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Football season nears as teams begin work

Fall camp is under way for our Mississippi prep teams, and Louisiana won’t be far behind.

Welcome to late summer, where coaches are trying to balance keeping their players hydrated and figuring out who’s going to start for their squads in the fall.

Football has become a year-round event, thanks to the mindset that, in order to win, you have to outwork everyone. Every chance a team gets to cram some kind of workout in, you can bet that team is going to take it.

When fall camp starts, the focus shifts from getting into playing shape to learning the offensive and defensive systems and plays the team is going to run. It’s also the time when coaches start to finally get an idea of which players are standing out compared to their competition.

When it comes to the local schools, it will be interesting to see how each one fares, since they all have challenges to overcome.

Adams County Christian School is dealing with the loss of a lot of veterans combined with realignment that has put them in the same district as MAIS powerhouses Trinity Episcopal and Brookhaven Academy.

As ACCS coach Hunter McKeivier begins his inaugural season at the helm, he will be navigating through the choppy waters of District 5-AA. Fortunately, the team’s core of seniors includes players such as Christopher Perry and Johnny Smith, who should provide excellent leadership as the younger players begin to fill in at other positions.

Cathedral School returns many of its players from last season’s 10-3 run, and after tasting that kind of success, the Green Wave will likely have their sights set on a state title.

The road will not be easy however, with defending Class 1A state champion Mount Olive in the same division. But remember, the Green Wave beat Mount Olive 22-21 last season — on the road. This year’s Cathedral squad should be interesting to follow.

Like ACCS, Natchez High School also lost a lot of experience, with more than 20 seniors graduating in the spring. With teams like Oak Grove and Meridian remaining in their division after realignment, this year’s schedule won’t do the Bulldogs any favors.

But with old faces leaving comes new faces stepping in, and the Bulldog coaching staff has said they’re excited to see players who have been backups step into the starting roles.

Trinity will be looking to win its third straight state title, and a move to Class AA will make things interesting. The Saints beat everything Double-A threw at them last year, but the seniors of that team are gone, and new leadership will have to step up.

But Trinity has no shortage of athletes, led by Vanderbilt commit and all-purpose back Tip McKenzie, who looks to get even more carries with Kent King and Givonni Dent now gone.

This fall looks to be a fun one to follow our local teams here in the Miss-Lou, and I’m definitely ready for some Friday night lights.

MICHAEL KEREKES is the sports editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or at michael.kerekes@natchezdemocrat.com.