PA

Pillow Academy assistant coach Mike McLendon talks with offensive linemen JC Garrard (75) and Hayden Pillow (57) Tuesday during a morning practice at the school.

On the same day that reports surfaced that all Jackson Public Schools will be canceling all fall sports in the coming days, the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools began two-a-day football practices.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association has already voted to delay the start of football season by two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current schedule will allow schools to begin their seasons on Sept. 4.

According to reports out of Jackson, the Jackson Public Schools coaches were informed over the phone Monday that those workouts cannot continue. They were told there won’t be a football season for JPS because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But district officials are saying coaches were ‘misinformed’ that a decision had been made to cancel the fall football season.

On the MAIS side, Pillow Academy coach Tripp McCarty said everything he sees points to starting the season as scheduled — Aug. 21 at Jackson Academy. Carroll Academy head man Bo Milton said his team is working hard to prep for the season opener, Aug. 21 at Kirk Academy in Grenada.

“We had a pretty normal offseason with workouts and weights, so our kids looked pretty good the first day,” said Milton, whose team went 10-3 in 2019. “But it was good to get back to some actual football.

“We are taking precautions (against COVID-19) by changing the way things are done at practice, checking temps and not sharing water. The biggest thing is making sure our kids are taking care of themselves away from the field.”     

McCarty said his program is taking the same precautions and that his kids were thrilled to be back on the field.

“We are making a lot of mistakes, but we are making them full speed. This bunch has a lot of reasons to be excited about Mustang football this year,” said the PA coach.

Fall sports will start officially Friday for Pillow and Carroll, with the two schools meeting in fast-pitch softball.

The Lady Mustangs are set to open their soccer season Aug. 3 at home against St. Aloysius.

 Pillow nor Carroll have yet to make attendance policies, though both schools will encourage spectators to socially distance.

nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or bburrus@gwcommonwealth.com.

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