Dan Brady knew the time was coming when Bay Springs would drop from Class 2A to Class 1A. With that move, the Bulldogs return a ton of firepower to get back to the state championship game for the first time since 2016.
Like every team, the Bulldogs had to deal with Covid-19 issues in 2020 and finished the season 4-6, losing a shootout 56-54 game to Wesson in the first round of the playoffs.
“I knew we would move down when this group got to high school but it doesn’t matter about classification,” Brady said. “We are just excited about the opportunity to play a football schedule and rebound from last season.”
Now, Bay Springs returns six starters back on offense that will be led by the always potent wing-t run-heavy offense.
Quarterback Anthony Newell is back to anchor the offense, while running back Ty Jones (568 yards, 6 touchdowns in 2020), fullback A.J. Ross and Jamare Holiday anchor the rushing attack game.
“We return a lot of guys who got quality reps last year. I'm excited about our depth and the number of playmakers we have,” Brady said. “This team will be as balanced offensively as we have ever had. We need to solidify some spots up front but looking forward to a great year.”
Defensively the Bulldogs return seven starters that will be led by a veteran defensive line.
Defensive end Cartize Booth (37 tackles, 3 sacks last year) along with Demarion Campbell and James Wilson are back to lead up front. Zyon Ross and Newell are back at linebacker.
Defensive backs Demetrius Roberts and Charles Carr return in the secondary.
“We are going to have to replace some key linebackers, but we have the pieces to the puzzle to be very fast on defense,” Brady said. “I am excited to see how good we can be.”
NEXT IN LINE
Simmons: The Blue Devils are coming off an unusual 2020 season that saw them play more playoff games (3) than regular season games (2). They still reached the Class 1A South State Championship game. Simmons will now compete in Region 2-1A and transition back into Class 1A North. The Blue Devils return all 11 starters on an offense that will be anchored by quarterback DeVonte Rush along with running back Vontrez Rush and wide receiver Charles Mallard. Defensively, Simmons returns nine starters that will led by a front seven that returns defensive tackle Tymon Wells and linebackers Jermaine Edwards and Amare Pam. The secondary for Simmons will feature a lot of speed.
Lumberton: The defending Class 1A state champions must begin life without Robert Henry and also will welcome a new head coach. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Ladner was promoted to head coach of the Panthers and has a good nucleus returning to make another run at the 1A state title. Lumberton returns five starters on offense that will be led by quarterback Rodney Parker, who passed for 591 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for 652 yards with seven touchdowns last season. Running back Shavante Toney is back to lead the ground game after running for 577 yards with eight touchdowns last year. Defensively the Panthers have nine starters back that will be led by a veteran front seven. Keyshawn Drummond and Jonathan Edwards return on the defensive line, while Debyron Conerly and Toney return at linebacker to anchor the front seven. Parker will lead the secondary at strong safety.
Taylorsville: The two-time defending Class 2A state champions are dropping to Class 1A and will look a little different in 2021. Jay Blackledge takes over as head coach after being the offensive coordinator at Petal. Offensively the Tartars won’t have Ty Keyes back at quarterback but will have two starters back in wide receiver Kelby Jordan and offensive tackle Ford Eaton. Even with a lot of new faces in key spots the Tartars still have enough firepower to make a run in 1A. Defensively, Taylorsville brings back four starters that will be led by a veteran secondary in Jordan, Decero Crosby and Cedrick Beavers. Defensive tackle Jershard McGill returns in the front seven.
Biggersville: The Lions are coming off a 13-1 season in 2020 and reaching the Class 1A state championship game for the first time and have a new coach in charge in 2021. Case Ingram was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach in the offseason. Biggersville brings back five starters on offense but must replace Goldman Butler at running back. Quarterback Drew Rowsey returns to lead the offense along with wide receivers Zae Davis, Dylan Rowsey and JaRell Jones. Davis will see time at running back. Defensively the Lions return four starters that must replace most of their front seven. The secondary will be the strength led by Zyonn Mayes, Davis, Dylan Rowsey and Jones. Logan Turnbough and Cole Butler return on the defensive line to lead up front.
Class 1A seems like it will be a clash course to be Bay Springs and Simmons in the state championship in December, however here’s some other teams that can be run and those are South Delta, Sebastopol, West Lowndes and Tupelo Christian.
- Bay Springs
GAMES TO WATCH
Sept. 24: Simmons at South Delta
Oct. 1: Tupelo Christian at Biggersville
Oct. 15: Taylorsville at Lumberton
Oct. 29: West Bolivar at Simmons
Oct. 29: Taylorsville at Bay Springs
Nov. 5: West Bolivar at South Delta
Nov. 5: Bay Springs at Lumberton