Thursday, August 10, 2006
Patriots, Hawks, Indians go to work
By BARRY BURLESON
Wade Griffin wants this edition of Marshall Academy football to begin establishing its identity Thursday night.
The Patriots will go to SBEC (Southern Baptist Educational Center) in Southaven for a scrimmage against both the Trojans and Fayette Academy, Tenn.
“We need to show that we are more physical and that we’ve gotten mentally tougher,” said Coach Griffin, entering his third season at MA.
“I know we’re ready to look at another color jersey, and that ought to help us get ready for the season.”
The Marshall varsity squad, 27 members strong, had its first practice August 1. The team has been hitting the field twice a day – 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“I like our big people up front, and I’m really pleased with the offensive backfield,” Griffin said. “Secondary and linebacker play are a plus.
“I think we’re getting better each time we’re on the field.
“I’m pleased with what I see up front (in the line), and I feel we will be able to run the football.”
He said the Patriots are behind a bit in the passing game.
“We’re not where we want to be there,” Griffin said.
He said his team has a positive attitude. No one, he said, is complaining, and “everything is on forward.”
“The conditioning level of the group is good,” Griffin said.
MA will participate in a jamboree Thursday, Aug. 17, at Lee (Ark.). Meet the Patriots Night is Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the stadium. The junior high jamboree is Thursday, Aug. 24, at Lee Academy in Clarksdale.
The varsity Patriots kick off their season Friday night, Aug. 25, at Tunica. The first home contest is the next week, September 1, versus North Delta.
Coach Clifford Brown split his Holly Springs Hawks into two teams, black and gold, for a scrimmage Friday night at Sam Coopwood Park.
“I think it went well,” Brown said. “This time last year we were struggling a bit, but this year we’re ahead of the game.
“The kids played hard and competed well.”
Brown believes his Class 3A Hawks are “buying into the system” in his second year at the helm.
“We’re ahead of the curve,” he said.
He was also pleased with the showing of some of the younger players.
“Our young kids showed up well during the scrimmage,” Brown said. “There will be a promising future beyond this year.”
The focus now turns to the Friday night, Aug. 25, opener at Class 4A Lafayette, a well-known powerhouse in the high school football ranks.
“The kids are excited,” he said. ‘Lafayette will be a big challenge but these kids relish the challenge. It can’t do anything but make us better.”
Brown hopes to line up a scrimmage game against another school before kicking things off against the Commodores.
“We want a scrimmage game so we can see what our starters will do,” he said. “We want to see if they pick up where they left off last spring (wins over Booneville and New Albany).”
The Hawks’ first home game is Friday, Sept. 1, versus Ripley.
First-year head coach Devin Rutherford said he found “some diamonds in the rough” during his first week of football practice at Byhalia High School.
“We picked up some kids once school started, and all of the kids are working hard,” he said. “We’re gearing up for the first game.”
The Indians host Lake County, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 25.
“They’re tough,” Rutherford said. “They an option team – well-coached and seasoned.
“They’re coming in with a lot of momentum based on last year’s game (a 41-6 Lake County win).”
Rutherford has seven seniors providing leadership.
“They’re doing a magnificent job; they’re doing all I ask them to do,” he said. “They’ve accepted and embraced the coaching transition.”
He said he hopes to land a scrimmage game against another school prior to the season opener.
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