SPORTS COLUMN: It’s never too early to start talking footballBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
Notes, quotes and a thought or two…
High school football is just around the corner. Jamborees are just under a month away and the season-opening games are just over a month away.
So it’s never too early to start talking about those opening games. So here we good, here’s my view of that opening week.
NCA at Winston Academy
Last year, Class AAA Winston beat the Generals 14-0 in Decatur. But head coach Mike Greenie is gone and the Patriots have hired long-time public school coach Pat Byrd to take over the program.
This was one of the few games the Patriots won last year and from what I hear, their numbers aren’t a lot better this year.
Meanwhile, the Generals bring back a solid group of players. Coach Rob Roberts is hoping a powerful running game will help his team wear down the Patriots. This could be one of the better games from the opening week of the season and is really a coin flip.
Madison St. Joseph at Newton
Last year, this game was forced to Madison Central on a Saturday and Newton destroyed the Bruins, scoring in every way you can imagine and some you can’t.
But Ryan Smith is gone and so are most of the playmakers that scored those touchdowns last year. The Tigers have a new coach in Zach Grady while the Bruins have a new coach in former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond.
Who knows what will happen in this contest. The Tigers still have some playmakers, mainly quarterback Tre Hillie. But who else steps up for the Tigers is yet to be seen.
And who knows about the Bruins? But if it was me, I would start preparing for the option. I have nothing to base that on other than the fact that Bond was one of the best of all time at it. Just saying.
Pelahatchie at Lake
Last year, the Hornets opened the season with what looked like a crushing 14-12 loss. But the Hornets rebounded under first-year coach Tate Hanna and went on to tie for first place in Division 4-2A.
But that was a team with a fragile ego coming off a one-win season. This year’s squad is a confident group with a ton of playing experience.
This has been a really close game the last two years but I really don’t expect that this year. Don’t be surprised if the Hornets put a pretty good whipping on the Chieftains this year.
Union at Choctaw Central
The Yellowjackets open the season with a seven-game losing streak, rare territory for veteran coach Brad Breland.
The good thing is Choctaw Central is a good tonic for any losing streak.
I really expect Union to come out and take care of business against Choctaw, who Breland said doesn’t have a coach yet. That’s just what the Yellowjackets need to snap that losing streak.
Leake Central at Newton County
Two new coaches will take on each other in their regular season debuts. Newton County is coming off one of its worst seasons ever but new coach Bobby Bass is trying to change all of that.
Bass has had an infusion of talent with several baseball players coming out for football. He’s had a couple of transfers like college prospect Lamar Morgan and his brother move in.
Newton County has had issues with Leake Central in the past and with two new coaches, who knows what could happen here.
But here’s what I do know. This game is huge for Bass and the Cougars. A win here could be the fuel the Cougars need for a turnaround season. Bass has said the Cougars need something positive to happen early and I couldn’t agree more.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal. You can e-mail him at email@example.com