BA alum Gage Posey has Canton Academy playing for MAIS title Thursday

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2021

It probably feels like you were just watching Gage Posey on the fields and courts used by Brookhaven Academy athletics.

A 2013 graduate of BA, Posey played it all and did so very well while matriculating through school.

As a senior, Posey led the Cougars to a football state championship in 2012 with a 49-40 win over Marshal Academy.

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Fast-forward to 2021and Posey is again preparing for a championship game, but this time he’ll wear a headset instead of a helmet.

A first-year head coach at Canton Academy, Posey and his Panthers (10-2) will play for the 2021 MAIS 3A state championship Thursday at 7 p.m. on the campus of Jackson Academy.

Posey played baseball at Hinds Community College before finishing his academic career at Mississippi State University.

The plan after that was medical school, but Posey called an audible after starting school at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

The 2012 BA championship team was led by then second year head coach Tripp McCarty and the bond between coach and quarterback only grew over the years after Posey graduated.

McCarty left BA for Pillow Academy in Greenwood following the 2013 season. Prior to the 2020 season, McCarty brought Posey on at Pillow as an assistant coach.

The PA Mustangs went 8-5 last season before McCarty stepped away from coaching to pursue a job in school administration.

After McCarty was hired to become head-of-school at Canton Academy, he called and offered his young understudy the chance to become a head coach in just his second season of coaching.

What was Posey’s reply?

“I jumped on it,” said Posey. “Coach McCarty built a great, experienced staff that have been really awesome to work with. Having him as the headmaster made taking this job a very easy decision.”

In their opening game of the season, Canton came back to get a 19-16 win at Sylva-Bay Academy. Posey saw his team come together in belief for their new coaches that night.

“That was one of the best things that could have happened to us,” said Posey. “It really brought our kids together and we’ve had a very tight group all season that play for each other.”

The only losses this season for the Panthers were a 36-24 defeat to Winston Academy and a 40-0 loss to Tri-County (a team also playing for a state title this week).

In the first round of the MAIS 3A playoffs, Canton Academy matchup up again with Sylva-Bay and won 40-28. Last week the Panthers punched a ticket to the title game with a 35-18 win last week at Centreville Academy.

The payoff for Posey’s team now is meeting one of the most dominating high school football teams in recent state history.

The Greenville Christian Saints would be favorites for an MAIS state championship this season even at the 6A level.

The Saints (11-1) put the state on notice when they beat 6A defending champion MRA 64-32 in the season opener. GCA also has a 48-13 win over Jackson Prep and a 30-9 victory against Jackson Academy.

The only loss of the season for the Saints was a 37-22 defeat at Collins Hill High, a school with over 3,000-student located in Suwanee, Georgia.

Greenville Christian played perennial MHSAA 6A contender Oak Grove on the road and won 48-41 in wild, back-and-forth game. The only other loss this season for Oak Grove this season was a 24-17 setback to Brandon High and the Warriors are playing in the 6A quarterfinals on Friday.

The Saints are defending champs after also winning the 3A title in 2020.

The most important thing for Canton is to know that they can win the game, even against a team as talented as GCA.

“If they don’t believe they can win, then what’s the point of even getting on the bus,” asked Posey. “We’re telling our guys that this isn’t a situation where we’ve “got to” play Greenville but it’s a case where we “get to” play a very talented team and show what we can do.”

GCA quarterback DJ Smith. keys a ridiculously dynamic offense for head coach Jon Reed McLendon. Smith has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns to a deep group of receivers while also running for another 700 yards and 10 scores.

6-foot-3, 210-pound senior receiver Chris Bell has caught 34 passes for 13 touchdowns. Bell was committed to Southern Miss now appears to be leaning more towards Mississippi State as early signing day approaches.

“We’re going to have to pound the ball and pick up first downs and do everything we can to run the ball and try to lessen their possessions,” said Posey.

Senior running back Marcus Goodloe is the feature back for Canton Academy and will be a big part of Canton’s plan to pick up first downs and hopefully keep the clock running.

Before Posey played for McCarty at BA, he suited up as a freshman and sophomore for then Cougar head coach and current MRA leader Herbert Davis. Davis and his Patriots play Saturday night against Hartfield Academy in the 6A title game.

In basketball he took the court for Dale Watts and while playing baseball at BA, Posey was coached by Casey Edwards.

All have been big influences on the young coach.

“When you get on a kid hard for his mistakes, but you’ve become close enough to them so that when they do mess up, you can see that their greatest feeling is disappointment — that’s when you know they’re bought in” said Posey. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that fit that mold this season and they’re why we’re playing for a state title this week.”