BY BRANDON SPECK
Jack Clark is on a first-name basis with the Okolona Chieftains. It’s really all he’s had time for.
High school football practice can officially begin Monday, less than two months after Clark was approved as the new head coach of the Chickasaw County school.
Clark was out of the business for a year, last serving as Nettleton’s head coach. He takes over for Calvin Aldridge.
“It wasn’t out of me. Excited to be back in it.
“I know some last names,” Clark said, then smiled. “I know them by first or last. That’s all I’ve been learning.”
The backed-up practice schedule leaves less time to practice, in most cases less or no two-a-day work. Not the case for Okolona. The Chieftains will practice at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday. Regular practice begins Wednesday.
Clark, who kept the assistant staff intact, needs all the time he can get – a lot of that to figure out who is who, but to see who can do what and to implement some terminology.
“We’re behind. I didn’t go through spring with them,” Clark said. “We’re going to do two-a-days just to try to get caught up.”
Clark said Okolona is short on linemen, but heavy on skill players, including running back Dequin Babbit and quarterback Jacolbi Heard.
Hamilton won’t do two-a-days, but 10th-year coach Ray Weeks has been around plenty long to know names.
Knowing names isn’t his concern, keeping the bodies attached to the names healthy is. Now-senior quarterback Quinshay Heard was injured in the third game and missed the rest of last season.
Hamilton’s biggest change is moving back down to Class 1A and the seven division games it will play. The Lions will be playing more schools closer to their size.
“We’ll still be playing some of the same teams, but that’s a tough league,” Weeks said. “You can’t slip up. You’ve got to bring that A-game every week.”