Johnny

Bold predictions for Miss-Lou football season

Published 12:02am Sunday, August 17, 2014

Making bold high school football predictions for the Miss-Lou area feels like I’m suiting up in full pads again.

As weird as it may sound, predictions in sports are a lot like Johnny Manziel’s off-the-field priorities when he was at Texas A&M. Sure, partying with celebrities and staying out all night is fun, but being the reigning Heisman trophy winner, those decisions are ill advised. Predictions, like partying as an established player, may rub fans the wrong way.

Lucky for me, I’m just a sports writer, so the repercussions I’ll face aren’t quite as drastic. Going out on a limb in a column doesn’t attract the same criticism Johnny Football faced, although I’m sure a few phone calls from passionate fans may follow.

That’s fair. After all, I’m practically asking for it by predicting which team in the area will have the best record and which team will pull off the upset of the year in the Miss-Lou.

The varsity team that has the best regular season record in 2014 in the Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday area will be the Cathedral Green Wave.

Pump the brakes with your arguments. Hear this one out. Sure, Adams County Christian School has the ingredients to generate success with skill players like Trey Fleming, Parker Rymer, Lester Wells and Torrey Smith retaining their positions. Not to mention, David King’s Rebels have a returning starting quarterback in Tyler Stockstill, something Cathedral, Trinity, Natchez (Sidney Davis excluded) and Vidalia don’t have. However, ACCS’ question marks left on the offensive line and on the defensive line, combined with a schedule that lines ACCS up with River Oaks and Centreville Academy in the first three weeks of the season, have me reluctant to pick the Rebels.

Trinity has athletes but question marks, especially at quarterback with Kevontaye Caston’s limited experience at the position. Caston is talented, but raw, as anyone would be in the early goings.

A sleeper to look out for is Ferriday. The Trojans’ season will depend on Ferriday’s ability to protect Ronald Williams in the pocket and open up running lanes for Dontrell Domino.

Cathedral gets the nod for its offensive line and for its one-two punch at wide receiver and at running back. I pity the linebacker who takes a pounding from Christian Jenkins followed by a heavy dose of Dee Fleming. And if you’re thinking of concentrating on that physical run game, need I remind you this is a Ron Rushing offense? He has two tall, athletic receivers in Jardarius Anderson and R.J. Givens on the outside to force safety help. Physical play and athleticism have me leaning toward a surprise prediction. Put me down for nine regular season wins for the Green Wave. Sorry for the added pressure, Ron.

So then, that brings us to the main event — the upset of 2014. Call me crazy, but I’m picking Ferriday over Natchez.

Natchez head coach Melvin Pete told me recently that his experience of becoming the Bulldogs’ coach on such a short-limited amount of time is similar to coaching an all-star game. He has athletes, sure, but can he line them up correctly in such a short span of time? There’s a task that would prove difficult for any coach.

If Ferriday is going to make the upset happen, it has to be this season when Natchez is still trying to establish its identity. Ferriday has theirs. In fact, they have multiple identities, with Williams being a pocket passer and Shannon Morales representing a mobile passer. Ferriday’s athletes have the right attitude, as well. It reflects their coach, Cleothis Cummings, who picked on Morales when he tripped on a dummy at practice earlier this week,

“Aw, I’m going to name that one Natchez,” said Cummings at Ferriday’s second day of shoulder pads and helmets. “Natchez is killing y’all, man.”

Natchez versus Ferriday has provided some fine Friday night drama in recent years. I say 2014 gives us our most dramatic moment of this fun series.

Does that sound the preseason alarms in a Manziel-like fashion?

 

JAKE MARTIN is a sports writer for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or jake.martin@natchezdemocrat.com.