Cathedral Middle makes it three straightPublished 12:01am Thursday, October 25, 2012
NATCHEZ — Another year of Cathedral Middle School football meant another undefeated for the young Green Wave squad — the team’s third-straight unblemished campaign.
The Green Wave followed up an 8-0 season in 2010 and a 7-0 season last year with another undefeated season — 6-0 — that ended with a victory over St. Aloysius Oct. 15.
“It is really impressive,” first-year head coach Jeff Roberts said. “Especially when you change kids every year, and some years you might have better athletes at the skill positions or a better line. It’s hard enough to do it in high school, but in middle school it’s impressive.”
Roberts credits varsity head coach Ron Rushing with much of the success the younger Wave teams have experienced.
“Ron has a system into place that places a lot of importance on the middle school,” he said. “We run some of the same plays, and this group of kids really bought into it and played better and harder than I expected them to. The effort was great with these kids.”
Learning that system as seventh and eighth graders will only help the middle school players in continuing their winning ways once they make the varsity squad.
“They already know what we put in place, and know the emphasis on what’s right on and off the field,” Roberts said. “By their junior and senior years, they will be able to take charge.”
Rushing said the future of the program looks bright with these younger players soon to come up and play as varsity players.
“They already know the system, and that’s an advantage,” Rushing said. “Winning is also contagious, and they are brining that winning attitude up.”
The middle school team had some good talent this year, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, Rushing said.
The Cathedral team really showed its metal in games against Bogue Chitto and Enterprise.
“I expected, and told them, that the Bogue Chitto game would be the toughest game of the year,” Roberts said. “And they responded and won 40-6, and Bogue Chitto had some pretty good athletes.”
The Green Wave defeated Enterprise 16-0 to record their first shut out of the season, and Roberts said he was impressed with just how physical the group of seventh and eighth graders played on both teams.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen hitting like that in a middle school game,” he said. “These kids played hard and hit people.”
One thing that set the Green Wave apart from most of their opponents was the ability to be balanced on offense.
“Offensively it was not just one dimensional,” he said. “That’s good in middle school to have a running game but be able to throw a pass.”
Cathedral had one game in which it threw for more than 300 yards.
As defensive coordinator of the varsity squad, Roberts emphasizes getting to the football and tackling, and he instilled those same principles into his younger players.
Roberts said he knows the undefeated season was special for his players, but it was special for him as their first-year head coach as well.
“I had a blast,” he said. “They will tell you that I punished them at times, but they are good kids that all practice hard and came to play.”
But the head coach is not resting on one undefeated year. He wants to keep the streak going and is ready to get back to work in the offseason, he said.
“We need to hit the weights a lot and get bigger and stronger,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting, because we expect to come out play as hard as they can and keep on rolling.”