Local coaches, players prepare for season with cases on the rise

After a seemingly normal offseason, rising cases of the Delta variant has teams reverting to strategies they employed during the 2020 season.

Posted: Aug 10, 2021 9:55 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The offseason narrative around football and fall sports was how nice it would be to get back to normal, but the Coronavirus is again impacting fall sports.

On Tuesday, Calhoun City became the first football team to cancel a 2021 regular season game because of an outbreak.

TCPS, Tupelo brace for 2021 season amid rise in cases

Mississippi High School Athletic and Activities Executive Director Rickey Neaves told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that schools which go full virtual will not be ineligible to participate in MHSAA sanctioned activities.

Last year was hard for everyone, but according to Tupelo Head Football Coach Ty Hardin, what is making this season more difficult, is that this rise is cases is happening so close to the start of the season.

"Well last year we had a lot of planning time, we planned all summer," Hardin said. "Our coaching staff did a great job, our kids did a great job of understanding what's in front of em."

Coach Hardin and the Tupelo Golden Wave started official practice this week. He said the team is doing whatever the Tupelo school system and the MHSAA is telling them to do, but seeing games getting canceled already is alarming.

"When you look up and you already got teams canceling games, you're just like man I don't want to be that team," Hardin said. "But we can only control what we can control."

Hardin said that he can keep an eye on the team on the field, but off the field, he's relying on senior leadership from players like Deon Shumpert, who is telling his teammates to:

"Stay protected, stay safe, this covid stuff, man, it's nothing to play with," Shumpert said.

Across town at Tupelo Christian Prep, the 1A Eagles don't have the same number of players as the 6A Golden Wave, but Head Coach Shaune Holiday is dusting off the 2020 Coronavirus playbook to ensure his team stays safe.

"It hit home once you see Calhoun City and Houston not playing their first game it becomes reality," Holiday said. "And the kids understand now that this is something serious that this could affect us just as easily as it could them."

TCPS graduated a big senior class last year, seniors who didn't get to have a standard season. This year's seniors like Jake Prather, seeing the rise in cases and news of quarantine is bringing up some bad memories of 2020.

"It really you know, puts the team on edge, not knowing whether we're going to play one week to the next," Prather said. "We missed multiple games last year and it put a hurt on the season."

TCPS will begin its 2021 season on Thursday, August 26th at home against North Pontotoc and Tupelo has a road date with Lafayette on Friday the 27th.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
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Hi: 59° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 47°
Columbus
Clear
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Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 46°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 57° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 42°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 61° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 46°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
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