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Rushing named 2010 All-Metro Coach of the Year

NATCHEZ — Cathedral head football coach Ron Rushing doesn’t want to take all the credit for the Green Wave’s outstanding 2010 season. He is much more comfortable deferring it to his assistant coaches and players.

But Rushing, in his first year as head coach, deserves much of the credit for guiding the Green Wave to their best season in 13 years. And that’s why he was named The Natchez Democrat’s 2010 All-Metro Coach of the Year.

“I think of this as a whole staff award,” Rushing said of the honor. “I have a great group of guys that work with me who work hard.”

Cathedral ,which finished with a 4-7 record in 2009, improved to a 10-3 record this season and won its first region championship since 1997. Cathedral also hosted and won a playoff game for the first time since that same season, when they defeated Noxapater 21-14 in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.

But the highlight of the season was Cathedral’s 22-21 victory over Mount Olive. The Green Wave scored a touchdown and converted a 2-point conversion with no time left on the clock to pull out the huge victory.

The win became even sweeter when Mount Olive went on to win the Class 1A state championship two months later.

“I’ve watched that game about once a month,” Rushing said. “Everything happened just right at the end of the game. And when we got back there were a couple hundred people at the school with the lights on. That’s something the kids will never forget, and I know I won’t.”

Rushing’s first season coaching Cathedral was the first time in a generation a Beesley didn’t roam the Green Wave sideline as head coach. Ken Beesley coached the team from the late 1970s to 2006, and his son Craig coached from 2007-2009.

Rushing credited that consistency to his success that season.

“Taking over for Craig and his dad, everything was already there,” Rushing said. “I definitely came into a good situation. The kids worked hard, and the discipline and work ethic was there already.”

Rushing said the biggest reason for the team’s success this year happened before the season even started.

“I really think the two-a-day (practices) helped tremendously,” Rushing said. “The kids were excited since day one and worked hard every day.”

Rushing also credited the support the team had as a big reason for the success. The team played in front of large and boisterous crowds all year, even in road games.

“Usually most of the away games we had more people than (the home team) did,” Rushing said. “We really enjoyed a lot of support from the school and community.”

And that helped lead to the Green Wave accomplishing their goals this season, even though the season ended earlier than Rushing wanted it to with a 27-16 loss to Dexter in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

“I don’t know if I’m over that last loss yet,” Rushing said. “I’m one of the most competitive people there is. We definitely accomplished a lot of goals we had.”

And with just about all of Cathedral’s starters coming back next season, the excitement is running high for next season.

“I’m excited about it already,” Rushing said. “We’ve got a lot of kids coming back and they’re excited. The expectations will definitely be higher next year, and we’re ready to get started.”

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