It’s been a slow climb for Newton County Academy.
The Generals have posted winning records in five out of coach Robert Roberts’ six seasons at the helm. But tonight’s trip to Wilkinson County Christian Academy for the MAIS Class A South State championship will be the Generals first trip this deep in the postseason in his tenure.
“We’ve got a good group of kids that got here about four or five years ago when we built a new weight room and they’ve just lived in there, working out a lot more than they used to,” Roberts said. “And after that we got to the first round and then the second round and now the third round.
“We’re just trying to get it on up there.”
That group of players are also on the verge of school history. Not only would a win lead to NCA’s first appearance in the state championship game, it would also set a new school record for wins. Last week’s triumph against Riverfield (La.) Academy pushed the Generals to an 8-4 mark, equaling the program’s best finish.
NCA also went 8-4 last season following a Cenla (La.) Christian forfeit after the season for the Generals’ season-ending defeat in the second round of the playoffs. The Generals were 8-3 in 2004 and 8-4 in 1993.
“It would mean a lot,” Roberts said. “We lost so many good guys off last year’s team and a really good running back in Dillon Williams. But all those guys we had coming back stayed here and worked hard. They’ve been here, working hard together like a team and it would mean a lot.
“To get this far, it already has. That’s made it a whole lot better this week, everybody’s been pumped. And it would mean so much to get there for the school and the football program, everybody.”
But for all that to arrive, NCA must first slow down the Rams and a stout rushing attack.
“They look good on tape,” Roberts said. “They lost early to Centreville and I hope our schedule’s strength makes us ready to go. We played some tough games and got whipped, but we’ve kept everybody healthy and we’re ready to go.
“They’ve got two good running backs and we’re going to try and stop the run game down. And we’ve been able to do that lately. It’s going to be hard and we’re going to have to be on our game to beat them.”
NCA counters with its own rugged running game spearheaded by a trio of running backs. Zack Meeks leads the way with 935 yards and nine touchdowns rushing, while Regan Reiss has added 826 yards and 13 touchdowns and Thomas Jones has produced 734 yards and six scores.
It’s been a slow climb for Newton County Academy.
- (PHOTOS) Newton County Class 4A State Championship Finals Slideshow from game three of Newton County in the Class 4A State Championship against Lewisburg.
For the Newton County Cougars, their final game of the season couldn’t be bigger: state title or bust.
They forced a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series with a 2-1 win over Lewisburg in 10 innings on Thursday night at Trustmark Park.
- Saints' Rob Ryan Ready for defensive challenges
- Sanchez flirts with no-hitter in win
East Central names Mays offensive coordinator
Mickey Mays was recently named offensive coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur, announced head football coach Ken Karcher.
Mays is a former assistant to Coach Karcher, having served on his Liberty University staff as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator.
- (PHOTOS) Newton County Class 4A State Championship Slideshow from games one and two of the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship.
Not done yet
After being shutout less than 24 hours earlier, the Newton County Cougars used a 10-inning affair to force a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series, topping Lewisburg, 2-1, in Game 2 at Trustmark Park.
Hollins focused on Spurs, not his contract
Lionel Hollins has been more successful than any Grizzlies coach and will be a free agent after June 30.
He has the Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals for the first time and has won more games with this team than any other coach.
Slive focused on future after big changes
Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table between one massive tome on Winston Churchill and an even thicker "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture."
He's relaxed and feeling awfully good about the state of the Southeastern Conference.
It's a rare moment of calm for the SEC's cerebral commissioner, but he can afford it since his "A pile" of things to do has gotten considerably slimmer over the past two years.
’Bama bounces Ole Miss from SEC Tourney
For the second day in a row, the Rebels went into extra-innings but were unable to emerge with the victory as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-22) fell to Alabama (34-25) 7-5 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament and will now await NCAA Tournament selection announcements at 11 a.m. on Monday. The selection of the NCAA Tournament field will be televised by ESPNU.
Tanner Bailey (4-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing two runs on one hit with two walks in 2.1 innings of work.
- More Sports Headlines