Coaches alter practice plans following severe local weather

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cathedral High School's Devereaux Stadium is drenched after a severe thunderstorm. The local weather caused most of the area schools to cancel practice Monday. (Ben Hilyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral High School’s Devereaux Stadium is drenched after a severe thunderstorm. The local weather caused most of the area schools to cancel practice Monday. (Ben Hilyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Following severe thunderstorms throughout the area Monday, local coaches were forced to spend the day rearranging their weekly plans.

Only one school was able to beat the rain and get a full practice in after a possible tornado threat hit the Miss-Lou Monday afternoon, and that was Cleothis Cummings’ Trojans.

Because Ferriday High School was out of school for Columbus Day, the Trojans got a practice in before the bad weather hit. Every other school missed practice, which set some schools back more than others.

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First-year head coach Melvin Pete said he needs all the interaction he can get with a club he joined in late July.

“Things have to get accomplished daily, and without that preparation, it hurts,” the Natchez High head coach said. “If I was here for a few years, it wouldn’t hurt as bad. But the truth is, where we’re at, we still could put some plays in, and we need all of the reps we can get.”

Pete’s 4-3 Bulldogs will host a Laurel squad that is 5-2 with losses to Hattiesburg and Pearl River Central.

Pete is hopeful his team has enough experience and maturity to overcome the unexpected three days off.

Meanwhile, Cathedral High School had to cancel Monday’s practice before a battle against a fellow undefeated Oak Forest team.

“They’re a big, physical team, probably the most physical bunch we’ll play this year,” said Cathedral head coach Rushing describing the MAIS AAA club. “They run it out of the spread, but it’s smash-mouth football. They’re looking to put you on the ground. They’re real strong.”

Rushing said losing Monday doesn’t worry him yet, as he plans on compensating for the lost time by running a full practice Thursday, rather than a usual walkthrough.

Trinity is facing a different situation than any other team. Faced with a bye week, head coach Zach Rogel planned on getting his team’s “batteries recharged” anyway, so the missed practice time won’t doom the 5-3 Saints.

Missing an extra day of conditioning gives Rogel a few worries, though. Judging off of his team’s past performances, the missed sprints could prove to be a factor down the road.

“When a kid misses a day, you can easily tell that their conditioning is messed up,” Rogel said. “You just have to work twice as hard the next day.”

Across the river, Vidalia head coach Jeff Hancock said he planned on doing more of a walkthrough on Monday anyway, but what hurt him was cancelling a junior varsity game against Franklin Parish.

“Nothing can replace actually competing in a game,” Hancock said. “A lot of these guys who play in these games are playing for us on Friday, too. We need to get each guy as much experience as we can, but of course, we can’t control the weather.”

Hancock’s 0-6 club will play at Marksville Friday, who is 4-2 on the season.

Because of Mother Nature, Natchez, Cathedral and Vidalia will have to play against winning clubs on a short week of preparation.

Adams County Christian School, who is coming off of its seventh win of the season, will play a 3-5 Central Hinds Academy without getting in any reps Monday.