Plenty to look forward heading into 2014

Published 12:01am Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maybe I’m just getting old, but the years appear to be flying by the more God blesses me with time on this planet.

It’s probably because we’ve had so much happen locally in the world of sports in 2013, but this year never seemed to slow down, even during the summer months, when high school and college ball shuts down.

To bring in the New Year, Wednesday’s edition will feature a look back at some of the top sports stories from the past 12 months. And the coming year looks to be busy already, with several potential stories likely to develop over the first few months of 2014.

Here are five things to look for as we head into next year, in no particular order:

4The Natchez High School boys and girls basketball teams finished their non-divisional schedule undefeated, and both teams opened their divisional schedule with wins against Pearl River Central Dec. 20.

We’ll be watching the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs to see if they can maintain the positive momentum through the rest of their divisional schedule and into the postseason. As of now, both teams have positioned themselves to give NHS hoops fans plenty to cheer about going forward.

4The Trinity Episcopal Day School boys basketball team, the Cathedral High School girls basketball team and the Adams County Christian School girls basketball teams have also gotten off to good starts this season.

The Trinity boys, in particular, bear watching, as many of their players are fresh off an MAIS Class A title in football. Last year’s Saints team made it to the South State quarterfinals in Class AA, and these Saints are a year older and more experienced.

4Who will Vidalia High School hire as its new football coach? The Vikings haven’t had a winning season since 2004, and in the last year, several top players transferred to private schools.

Vidalia desperately needs to hit a home run on this next hire, which should be announced by the end of January. If not, the bleeding will continue, as more football players — some who also play basketball and/or baseball — will keep heading for greener pastures.

4What will happen to former Trinity Episcopal head football coach Josh Loy? Loy led the Saints to an undefeated season in 2013 and a state title, but allegations of a hazing incident involving football players led to the school terminating Loy.

It was never made clear by either Loy or the school what exactly Loy was being accused of in relation to the incident. What is clear, though, is Loy is a good enough football coach that someone will likely give him a second chance to lead a team. Whether it’s a local school or one outside the area remains to be seen.

4The outcome of this won’t be known until much later in the school year, but it bears watching as to whether or not the state takes over the Natchez-Adams School District.

In the case of athletics, I’ve been told if the state takes over, NHS teams’ schedules will be reduced to divisional games only. That would be a huge blow to the sports programs, as non-divisional games are meant to prepare you for the grind of a district schedule. Losing those games would put NHS teams at a competitive disadvantage.

The final outcome of a potential state takeover won’t be known until the second half of 2014, but it’s a big enough story to begin thinking and talking about.