Despite loss Trojans still end up ‘winners’

Published 12:47 am Monday, March 10, 2008

By Jeff Edwards

The Natchez Democrat

FERRIDAY — It was a long season for the Ferriday Trojans, and one that ended up one win short of the ultimate goal, but when coach K.G. Watkins looks back, he still takes pride in what his team was able to accomplish.

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The Trojans might have fallen to St. Thomas Aquinas 61-52 in the Class 2A championship game Saturday night, but they still finished the season with a 28-8 record that included a 22-game winning streak from Dec. 15 all the way through the title match on March 8.

The Trojans began the season just 6-7 while they were waiting on football players to join the team following the Trojans pigskin season wrapping up in the second round of the playoffs, but once the football players arrived and got in basketball shape, it was no looking back for the Trojans.

“The season started out pretty rough with us missing some key players for about 13 or 14 games,” Watkins said. “The majority of our starters weren’t even at practice. Once we got them back, we quickly tried to get them conditioned to play basketball.”

And once the team gelled together, they went on a magical run that didn’t end until the state championship game.

“Once we started winning, the question was could we keep it going,” Watkins said. “It was an experience like I’ve never had before. I’ve never gone two months without experiencing a loss.”

And that winning streak didn’t come without a lot of hard work, Watkins said.

“I took a lot of sacrifices by everyone to maintain the level of success we were shooting for,” he said. “There were a lot of Saturday morning and weekend practices. To end the season with a loss after going so long without losing was pretty devastating.”

However, the loss didn’t take away from the fact that it was Ferriday’s first trip back to the state title game since the second of their back-to-back titles in 1989.

“I’m just so proud of the entire team,” Watkins said. “Not just the guys that started, but everyone. If not for the other nine players on the team pushing the starters in practice, we never would have realized our goals.

“We may not have won the (championship) game. But we’re not losers. How many 2A programs would have loved to be in our position on Saturday? That says a lot about Ferriday.”