Now in MAIS Class 4A, Centreville Academy looks to add another district and perhaps state title

Published 11:47 am Friday, August 18, 2023

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CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Academy Tigers had a losing overall for the third time in the past four seasons in 2022, but yet, somehow, they made it all the way to the MAIS Class 3A state semifinals.

Now, Centreville Academy will look to get back to their winning ways under legendary head coach Bill Hurst in 2023. However, the Tigers will have to do so not only in a new classification, but a completely new district — District 3-4A against longtime rival Amite School Center, former non-district opponents Bowling Green School and Columbia Academy, and Wayne Academy.

When the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools did its athletics reclassification earlier this year, Centreville Academy was moved up from Class 3A to Class 4A for football for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

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“We were right on the bubble. I think we’re probably the smallest 4A school,” Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. We’re just going to play. We’re okay with where we are. It makes sense in terms of travel.”

So, after going 5-7 overall and 2-0 in District 3-3A, including a No. 3 seed, a first-round bye, a 52-26 win at home over No. 6 seed Winona Christian School in the quarterfinals before losing on the road to No. 2 seed and eventual Class 3A state champion Canton Academy 42-8 in the semifinals, the Tigers are on the move up.

As for how the 2022 season went for the Tigers, Stutzman said, “We played a lot of young kids, freshmen. We did fine. We hoped that they improved. We have some good seniors and juniors. They had a good summer and we expect them to lead us. We have pretty much the same group of kids. They’re just a year older.”

Centreville Academy lost only seven players from last year’s team and have several key players who look to help the Tigers not only win yet another district championship, but also lead them to a winning season this year.

Among them are senior offensive tackle, Kade Arnold, senior running back/middle linebacker Ace Sellers, sophomore wide receiver/free safety John Austin Sterling, rising sophomore quarterback Parker Nettles, and senior offensive guard Grant Jeansonne.

Stutzman said that Nettles has improved quite a bit since last season in several areas and will continue to get even better. Stutzman added that the entire team has been hitting the weights this summer and he hopes the results will be more wins this season.

“Parker is a year older and he’s really worked hard. He’s done a lot of training. He’s got a stronger arm and a stronger body frame,” Stutzman said. “The whole team has been in the weight room and gotten stronger. Hopefully, we can see some results this year as far as strength in these young kids.”

As for how though he believes District 3-4A will be and which team he feels will be the team to beat in this district, Stutzman said, “Take Wayne away. That’s been a common schedule for us forever. It’s nothing has really changed. As far as our district, I feel like Bowling Green will be the team to beat. All of them are pretty comparable.”

There are two new teams in non-district play that the Tigers will face in 2023 — at St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m., and home against Manchester Academy, will is making its return to MAIS 11-Man football after several years in 8-Man football, for Senior Night on Friday, Oct. 20. 

Centreville Academy plays host to Riverfield Academy to start the season on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. After playing at Brookhaven Academy on Friday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m., the Tigers have back-to-back district games in Weeks 3 and 4. They play at Columbia Academy on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m., then play host to Amite School Center on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

A few weeks later, the Tigers play host to Wayne Academy on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Franklinton, La. to face off against Bowling Green School on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Then they welcome the Cathedral High School Green Wave to Tiger Field for homecoming on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Bowling Green beat us last year. So did Columbia. ASC has been very competitive. It’s going to be a tough district,” Stutzman said.

As for what it will take for Centreville Academy to compete for the district championship, Stutzman said, “We just have to stay healthy. We’ve got some holes in our offensive line we have to fill. We’re missing a few pieces. Our offensive line is our biggest question mark. But they have the potential to be pretty good. Our skill players are better than they’ve been in the past. We can do a few more things offensively. They brought in a little more to the meaning of looking at the team and not as individuals.”