I have talked about the impact the COVID pandemic has had on local sports in many columns for more than a year.
But this may just be the season several local schools pull it all together.
Coahoma Community College has been a doormat for other schools with athletics for many years, but finally, the tables are starting to turn.
In just five games, the Tigers football team had more victories than in any season in recent memory. They went 3-2 under first-year head coach Travis Macon.
Macon is coming back for his second season with many returning players. He also had a full offseason to recruit.
Stephanie Murphy led the Lady Tigers basketball team to a Region 23 Tournament runner-up finish in just her third season as head coach.
That success will hopefully lead to recruiting more athletes than ever.
Both teams will have targets on their backs, but I know they are up for the challenge.
Richard “Dell” Cannon, who played for and graduated from CCC and Coahoma County High School, is the new men’s basketball coach.
Cannon brings a lot of enthusiasm to the program and the relationships he already has with the community will help his recruiting prospects.
Coahoma County High School’s boys basketball team has won four Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state basketball championships in five seasons.
The Red Panthers are bringing many of their key athletes back.
They have an opportunity to three-peat with a third consecutive championship in school history. Coach Derrick Moore believes that is possible.
The Lady Red Panthers have a young team and will probably not be competing for a championship in 2021-22, but their future is bright.
Look for big things from them in the next couple of years. They have been so close to a championship many times and, hopefully, will get over the hump in the near future.
McKinley Scott is headed into his second season as the Red Panthers football coach.
Scott has attempted to change the culture to the point where the football program is expected to succeed.
He did a good job of laying the groundwork in his first year leading his team to the playoffs.
This is first full offseason with the Red Panthers and he should be able to build on what he started in 2020.
Clarksdale High School has made the playoffs in football every year since Henry Johnson became the head coach in 2013.
While the Wildcats have been consistent, they have been unable to get over the hump.
They had 23 seniors last season and were poised to make a run to compete for a state championship, but then a COVID outbreak on the team forced them to forfeit the second round of the playoffs.
The good news is the Wildcats have 18 seniors returning and two new assistant coaches who will help make the team even better.
Tamera Allen Sr. and Trenton Chess, both Clarksdale High School graduates, are the assistant coaches.
The boys and girls basketball teams both hosted playoff games last season, but lost in the first round.
If the Wildcats can be more consistent, they can go a long way.
As you see in today’s paper, junior Isaiah Galmore transferred to CHS from Coahoma Early College High School. He will add to the team’s success.
The Lady Wildcats had a very young team in 2020-21. The experience they will be bringing back can help them take the next step.
Many new coaches will be at Lee Academy for the upcoming school year.
Out of the three major sports – football, baseball and basketball – Rick Johnston is the only returning head coach.
Johnston will be in his fifth season as the head football coach.
The Colts have just two seniors, but very strong sophomore and junior classes. Both of those classes were on district championship teams in junior high.
The football team lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2020, which was a disappointment after being in the 2019 state semifinals.
However, there is a bright future for the Colts the next few years.
The boys track team is coming off of a state championship. Lee has always had a strong track program and there is an opportunity to defend the title in the upcoming school year.
The Colts advanced to the second round of the playoffs in baseball this past spring with a young team. Again, I see a bright future for them.
Mike Reans is the new basketball coach and Will Florence is a new assistant football and basketball coach.
Both should have a positive impact on the athletic program.
Former basketball coach Michael Peckham did an excellent job. I believe Reans can pick up right where Peckham left off.
We do not know what Coahoma Early College High School’s future is.
The school may or may not be open in 2021-22.
CECHS’s basketball teams were in rebuilding modes last season. If they have a school next year and have a better idea of the direction things are going, that can help them rebuild the basketball program.
We will keep you posted on the future of the school and athletic program.