Cathedral’s Coach Chuck Darbonne is 2020 Natchez Democrat All Metro Football Coach of Year

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

NATCHEZ — After much consideration, Cathedral head football coach Chuck Darbonne has been named the 2020 Natchez Democrat All-Metro Football Coach of the Year.

Adams County Christian School head coach David King was the first pick for this honor, but he gracefully declined, saying that younger coaches in the area are more deserving.

When Darbonne found out he was named Coach of the Year, he said, “It’s big time. I had no idea that was coming. Early Christmas present.”

And when he found out that King graciously declined the accolade, Darbonne said, “Typical David King. Love it. I’ll have to call and tell him I appreciate it. He did have a great year as well.”

The Cathedral High School Green Wave went 10-2 overall and advanced to the second round of the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools Class 4A Playoffs. Its only loss of the regular season was to eventual back-to-back MAIS District 4-4A and Class 4A state champion Riverfield Academy 37-8.

“It was a, from a coaching standpoint, minute-to-minute change. The positive part was we had a great group of kids. They did anything and everything we asked them to do,” Darbonne said when asked to best describe the Green Wave’s season. “Whatever the plan was, they were ready for it and we moved each day.”

Darbonne said the biggest accomplishment of the 2020 season was being able to play week to week, even with having to change opponents for various reasons. And that happened right from the get-go.

“Playing the games we had without cancellations on our side or their side during the regular season,” he added.

Darbonne initially said the biggest win on the field during the season was over district rival Brookhaven Academy, but he quickly changed it to Wayne Academy — and, perhaps, for a good reason.

“Being they were the runner-up in Class 4A (in 2020). We played them the first week of the season. I think they were a replacement for another team which dropped off. To play them back-to-back games from one season to the next, it was a proving ground,” Darbonne said.

The Green Wave traveled across the state to Waynesboro and decisively defeated the Jaguars 34-14 on Aug. 14.

“It set the tone for the rest of the season what kind of team we could be,” Darbonne said. “Three new games replaced Bowling Green, River Oaks, and Madison St. Joe.”

The game against Bowling Green, which had to deal with COVID-19 issues, was actually canceled. Madison St. Joseph, which is a member of the MHSAA and therefore had to wait to start its season, was replaced by Central Hinds Academy on Aug. 21. River Oaks dropped out of the MAIS and joined the LHSAA and was replaced by Glenbrook School.

The Green Wave entered the Class 4A Playoffs as the No. 5 seed and took care of No. 12 seed and district opponent Hillcrest Christian School 55-26 in the first round. But it was the next game that Darbonne said was the toughest loss of the season — not being able to travel to Louisville to take on No. 4 seed Winston Academy in the second round on Nov. 6 due to a COVID-19 outbreak that hit much of Cathedral School early that week, resulting in a forfeit loss (18-0) and the end of the season.

“We were 10-1. It’s hard for me to talk about it. Because it ended the season,” Darbonne said.

Even though the 2020 season didn’t end the way Darbonne wanted it to, he said there weren’t many suprises.

“I knew they had it in them to be very good. After three years, you could see a good group starting to form,” he said. “I knew these kids had it in them to be great. The coaching staff was proud of how they did this year.”