Rowdy’s 2018 Year In Review
Horn Lake hoists the 6A State Championship trophy |
Photo by John Macon Gillespie; Nov. 30, 2018
Happy New Year everyone!
We at SES Mississippi enjoyed our 5th straight season doing something we love: talking about Mississippi high school football. After five years, it hasn’t grown old on us. We hope you enjoyed our coverage on and off the field, reading our feature stories and our hot takes. We thank you for your interaction and input on a day-to-day basis.
Ever since December 2nd, we at SES are admittedly having withdrawals from the season. Some of you may be experiencing the same thing, and we honestly can't blame you. This past year was one to remember. With that being said, allow me to take you back in time and recap a few memorable moments of the 2018 season.
This past Christmas, I personally requested almost everything on the market to defend against H2O. The reason why is so I can be fully prepared in case we have to experience another season like we had in 2018. In all my years of watching football in general, I have never seen such a wet season. There were literally times during the season where I wished rain never existed.
It all started right off the bat in week one...great start, mother nature. A wave of green on the weather radar swept the entire state (storms included) from Southaven to Gulfport. Pretty much every team had to change their gameplay accordingly. A few games were actually cancelled because of it.
Walker Bailey and I were in Vicksburg the day of that monsoon for a Red Carpet Bowl doubleheader. Midway through the first game between Oxford and Warren Central, there was a lightning strike within a couple miles of the stadium followed by rain and lots of it. When mother nature decided not to give up, that game was called and the following game was too. Walker and I went back to the truck wading around in water up to our ankles.
After that week, I thought that wouldn’t happen much for rest of the year. I was wrong, big time. It seemed like every other week, I had to prepare for rain. In week six, I covered a game that got postponed to Saturday. Even the North/South Half games had their issues with weather. I had all sorts of problems that night in West Point.
And yes, in Hattiesburg the following week, there was threat of rain. Fortunately, we were spared for the most part with the exception of a few sprinkles here and there. Fitting ending for a season filled with rain. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen next season.
Classic Rivalry Game Finishes
Some of the state’s biggest rivalries on the gridiron were must-see football this season, some of which came down to one of the final plays of the game. Games like the Crosstown Classic and the Toothpick Bowl were decided by the leg of a kicker.
Other games like the Dirt Bowl (Pt.2) were decided by a player who may or may not have met the dirt before crossing the goal line in OT. Check Walker’s Twitter to decide for yourself.
Yes, we know there are many other rivalry games that went through the same things, but hopefully you get the point. Let’s hope that there are even more of these in 2019.
Traditional Powers Make Their Mark
Louisville and West Point were among the most dominant teams in the state.
In Hattiesburg, they both moved up the ranks of hierarchy as far a state championship totals. Louisville didn’t take kindly to us picking Noxubee County as our preseason 4A favorite and steamrolled their class en route to a 15-1 season and winning their ninth state title. They now can boast that they’ve won the third most state titles in MHSAA history.
West Point silenced a lot of doubters, including us this season. No Marcus Murphy, no Chris Calvert, no problem. Their young core delivered a 10th state title to Clay County. Now they have the second most MHSAA state titles behind only South Panola. With most of their roster back in 2019, they could end up tying the Tigers in December. Let’s see.
This team inherited one of the biggest storylines in the state this season.
The #988 boys, Myrtle, finished 7-1 in their inaugural season under Justin Hollis. After falling to TCPS in their first game, they went on to dominate their remaining opponents, particularly on offense. Not a bad start if you ask any of us.
State Championships: South MS Style
South Mississippians finally got their home field advantage this past season after having to travel hours north to Starkville and Oxford in years past. While it may have been rough on the SES gang as far as travel from way up north, it turned out to be one great host. M.M. Roberts Stadium is a bit smaller than Davis-Wade or Vaught-Hemingway, therefore it felt more like a high school football atmosphere. Personally, it has been my favorite host so far.
The SES gang had a great time, although we did have to switch hotels at 2:00 a.m. due to an inconvenient situation. We got to eat Waffle House, which is seen very often in our neck of the woods. More importantly, we had fun covering the games. That weekend’s slate of games was filled with awesome storylines.
We had Water Valley winning their first state championship in 28 years after exceeding expectations greatly. We witnessed the end of a 54-game winning streak when Nanih Waiya won their first state championship dethroning Simmons. We saw, arguably, the most talented team in the state win their first state title and the second for DeSoto County. Oh yeah, did I mention that this all happened on the FIRST day?
We already mentioned Louisville and West Point. Scott Central also won their second state title. What a weekend.
MS98 Scoreboard Show Making Us Hungry At Night
There is nothing that we at SES look forward to after a game than cranking up the vehicle and turning the radio knob to 97.5 FM. Adam Gore and company recapped (callers too) all that happened every Friday night with some hilarious commentary about other topics, even food.
They have their go-to menu options from Taco Bell that they die on a hill for. I, on the other hand, have KFC, just the best pregame meal ever if you ask me. Yes, I got interrogated for my beliefs in the Colonel…over and over again. However, I can say that they are the reason why I never get the same thing from Taco Bell twice now-a-days. I can never thank them enough.
They are a great group of guys who do an excellent job at what they do. Make sure you enter this number in your contacts: (662) 844-9800. You’ll need that number to join the fun next fall.
A Smooth Transition
This past season, we welcomed a new face to SES. His name is Walker Bailey. The future Mizzou Tiger has been a blessing to the team this season with his ability to analyze, interview, and cover games on social media. He’s a young talent with an incredibly bright future. He was on hand for plenty of big games this season.
We also said goodbye to the man who has made SES come this far: John Luke McCord. He left late in the season to take a digital content producer position in his hometown of Tupelo at the Daily Journal. He was with us since 2015. He was an absolute pro at reaching out to schools and gathering information. He was always there to help me when I needed it most and supportive of me in every way. He will be missed.
What a year, folks.
While we eagerly wait for August to come around, we at SES will provide all sorts of content and keep you informed on the Mississippi high school football landscape.
We have the Fortius Project coming up this spring for those who wish to test their skills and compete against players from all corners of the state. Be sure to register at FortiusProject.com when dates are announced.