Cathedral rolls into season

Published 6:21 pm Friday, July 9, 2021

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NATCHEZ — Cathedral head coach Chuck Darbonne is looking forward to 2021 as the Green Wave comes off a 10-1 season. Each day his team practices, they are one step closer to starting football.

This off-season, he has seen individual progress in his players as more and more guys improve. Individual progression is a result of players taking vacations and having different schedules, but is still progress.

“We have had a couple of leaders emerge,” Darbonne said. “That is the good thing about having these vacations at different times. It makes people step up and be leaders maybe that day or two or three days in a row if three to four people are gone from a position group. It will cause that next person to have to step their game up and be more vocal.”

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Leadership could be displayed in the weight room or on the football field, he said. Players lead by example on the team instead of being vocal.

“It has been a pleasant surprise to see people step up on a day-to-day basis,” Darbonne said. “There needs to be depth built, and there need to be guys counted on.”

Eight seniors graduated from the Green Wave, which left room for players to step up into roles. On the 2021 team, there are four seniors, and the rest are juniors or sophomores. Over half the team’s starters play offense and defense. He said they are trying to get more players to play just one position.

This football season will be different because Cathedral will move up into Class 5A. However, the Green Wave has familiarity with some opponents. They played football in 5A when Darbonne first got to Cathedral, he said.

“These guys who are in high school now, when they were in junior high they were playing these schools,” Darbonne said. “They are used to playing a lot of the schools they are going to have to play. We have some familiarity with half of our schedule. Knowing whom you are going against athletically and the skill on the other side. You can only see so much on film.”

Madison-Ridgeland Academy is the first team Cathedral will play this season on August 20. Green Wave players and coaches have seven more weeks before they begin their season.

After players leave practices, Darbonne said he spends his time cleaning up the facilities and filling out paperwork. He has to organize practice based on which players will be available.

As a coach, he attends webinars, meets with other coaches and watches videos to learn better ways to organize and work with his team. His goal is to find something every day to help better his team.

“Mentally, I never get out of football season. I’m always trying to do something to improve,” Darbonne said. “I’m just constantly trying to find an edge to help our program and help our kids.”