Keeping cool and thinking football

Published 7:17 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Praying for a cool, refreshing breeze, thanking God for airconditioning and wondering what the 2010 football season holds forarea teams. Hopefully, there will be several successful teams towrite about.

Is there a state championship title contender in theneighborhood?

We hope so. It makes the season a lot longer but the enthusiasma winning team provides for football fans as it marches through thestate playoffs is something special.

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In 2009, Brookhaven Academy’s Cougars set a lofty standard,going 15-0 and winning the MAIS Class AA state championship. How doyou improve on that?

Brookhaven Academy head coach Herbert Davis lost six starters tograduation but he has a solid nucleus returning. What he needs mostare some big, strong linemen.

Quarterback Chandler Rogers returns a rifle arm and all-statepotential for the Cougars. He has an outstanding wide receiver inBubba Keene, plus a solid running back in Jennings Mills to helpshoulder the load.

As earlier stated, linemen will provide the key to BA’s success.Davis could use another linebacker or two on the defensive side,too.

There are some new head coaches in the area. Former South Pikecoach Randall Huffman has been hired at Loyd Star. He replaces RyanRoss who coached the Hornets to a 10-2 record before leaving forBrookhaven High and the offensive coordinator job.

Over the years, Huffman had maintained a solid program at SouthPike. The Eagles were exceptional on defense and efficient onoffense. Willie Brown, who coached Hazlehurst to a Class 3A statetitle in 2005, was the athletic director at South Pike last year.Brown inherits a tradition-rich program.

When Brown left Hazlehurst after bringing home the gold footballtrophy, he went to Greenville, which has fallen far below averageon the gridiron. Brown then moved to Port Gibson, another bottomfeeder in football, and met with little success.

Hoping to change Port Gibson’s soft Blue Wave nickname, Browncalled his football team the Fighting Sharks. That was a vastimprovement in nicknames but the team still struggled.

Rickey O’Quinn is the new boss at Franklin County. He waspromoted after Trent Hammond left last winter to take the job atAmory. O’Quinn was able to work the Bulldogs through springpractice and the FC coaching staff returns nearly intact.

The Bulldogs graduated some very good players but they stillhave the potential to do well, plus a wealth of state playofftradition in Meadville. They won it all in 2006.

Another new coach is Josh Garrett at Enterprise. Garrettreplaced Wayne Rogers whose contract wasn’t renewed after two yearsat the helm.

Rogers installed discipline and a rigid, regimented summerworkout program but only managed to win three games in two years.Enterprise was promoted to Class 2A three years ago and theFighting Yellow Jackets are still searching for their first Region6-2A win.

Optimistically, the Lawrence County Cougars could be a surpriseteam this fall. They graduated some great players, among themrunning back Matthew Wells who signed with Mississippi State.Running back Josh Cameron graduated and signed with Copiah-LincolnCommunity College but there are more horses in the stable for CoachMike Davis to groom.

Davis coached his Cougars to the third round of the Class 4Astate playoffs last season. That’s the farthest they’ve advancedsince winning the state title in 1999.

The Brookhaven Panthers anticipate a strong season as CoachTucker Peavey begins his ninth campaign. Around 15 starters returnas they work for a return to the state championship throne room.They won it all in 2004.

Unfortunately, when the Panthers were promoted to Class 5A lastyear, they joined the Mississippi high school version of theSoutheastern Conference. Powerhouses like Wayne County, West Jonesand Picayune stand between the Panthers and first place in theregion. Region foes Stone County, McComb, Forest Hill and PearlRiver Central should be improved, too.

To their advantage, Wayne County, Picayune and Stone County arecoming to play the Panthers on King Field this season. Class 6AClinton and archrival Lawrence County also visit BHS this fall.There should be some great crowds. That should help compensate forthe rain-soaked home menu of 2009 that shrank both the home andvisiting fan base.

North Pike, under the direction of Coach Chris Smith, has becomea rising power in Class 4A. The school has grown in leaps andbounds, plus the football team. The Jaguars reached the secondround of the playoffs last year.

Micah Davis, a redshirt junior quarterback from Wesson, enjoyedan outstanding spring for the Delta State University Statesmen. Hereceived rave reviews from DSU head coach Ron Roberts after theGreen & White spring game.

Davis was a 2-year starter at Co-Lin for his father, GlennDavis. There’s a wealth of football knowledge in that family. Micahalso earned special academic honors at DSU this year.

Delta State will debut Sept. 4, against Jackson State atMississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail