By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Nobody in Tupelo High’s quiet dressing room was thinking state championship after the opening game of the 1992 season.
The Golden Wave had played the first game in its new stadium and lost 14-10 to Louisville.
“I remember it well,” said Kirk Presley, Tupelo’s senior quarterback that season. “If you look at the stats, we beat them up and down the field. They made a couple of big plays at the end to win.
“We should have won.”
Presley also recalled that Bob Monroe, an assistant coach, offered some words of encouragement to the disappointed players.
“He said, ‘Y’all look at me, right now. Good things are going to happen to this football team,’” Presley said. “Coach Monroe saw something in that group that we didn’t see yet.”
Indeed, good things did happen for Tupelo. The Golden Wave won 13 straight games and captured the Class 5A state championship with a 13-0 win against Hattiesburg at Mississippi College in Clinton.
The 1992 state title team will be recognized during Friday’s home game between the Golden Wave and South Panola.
Monroe, an assistant this year at New Albany, says it wasn’t a stretch to predict good things for the ’92 team.
“That group had played in the state championship game (and lost) two consecutive years,” he said. “A lot of people had great expectations for that team and all the sudden, they lost the first game in that new stadium.
“I really believed in them. I believed they’d be a great team.”
James Sloan, Tupelo’s head coach that season, said his team was loaded with top-notch athletic talent.
“They were athletic and they were good,” said Sloan, an assistant this year at Nettleton. “They could play the game.
“They hit that field running every day. We never heard a complaint from them. That was a unique bunch of kids.”
In the state championship game, a defense led by linebackers Marcus Gary, Jarious Jackson, Clay Short and Mond Wilson, blanked a high-powered, point-producing Hattiesburg team.
“It was a great team effort, but the defense really played well that game,” Monroe said.
Hardin Patterson kicked two field goals and receiver David Sisk caught a TD pass from Presley for the Wave’s points.
“We played flawless football in the championship game,” Sloan said. “I was thrilled to be a part of it.”
1992 Tupelo Roster
Lamon Atterberry, Chris Bradley, Greg Brown, Kelly Farned, Mark Fields, Jason Foy, Marcus Gary, Trinity Glover, Brad Hill, Joe Johnson, Johnny Kelly, Eric McGaughy, Tony Middlebrooks, Hardin Patterson, Kirk Presley, Bernard Redd, Scott Riley, Henry Shackelford, Clay Short, David Sisk, Chris Thomas, Mike Williams, Mond Wilson, Rudolph Young.
Ryan Allan, Anthony Barnes, Tim Bell. Joe Cash, Nathaniel Causey, Matt Chennault, Allen Chittom, Glen Davidson, Baine Gray, William Heard, Matt Hughes, Carlos Long, Tellie Jones, Allery Lockridge, Talley Mason, Chris McAlpin, Brad McCoy, Marcus McCoy, Reed Nelson, Todd Powell, Patrick Rainey, L.P. Ray, Jordan Riley, Darren Singleton, Aundray Shackelford, Jason Shelton, Todd Shirley, Shawn Summers, Chioke Vaughn, Chris Williams, Jay Witcher.
Andy Brown, Jamaul Edwards, Quitman Gardner, Brian Hamilton, Brad Henderson, Kevin Hervey, Rocky Howell, Jarious Jackson, Jud Jernigan, Rob Lesley, Cory Moore, Matt Moore, Jeffrey Newell, Kevin Ray, Andy Shirley, Bryan Sloan, Jason Summers, Chris Thigpen, Cliff Toliver, Alex Williamson, Christopher Yeldell.