Win or lose, Coahoma County Red Panthers fans bleed red and white.
Their loyalty and support was on display during the Class 2A state tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson on Tuesday afternoon.
Friends and family came from all over the state and country to cheer their team on as they fell just shy with a 54-52 loss to Bay Springs in the state semifinals.
“We’ve got the best fans in the world,” said Red Panthers coach Derrick Moore. “They don’t care where I go, they’re going. They’re going to be there.”
Senior guard and forward Markevius Phillips, who will be playing football for Coahoma Community College next season, talked about what it meant to be a Red Panther following the game.
“It was big,” he said. “To be with one coach for my seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th-grade year, it’s been the best years of my life. I love Coahoma County.”
Arthurine Metcalf-Williams is one fan with two nephews on the team -- sophomore center Jai’Sheldon Yates and senior guard/forward Alshun Ross.
“I’m a fan of the Coahoma County Red Panthers,” Metcalf-Williams said. “I have someone on the team playing. I have a nephew.”
This is the first year Yates and Ross played for the Red Panthers together. Ross transferred to Clarksdale High School for the fall of his junior year. He came back to Coahoma County High School the following spring, but was ineligible to play until this year.
“They’ve had a magnificent year, a magnificent season,” said Metcalf-Williams of her family members. “They’re beasts out there on that floor.”
She had her sights set on the Red Panthers winning a third straight championship, but they fell short after Tuesday’s loss.
Fans come in all age groups.
“Panthers for life,” said assistant coach Timothy Williams’ young children, Teagan Williams and Dareia Williams.
Moore’s mother, Yvonne, said she does not miss a game.
“Let’s go Red,” she said. “Good year. Our defense has been good. That’s how we make our defense. Go Panthers.”
Senior forward Jeffery Fisher moved from Chicago to attend Coahoma County High School before his junior year. He is a relative of the Moore family.
His mother, Linda, drove to Clarksdale for Tuesday’s game and stayed with the Moore family in Bobo. She arrived on Saturday.
“All the way from Chicago, Jeffery Fisher’s mom. We’re going to take this thing three-peat, three-peat,” she said before the game. “He came here to be with family. He’s doing wonderful and they’re treating him well. He’s hitting it off with a bang as a senior.”
The three-peat did not work out, but Fisher walked off the court Tuesday with no regrets.
“It means a lot,” Fisher said of being a Red Panther. “I’m still going to bleed the red and white.”
Fisher, who plans to play football in college, said it was worth transferring to CCHS.
“I enjoyed the journey,” he said.
The Red Panthers trailed by 13 with less than four minutes to play.
Phillips praised the character of his team for fighting back and almost winning.
“We knew we had to fight,” he said. “One shot can’t bring us back. We had to take one by one by one. That’s how we get back in the game.”