MAIS football teams kick off practice Thursday

Published 8:30 pm Sunday, July 28, 2013

Preseason high school football practice usually begins on a Monday. However, the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools is making an adjustment in 2013 and starting a week later. That means MAIS teams start practice Thursday, Aug. 1.

Defending Class AA state champion Brookhaven Academy, under the direction of Coach Tripp McCarty, will practice three times a day for the first three days of practice. Players are restricted to shorts, t-shirts and helmets. They may wear shoulder pads on the fourth and fifth days of practice.

McComb Parklane Academy, coached by Mike Powell, also starts practice Thursday, along with the Copiah Academy Colonels, who are coached by Scotty Cline. Players can wear full equipment after five practices.

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Brookhaven Academy, fresh from an 11-4 state championship season. Is mainly rebuilding at the skill positions on offense.

Graduated quarterback Gage Posey passed for over 3,000 yards and rushed for another 1,000. His primary targets, both 1,000-yard wide receivers Seth Rushing and Mathew Evans, also graduated.

“We are anxious to get started,” said McCarty, entering his fourth season at the helm. “We have a lot of work to do before the first game. We have a lot of projections and lot of potential.”

He expects to have 35 players competing for starting positions on the varsity.

Senior running back Landon Nettles and all-state offensive tackle Travis Thornhill lead the Cougars.

McCarty will take his Cougars to a scrimmage on Aug. 9 at Canton Academy, his alma mater. They’ll participate in the Copiah Jamboree Aug. 15.

BA’s first game is at Centreville Academy, Aug. 23.

Assisting McCarty with the coaching chores are Johnny Lane Ball, Andrew Hickman, David Gilbert, Chris McGraw and Caleb Dunaway.

Copiah Academy will practice at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., starting Thursday. Team picture day is Wednesday morning, July 31.

Cline, in his 10th year at the Gallman-based school, is starting his 8th as head coach. His 2005 squad won the Class AA state championship after finishing second the previous season.

Since promotion to Class AAA, the Colonels have had a difficult time matching up with larger opponents. They finished 1-10 last season, beating Hillcrest Christian in their homecoming game.

Cline believes his team will do better. They are led by junior quarterback Ryan Drew and senior linebacker Thomas Roberson.

The Colonels host Leake Academy Aug. 23 in their season opener. Joining them in the Aug. 15 jamboree are teams from Brookhaven Academy, Central Hinds, Trinity, ACCS, Columbia Academy and River Oaks. Action begins at 5 p.m.

Assisting Cline are Joey Hydrick, Chad Crowe, Stephen Cooksey and Mitchell Holloway.

There are 30 players on Copiah’s varsity squad.

Parklane Academy posted an 8-3 record under first-year head coach Mike Powell, just missing the Class AAA state playoffs.

Powell said he plans to practice twice a day at 7 and 10 a.m. He expects 40 players to report for practice. The Pioneers will host Centreville and Oak Forest in an Aug. 16 jamboree.

Senior quarterback Brady Lea and senior linebacker/tight end Dan Gill lead the Pioneers who lost eight staters to graduation..

Their first game of the season is Aug. 23, at Simpson County Academy.

Working as Parklane assistant coaches are Randy Martin, Wayne Rogers, Stacey Smith, Ken Callender and Robert Young.