Will Fridays game be Beesleys last at CHS?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &8212; The season was supposed to be one of going out his way, maybe getting a milestone win and hopefully getting into the playoffs.

Now with the last game of the season two days away, Cathedral head coach Ken Beesley Sr. isn&8217;t so sure. This season will go down in the books as one that featured very little going right, all but five minutes of the entire season hobbled in some way and one only three wins &8212; barring an upset Friday night.

When the Green Wave wraps up the season Friday night at home against Mercy Cross, Beesley may decide then whether or not to return in 2006. Or maybe by the end of the month.

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&8220;I&8217;ve been coaching something since 1970 but head football coach since 1978,&8221; said Beesley, now with 196 career wins. &8220;It&8217;s just getting, I don&8217;t know, just like anything else. Sometimes my energy level is not what it used to be. I&8217;d like to go out and finish on a good note and not necessarily on a number of wins.

&8220;If I felt I did as good a job as I thought I could do, I&8217;d be willing to step down. We&8217;ve had so many things go wrong this year. This might be a bad year to step down. I want to go out knowing we did everything we could possibly do.&8221;

Talk may have heated up this week over Beesley&8217;s status as head coach as much as it did back in August. Speculation then was he was likely entering his last season as head coach, but talk simmered as the season progressed.

For the first time in four years, the Green Wave (2-6, 3-6) don&8217;t have anything to play for Friday night and are behind the top four teams in Region 4-1A. The Wave made the playoffs each of the last two years and lost a final regular season game in 2002 that sunk its postseason hopes.

Beesley said he won&8217;t decide until after Thanksgiving.

&8220;I&8217;ve heard people talking about how this might be his last year,&8221; senior receiver Matthew Hall said. &8220;I don&8217;t think he should, to tell you the truth. I think in the long run he&8217;s not going to want to leave like this. I think he&8217;s going to go another two or three years and get the program headed in the right direction. But you never know.&8221;

The season has taken its toll on Beesley and everyone associated with the program. The Wave has spent much of the season lining up against bigger and more physical teams and haven&8217;t had much speed to counter the size differential.

Then there were the injuries. When fullback Daniel Hollowell hurt his ankle five minutes into the season opener against St. Al, little did anybody know that was the first of several injuries to come.

&8220;I just feel like we never were 100 percent this year,&8221; Beesley said. &8220;I feel like we could have done better than we did. With the injuries we had, it just hampered us. Our schedule now that we play is probably the toughest schedule since I&8217;ve been coaching. I really thought this was going to be (my last year). If we had a good year, it probably would have been.&8221;

The injuries have limited the Green Wave to a struggling offensive unit with Hollowell nursing a bad ankle, tailback Zack Calhoun done for the year, injuries on the offensive line that&8217;s caused changes week to week and a stretch during mid-season where quarterback Patrick McDonough was out with a broken bone in his hand.

And remember that promising freshman class? Preston Edwards is done with a hip pointer, Kole Junkin hasn&8217;t played since the third game and Daniel Jenkins missed three games midway and still isn&8217;t 100 percent.&8220;It really has been a tough year,&8221; Hall said. &8220;People want to say the injuries brought us down, and that messed us up a little bit, but we should have won some games in the middle of the season. Being a senior, it&8217;s tough this last week. Being the last game of the season, everybody is playing hard and giving what they&8217;ve got.&8221;

Hall said he&8217;s noticed everyone pick it up in practice this week in the final game for the senior group, and they will face a Mercy Cross team that may sit some of its starters with the No. 3 spot in region already locked up.

But don&8217;t think the Crusaders will come to D&8217;Evereux Stadium and just mail it in. They&8217;re ranked among the top 10 in the state in 1A &8212; one of three in the region &8212; and will use Friday&8217;s game as a tuneup.

&8220;Our opponent this week is a repeat of what we&8217;ve been having,&8221; Beesley said. &8220;They&8217;ve got 14 seniors and nine juniors. Eight or nine players go 230 or better. To be honest with you, every team we play is so much bigger and physical than we are. That&8217;s part of our problem.&8221;