2013 was a good year for private schools

Published 12:05am Sunday, November 17, 2013

Going back to late summer, at least a few Natchez High School players said to me how excited they were about moving down to MHSAA Class 5A.

If you’re a fan of local private schools, the fall football season was good to you.

Two local teams, Trinity Episcopal Day School and Centreville Academy, will be competing in their classifications’ respective state title games. Two more teams, Adams County Christian School and Wilkinson County Christian Academy, made the postseason.

In ACCS’s case, the Rebels’ postseason performance was a long time coming — 31 years to be exact. The team had not won a playoff game since 1982 prior to its first-round victory against Central Hinds Academy Nov. 1.

Though the Rebels did make the playoffs in 2010, they lost in the opening round to Brookhaven Academy, 52-28. Any freshmen on that Rebels team were seniors this season, and no doubt they wanted to go out with a better postseason performance than they did three years ago.

Unfortunately for ACCS, its bid for a state title game berth ended in a 30-21 loss to Glenbrook School in round two of the playoffs. While it was a disappointing finish for the Rebels, the progress the team showed from year one to year two under head coach David King was tremendous. Even if you figured King would have them winning eventually, it’s always nice to see it happening sooner rather than later, if you’re an ACCS fan.

WCCA was more a victim of its non-conference schedule than anything. The Rams lost 10 seniors last year’s team, which made it to the MAIS Class A title game, and didn’t quite have the firepower from the year before. But after winning just one non-conference game, the Rams went 2-1 in district play, with their only loss being to Trinity.

In the playoffs, WCCA lost to a strong Cenla Christian Academy team that had also beaten the Rams in their last regular-season game. Put simply, the Rams didn’t have the athletes to hang with the likes of Cenla or Trinity this fall, but except for a brutal non-conference schedule, their overall record would have probably looked a lot better.

Losing quarterback Casey Haygood would have been a convenient excuse for Centreville to drop its state semifinal game against Glenbrook School Friday. Instead, the Tigers made no excuses, relying on a strong running game from John McDowell and Tyler Caston to steamroll past Glenbrook, 55-12.

The Tigers ended the game with 426 rushing yards, and they’ll need another strong performance if they want to take down No. 1 seed Simpson Academy in Friday’s title game. Tigers head coach Bill Hurst — Mississippi’s winningest high school football coach — has been here before, though. A win for him would even further cement an already impressive legacy.

Finally, there’s Trinity, which has met little resistance so far in its quest for a state title. The senior-laden Saints are one win away from a perfect season, and they’ve made a habit of blowing teams out on offense and stifling teams on defense.

Trinity has one final test against a 12-1 Marshall Academy squad. If they win, you would have to rank this Saints squad amongst one of the best in school history. And how interesting a matchup would it be if this year’s team went against the undefeated Saints from 2010?

Trinity and Centreville have the chance to do in football what they did in baseball in 2011 — both win state championships. Best of luck to them both.