By Jay Tidwell
Special to the News-Exchange
New Albany Middle School head football coach Nickey Nance understands what it takes to cultivate a winning environment.
Nance, who majored in agricultural education at Miss. State, was a successful head high school coach at Falkner, his alma mater. He is in his second year at New Albany, where he also serves as Middle School athletic director.
“We are trying to push that we’re building a program in all sports,” Nance said. “What (head coach) Ron (Price) does in the high school, we need to be trying to imitate at the middle school. I’d like to see our baseball program and others, be a smooth transition from middle school to high school and that we’re doing the same things.”
Nance is already seeing the results of this approach among his football players.
“We were at a game with a couple of our players on the sideline and our high school bunch scored on somebody,” he explained, “and I heard one of the middle school kids say that they just scored on a 31-trap. That was what I was looking for. When kids go to high school and recognize the plays, that’s what we want to do, and we want that in all of our sports.
“The schools that are extremely successful, West Point, Lafayette, programs like that, they have the same terminology,” he added. “My ultimate reward would be for some of my kids to go to Jackson in high school.”
Nance has high expectations for several returning players.
“We have a three-way race for quarterback in 8th grade: Payton Snyder, Peyton Goins and Deangelo Biggs,” Nance said. “We have Jordan Lipsey at running back.
“Logan Canerdy and London Erby are two linemen with a lot of potential,” he continued. “Chris Benefield will play fullback and linebacker.”
Nance said Elijah Brown is very versatile.
“He has worked really hard and has a good work ethic. He could play anything, probably at slot, but he can play running back or wide receiver, and outside linebacker or strong safety.”
The middle school teams, which play their home games at the high school field, compete in the North Division of the Traceway Conference with Corinth, Guntown, Pontotoc and Ripley.
2013 New Albany Middle School football schedule
Aug. 24 Jamboree at Ole Miss-Vaught Hemingway Stadium
Aug. 26 Meet the Bulldogs
Aug. 27 North Pontotoc
Sept. 3rd Guntown
Sept. 10 Holly Springs
Sept. 17 at Corinth
Sept. 24 Pontotoc
Oct. 8 at Kossuth
Oct. 15 Ripley
Oct. 22 Traceway Game
2013 New Albany Middle School football rosters
Seventh Grade football roster
John Wright Welborn
J. B. Hill
Eighth Grade football roster