By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Mantachie has already done something it hadn’t done in a while. The Mustangs beat rival Mooreville Friday for only the second time in nine years.
That’s not the goal though under first-year head coach Lynn Moore.
The Mustangs want to end a four-year playoff drought and at least an eight-year winning season drought. Mantachie’s last playoff appearance came in 2007 when it finished 5-5. Entering Friday’s game against South Pontotoc, it is 4-4, 1-1 in Division 2-3A.
“We thought we’d be competitive. The last few years they had not been. That was a big win at Mooreville but we’ve still got some work to do,” Moore said. “South Pontotoc is coming in and I know they’re struggling but I’ve watched them on film and they’re capable.”
Linebackers Trent Ellis and Cole Stephens and Cody Chattam and Alex Gray in the secondary have been key on that side.
QB Dustin Carrell has seen a reliable group of receivers contribute.
There have been close losses, including a 19-16 season-opening loss to North Pontotoc.
“We’d love to have a couple of those early ones back. But we are where we are and we have a chance,” Moore said. “The kids understand that. They’re working hard to reach that. South Pontotc is coming and they have the same aspirations we do.”
Moore is a first-year Mantachie coach but this is hardly his first rodeo.
He took over the program after Andrew Aldridge resigned after three years. Moore’s stops include Aberdeen, Itawamba AHS, Louisville and West Point. He won a state championship at Louisville and served as offensive coordinator in Anniston (Ala.) before returning to the state.
“I think every team starts the season with a goal to get in the playoffs. It was certainly a goal to have a winning season. I think on Aug. 17 every team in the state of Mississippi had those goals,” Moore said. “We’re close but not there yet. We still have work to do to get there.”