Fielder's Choice

Making it through the season

John Danley, head football coach, told me more than once this football season ­ "It just doesn't feel right."

I typically talk to Coach Danley and every head football coach in Marshall County on Saturday mornings, after their games on Friday nights.

Of course, Coach Danley was talking about high school football and all the guidelines that went along with it this year due to COVID-19.

The Indians missed a pair of regular season games to Memphis-area schools due to the pandemic.

And he was talking about the overall lack of a high school football atmosphere due to attendance restrictions and other guidelines.

Plus, high school teams missed spring practices and spring games (in March and April) and the normal schedule for summer workouts.

But through it all, his Byhalia squad managed to come on strong late in the regular season, defeat a couple of district opponents and make the playoffs.

And the missed games were pretty common around the county.

H.W. Byers did not play its last four scheduled contests and because of that missed a shot at the playoffs.

But as coach Chris Daniels and all the other coaches said, "Safety of our players always comes first."

I was in attendance back on October 9 when the Lions beat Falkner. Little did I know that would be their last game of the 2020 football season.

Potts Camp had to cancel a late-season game versus East Union.

Holly Springs had to cancel its last game of the season against North Panola.

The only school that did not miss a scheduled game was Marshall Academy, which made its 14th straight playoff appearance.

One thing all of these coaches will most likely tell you is they are just happy the high school athletes had the opportunity to play football at all this season.

For that reason, if for no other, the coaches and the players deserve our congratulations. In these challenging and difficult times, they went out and did their best ­ competing at a high level.

This was my 19th season of covering high school football in Marshall County. It was my 36th season, as a whole, of covering high school football.

There's nothing I enjoy more than being on the sideline. And this year, more than ever, I got input from the players on the sideline ­ thanking me for coming and covering their games.

They, too, realized that it wasn't the easiest of seasons ­ for everyone.

In the meantime, one of Marshall County's neighboring schools, Ashland, is making history. The Blue Devils are in the state playoffs for the first time ever. They will visit Tupelo Christian this Friday night, and I hope to be on the sideline. The Devils, too, experienced cancellations ­ three to be exact. Yet they kept on working hard and they're reaping the rewards.

I want to, as I always try to do through this personal column, thank the coaches for always responding to my phone calls and text messages.

And most of all, I appreciate your friendships.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388
www.southreporter.com

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