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Much goes into being tops in Metro

Most athletes will say they don’t worry as much about individual accolades during the season.

When winning games and trying to maintain a team-first concept is the focus, concerns about tallying 1,000 yards or being selected for the All-Star game takes a bit of a backburner.

It’s hard to think, however, that athletes don’t keep those thoughts in the back of their minds. If someone has a chance to be nominated for any kind postseason award, the competitive character of athletes will usually try to rise to the challenge. More often than not, that’s not an athlete being selfish, it’s just challenging his or herself to be the best.

Every year, after the final game of each season has been played, our sports staff at The Natchez Democrat begins taking nominations for All-Metro teams. Whether it’s football, boys and girls basketball, baseball or softball, All-Metro gives us a chance to highlight our local athletes by having them “compete” against one another.

This coming Friday, the selections for All-Metro football will be released, which will include a player of the year, a coach of the year and first-, second- and third-team squads, along with honorable mentions.

Much thought is put into who is selected as players and coaches of the year. In the case of the coach, the goal is to highlight an area coach that helped lead his team to having a special season. Most of the time, those coaches will credit their players, assistant and supporting staff for a job well done, but it also allows readers to get a feel for how special a strong run was for that coach.

More often than not, one coach tends to stand out above the rest when it comes to All-Metro. With player of the year, though, things get a little more tricky.

It’s not uncommon for several outstanding players from our area to stick out when the season statistics are added up. Determining who receives the ultimate accolade boils down to so many different factors.

Do the stats for this player blow you away? Was he or she nominated as All-Region, All-District or even All-State? Did a player have significant contributions on both sides of the ball, rather than just offense or defense? Were they selected to play in any All-Star games? How much worse would the team have been if you remove this player? And, of course, do they pass the eye test when watching them play in person?

Those are just several thoughts that go into the selection process for All-Metro player of the year. Once a player is selected, the first- and second-team squads are rounded out, along with honorable mentions. Depending on the sport — football is one example — a third team is also configured.

Whether it’s bragging rights for the players, scrapbooking opportunities for the parents or conversation generators at school and work, locals always look forward to All-Metro teams being published. Be sure to check Friday’s edition to see which local prep football standouts made the cut.



Michael Kerekes is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or michael.kerekes@natchezdemocrat.com.