Saints, Rebels wont play in football

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The crosstown showdown between Adams Christian and Trinity is no more.

For this fall, at least.

The 2006 football schedule released Tuesday by the MPSA did not include a matchup between the two Natchez schools, ending a three-year span where the two teams met in football each season.

Email newsletter signup

Officials with the MPSA make out the schedule but allow schools to request non-district games in order of importance. Coaches at Trinity Episcopal requested the Adams Christian game and were under the impression the game would happen the first game of the season.

Adams Christian didn&8217;t make the request.

&8220;AC was first on our list,&8221; Trinity assistant Matt Mason said. &8220;We made a couple of calls to friends of ours on the committee. It&8217;s obvious to us that AC didn&8217;t want this football game to happen. We made every effort we could make to make a go of this, but for some reason or another they didn&8217;t want to play us.

&8220;It makes us travel to Meridian and Flora to play a non-conference game when we&8217;ve got somebody two miles down the road that will bring a big gate.&8221;

Adams Christian did not request Trinity but instead requested Amite School Center and Parklane, headmaster John R. Gray said. The Trinity game, school officials believed, was already in the schedule and didn&8217;t need to be formally requested.

The Parklane game had to be requested since ACCS agreed to play at the McComb school the next two seasons as the result of last year&8217;s cancelled game after Hurricane Katrina.

&8220;We were under the impression that we were going to play (Trinity),&8221; said AC assistant coach Rusty McPhate, who handled most of the scheduling affairs. &8220;I have called other coaches and tried to get some games since we lost a lot this year. I was trying to get some games with other teams in double-A that would be our caliber. I fully expected Trinity to be our schedule, and I wish we were playing.&8221;

The decision will end the series that school officials from both sides agreed to resume after being disbanded for five years. But it&8217;s also the latest in scheduling differences between the two schools after not playing in basketball this past season.

In the schedules faxed out before the season, Trinity had a date with Adams Christian on its schedule. Adams Christian&8217;s schedule did not have Trinity. The two agreed to play Jan. 30, but the date fell on district tournament week and the games didn&8217;t happen.

Adams Christian has won each of the three meetings in football &8212; 15-12 in a jamboree in 2003, 33-24 in 2004 and 30-20 in 2005.

&8220;I think it&8217;s a disappointment any time you don&8217;t have a crosstown rival playing each other,&8221; Trinity booster club president Fred Middleton said. &8220;I remember back in the days when I was at South Natchez and the North Natchez-South Natchez game was such a big rival. The community got up for it. I think the AC-Trinity game is a lot like that. Trinity is just disappointed not to have to play them again.&8221;

The game, Mason said, was supposed to be the first week of the season. Instead, Adams Christian will open up at home against Centreville Academy while the Saints will travel to Newton County Academy.

Adams Christian&8217;s longest road trips will be games scheduled in District 3-AA and will have Tensas Academy, WCCA, Oak Forest and Brookhaven in non-district. The Saints, who will be back in Class A, have an open date Sept. 29 and travel to Tri-County Oct. 13.

&8220;We think we&8217;ll be rebuilding ourselves, and we weren&8217;t crazy about playing any of those good teams,&8221; Gray said. &8220;We knew we had to play Parklane. I don&8217;t know who all requested us. I imagine 30 or 40 requested us. I think the biggest loss will be the financial one for both of us. Headaches for us from parents will be easier.&8221;

Gray noted there&8217;s still a chance for the two teams to meet in the jamboree, although head coach Bobby Marks may not play a jamboree at all after the Rebels lost two players to injuries in it last season.

The 2006 football schedule is a one-year thing as MPSA officials want to make their realignments concur with the MHSAA. McPhate said the two schools will try to work out a junior high game this week between the two. But without the varsity football game, you&8217;re talking a gate that produces $6,000-$7,000 in revenue, Middleton said.

&8220;All those friendships are so strong between kids at Trinity, AC and Huntington,&8221; Middleton said. &8220;At the end of the day, to them, it&8217;s still a game. If they lose, they congratulate the winner and move on to the next sport. Sometimes, as adults, we try to make it more than it is.&8221;