MAIS schools open football practice

Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLANDSilliman Institute football coach T.J. Davis works with his team last season. Show caption
Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLANDSilliman Institute football coach T.J. Davis works with his team last season.

“Our motto this year is ‘A collective whole working for one goal’. And that goal is to win a playoff game and advance. Tomorrow is a step in that direction.” T.J. Davis, Silliman Institute coach

First-year Central Private coach Terry King and Silliman Institute coach T.J. Davis have never met. But the two football coaches are set to follow a similar team-oriented script when their teams kick off fall practice Thursday.

CPS and Silliman are prepped for their first official day of practice based on Mississippi Association of Independent Schools rules.

“We’re going to continue doing the conditioning and things we’ve done through the summer,” King said. “It’s just that this is the first official practice date, according to the MAIS.”

Central Private is set to practice between 7 a.m. and noon Thursday with a group of approximately 40 players that includes junior high players. Clinton-based Silliman has scheduled its practice for 4:30 p.m. with 36 varsity players.

MAIS schools scrimmage on Aug. 8, play jamborees on Aug. 16 and then open their regular season on Aug. 23, two weeks before Louisiana High School Athletic Association teams begin their seasons.

“This is the time where you come in and review everything you’ve done and put in new things, too,” Davis said. “The important thing is to make sure everybody is on the same page and knows what they’re responsible for.”

Players are allowed to wear helmets only for the first three days of practice before gradually adding more gear, according to Davis.

Shoulder pads can be used only by players hitting a blocking sled during the first three days.

The two rivals are coming off decidedly different seasons. Central Private was 2-8 and had hired Lyn Lumley as its coach. But in June, Lumley resigned and King, who was initially hired as the school’s boys basketball coach and assistant athletic director, added head football coach to his list of duties. King was the head football coach at another MAIS school, Bayou Academy, in Cleveland, Miss., the last two years.

“We’ll run a triple option out of the spread, which means we’ll run it and throw it, depending on what the situation dictates,” King said. “Tomorrow will be offense, and it will be important for our quarterbacks and linemen to work on their reads. They’ve picked up things real well. I don’t really like to point out individuals too much.”

Silliman returns 13 starters from a team that finished 6-5, but Davis also is reluctant to mention individual players.

“Our motto this year is ‘A collective whole working for one goal,’ ” Davis said. “And that goal is to win a playoff game and advance. Tomorrow is a step in that direction.”