the Brookhaven Academy Cougars made anunprecedented march to the Class AA state football championship.Coach Herbert Davis, Jr., was at the helm of that outstanding groupof overachievers and they beat Greenville Christian 21-18 on Nov.19 on Jackson Prep’s gridiron. Their theme song was Bad To theBone.


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In 1993, in the opening round of the state playoffs, theCougars edged Silliman Institute 6-0 in double overtime. Theyambushed heavily favored Amite School Center 19-10 the next weekand beat Greenville Christian in the finals. Remarkably, theCougars started slow, struggling to a 1-3 record in the first fourgames of the season before catching fire.

Ten years later, Davis has another title contender, thistime at Columbus Heritage Academy (9-4). They face an awesomechallenge, meeting the University of Simpson County (12-0) tonightat 7 p.m. in the championship game on the Mississippi Collegegridiron.

Davis likened his Heritage team to the BA Cougars in sizeand spirit. “It’s been a topsy-turvy year. We had lots of injuriesearly in the season. It took a lot of character but our kids stayedin there and battled.”

Last Friday, the Patriots beat Yazoo City Manchester 17-13for the North title.

Main mover in the Heritage attack is senior quarterbackConnor Wise (6-5, 200), a college prospect. Missing some earlygames due to injury, Wise has passed for 1,300 yards in eightgames.

“We have been primarily a passing team,” said Davis. “Wehave some good receivers. We are not very physical on the offensiveline.”

Davis, 36, has been at Heritage for two years as head coach,also serving as high school principal and athleticdirector.

There are 27 players on the Heritage varsity. “I hope we canprotect our quarterback,” said Davis. “(Simpson County) is verygood. They are giving up about four points a game.”

A 1985 Brookhaven Academy graduate, Davis had held coachingpositions at Petal, Cruger-Tchula Academy and Greenwood Pillowsince leaving BA. He won a state title at Pillow in 1997.

“I’ve been blessed to be in some good situations,” saidDavis.

A former linebacker at Copiah-Lincoln Community College,Davis has maintained a keen interest in the Wolves. Of course healready had heard about David Poinsett’s resignation from theCo-Lin job.

“I hope they can get somebody who cares about the communityand the program,” said Davis. “I’ve always loved Co-Lin.”

Co-Lin president Dr. Howell Garner said the deadline forreceiving applications for the vacancy is Dec. 8. It could beextended if the right person hasn’t applied by that date.

Recruiting, filling assistant coaching positions andscheduling spring practice are three priorities the new head coachwill face. Garner said some highly regarded coaches already hadinquired about the head job. “We have some goodapplicants.”

After 3-6 and 2-7 campaigns, Poinsett elected to resign. TheWolves played well on defense for much of the season but theoffense was horrible. Chalk it up to unlucky recruiting and a lessthan prosperous Co-Lin district to recruit from. There is noquick-fix solution but the Wolves should at least be respectableand competitive.

Professor Hoopla, B.S., was cleaning his deer rifle inpreparation for Saturday’s opening day. That explained the oilstains on his list of predictions.

Hoopla predicted the winners of 13 games last week and got10 right. Here’s his latest fearless forecast, starting with aThursday night special.

TCU at Southern Miss: In a titanic struggle for the C-USAchampionship and a berth in the Liberty Bowl, the purple HornedFrogs escape with a victory. TCU 22-13.

West Jones at Lawrence County: Mustangs have too much gallopfor the Cougars to handle. West Jones 31-21.

Bogue Chitto at Scott Central: Yow! These Rebels are forreal. Scott Central 22-12.

Forest at Hazlehurst: Bearcats have plenty of bite and theIndians fall short of another stunning upset. Forest33-22.

LSU at Ole Miss: A record crowd invades Oxford and theTigers escape with a key SEC victory. LSU 24-20.

Mississippi State at Arkansas: Razorbacks tune up for nextweek’s showdown with LSU as they muzzle the Bulldogs. Arkansas44-14.

Alcorn State at Jackson State: Braves are long overdue for awin over the Tigers. Expect them to end the 8-year drought. AlcornState 28-19.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz at The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail,sports@dailyleader.com