Photos by Barry BurlesonWyle McMillen hands off to Drayton Potts during an MA spring practice.
Anthony Mayfield makes a catch.
Photo by Barry BurlesonEverette Jones catches a pass during a Marshall Academy spring practice in May. The Patriots kick off a new football season in just two months, Friday, Aug. 17.
Patriots work on installing new offense
Coach Barrett Donahoe got a brief look at his next Marshall Academy team during spring football drills.
The Patriots practiced five days just prior to the end of the school year.
“It was all about evaluating our personnel – who we have where, at what positions,” he said. “The players had positive attitudes and worked hard.”
The Patriots went 10-3 in 2017, losing in the second round of the Class AA playoffs. It was MA’s 11th straight trip to the post-season.
Marshall also won its fifth straight district title last season.
“We have a chance to continue our streak of district championships,” Donahoe said. “We have the players and the ability to do that.
“But, our conference will be a lot more competitive this season from top to bottom. There is no wiggle room.”
He said both Central Holmes and Carroll will be much improved, and once again, Oak Hill and Winona Christian will field very good football teams.
“The competition is tough,” Donahoe said.
The Patriots will be installing new offensive formations.
“There will be some different things the players will have to understand, new terminology, to run the new offense,” Donahoe said. “We will adapt the offense to go with the skill set we have offensively. I feel good about it. We got a good start on that in the spring.”
Twenty-one varsity players participated in spring practice, plus some junior high Patriots.
Donahoe hopes to improve the number to between 24 and 30 when pre-season practice begins in July.
“That way, we can have good, effective practices,” he said. “We can do more – be more diverse in the things we do at practice. I’m excited about the possibility of maybe getting more kids out on the football field before then.”
As of June 4, MA players are in the weight room Monday through Thursday mornings for a couple of hours, and this summer they will also be competing in seven-on-seven.
“Our goal, as always, is to win the conference and see where that takes us,” Donahoe said.
“We will start conference play week five and by that time, we had better be the best football team we can possibly be.”
The Patriots kick off the season August 17 at home versus Lee Academy from Clarksdale. Three other non-conference games follow – West Memphis Christian (Ark.), Falkner and Kirk Academy.
The first district foe September 14 is Central Holmes on the road.
The final five opponents of the regular season are Winona Christian, Magnolia Heights, Carroll, North Delta School and Oak Hill.