If a silver linings playbook ever existed, several high school football teams around the Mississippi Delta would probably resort to it considering the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their seasons.
Closing out their season with a 42-0 loss to the Madison Central Jaguars (7-3, 3-2) is not what the Greenville High Hornets (1-3) had envisioned.
They likely did not envision their season at all up until the board of trustees gave the green light to proceed with a season.
However, the Hornets competed in an abbreviated season and took some tough losses throughout the course of it as they were shut out in three consecutive games.
Within two minutes of the first quarter, the Jaguars scored their first touchdown.
Two more followed all within the first quarter giving the Jaguars 21 unanswered points.
Though the score board did not reflect as much, Hornets junior running back and former player of the week Lamarcus Kinney was a workhorse.
Kinney had a handful of explosive runs that allowed the Hornets to pin the Jaguars deep in their own territory when it was time to punt.
As did junior running back K.D. Ferguson.
The Jaguars scored only once more in the first half.
Sophomore defensive tackle Marcus Miller also showed that small victories count for something, finishing with a crucial sack in the second quarter.
The Jaguars scored one touchdown in the third quarter and one in the fourth.
To Hornets’ head coach Quintarius McCray’s dismay, some of those scores were due to costly mistakes as the Hornet’s were called for a facemask penalty and lost significant yardage because of a bad snap.
McCray said because of what he has observed about his players, he talks with them more about life than football because the two are so related.
“In life you’re gonna have to be disciplined and that’s our biggest problem on defense and offense,” McCray said. “We don’t just talk about football, we talk about being men.”
He said the message he drives the most when coaching his players is discipline and having the will to fight for one’s self.
Having ten seniors on the verge of graduation, McCray was asked what lesson he wanted his players to learn from the shortened season.
“Adversity. We talk about that all the time and just being positive all times because in life you’re going to get some stuff thrown at you,” he answered.
McCray dared not complain about what became of the Hornets’ season, but noted they didn’t have a spring nor summer workouts.
“I get mad about it sometimes, but we’re always saying we’re treating these four or five games as a spring,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys coming up so I’m looking forward to getting them in the weight room during the off season.”