Photo by Barry Burleson
Marshall Academy players start getting in shape during a practice Monday morning. MA’s season-opener is August 12 in Montgomery, Ala.
Photos by Barry Burleson
Marshall Academy receivers work on pass routes during the first practice of the preseason Monday morning.
Assistant coach Jason Taylor gives some instructions to MA offensive lineman Devarius Harris.
Patriots begin preparations for new season
Marshall Academy is the first county team to take to the practice field.
Coach Barrett Donahoe’s Patriots began drills for the season ahead at 7 a.m. Monday.
“We will go through our basic installation of fundamentals this week and start game preparations next week,” he said.
That’s because MA will kick off the season one week earlier than usual, playing in the Southeastern Commission of Independent Schools Kickoff Classic at Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday, Aug. 12.
“We’re excited about it,” Donahoe said about the school’s participation in the kickoff classic involving teams from four states. “But at the same time, it creates a sense of urgency with the coaching staff to start pushing and getting the guys ready.”
Donahoe expects about 25 to 30 players on the roster this season.
“I think we have a group of dedicated guys, and I like the work they are putting in (in the summer),” he said. “I like this group. We have a lot of unknowns. We have some guys who have to step into leadership roles on this football team.
“And of course, our confidence level is unknown. How good do they think they can be? We have to build that confidence level.”
The Patriots will face Brookwood School of Thomasville, Ga., at 5 p.m. April 12 in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
The rest of the Kickoff Classic schedule includes:
Friday, Aug. 11
• 2:30 p.m., Frederica Academy of St. Simons Island, Ga., vs. Parklane Academy of McComb.
• 5 p.m., Terrell Academy of Dawson, Ga., vs. Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School of Darlington, S.C..
• 7:30 p.m., Bessemer Academy of Bessemer, Ala., vs. Lamar School of Meridian.
Saturday, Aug. 12
• 2:30 p.m., Autauga Academy of Prattville, Ala., vs. Valwood School of Hahira, Ga.
• 7:30 p.m., Escambia Academy of Atmore, Ala., vs. First Baptist School of Charleston, S.C.
“Our participation in the Kickoff Classic has created a good buzz on campus and in our community,” Donahoe said. “It’s really a big thing for our school to be involved in this.
“No doubt, we are not only representing Marshall Academy but we are representing our association (the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools), and that’s huge. It’s very important for us to take that mentality to Montgomery and represent our association to the best of our ability.”
After the plus-four-hour-trip to Montgomery August 12, the Patriots will visit Lee Academy (Clarksdale) on August 18. The home opener is August 25 versus West Memphis Christian (Ark.).
The public schools in the county, H.W. Byers, Byhalia, Holly Springs and Potts Camp, will begin practice next week. Byers starts the season on Thursday, Aug. 17, at home versus Hickory Flat. Season openers on Friday, Aug. 18, are Byhalia at Holly Springs and Lee Academy (Ark.) at Potts Camp.