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Sideline View by Dale McKee

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 2:05 PM CDT
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WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WTOK) -

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had an amazing 2019 football season. He led the Tigers to the National Championship with his 60 TD throws and 5,670 passing yards in 15 games. Burrow had a tremendous supporting cast in Baton Rouge to accomplish this record-breaking season. I became a big Joe Burrow fan and thought this was the best season a college quarterback had ever had. Joe was the first overall pick in the NFL draft and won the Heisman. 

Memory flashed back to “Air” Final Season 

Alcorn State’s Steve McNair also had a season to remember back in 1994. Remember, in 15 games, Burrow had 60 TD passes. Well, McNair tossed 47 in 11 games while throwing for 4,863 passing yards and rushing for 936 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also recorded an NCAA record 5,799 yards of total offense. His QB rating was 155.4 as he finished third in the Heisman Trophy by receiving 111 first-place votes. McNair passed away on the Fourth of July in 2009. We may argue about the competition level, but he was an outstanding athlete. He reminded me of a linebacker playing quarterback at 6-2, 220 pounds. I believe he would have been an All-Pro defensive player in the National Football League. I was fortunate enough to see him in person in high school at Mount Olive. It was a blow out game late in the season, so his offensive stats were limited, but McNair impressed on defense. He intercepted two passes that night. During his high school career, he intercepted 30 passes and had 15 alone in his final season.  

McNair had offers from a half dozen SEC schools, but all those schools wanted him as a defensive back. Only Alcorn, where his older brother Fred had played quarterback and his other brother Tim, a then wide receiver for the Braves, recruited him as a quarterback. Four years later, it was a good decision by “Air 2.” (Fred was “Air 1” on the reservation at Alcorn and still is). 

McNair was a four-year starter with the Braves at quarterback and was so good that he attracted droves of NFL scouts to Lorman.  After his junior season at Alcorn, he was dubbed a second round pick in the NFL Draft. McNair decided to return for his senior season, which really paid off for him and Alcorn. 

McNair’s offensive exploits got the attention of ESPN, which started televising the Braves games.  “Air 2” had fans from all over the country. I remember watching several of Alcorn’s TV games and the unbelievable comebacks he produced. Alcorn played Troy State, and McNair with his magic wand pulled off one of his four comebacks that season. He led Alcorn to a 47-44 upset of then Division 1-AA power and No. 6 Troy by passing for 476 yards and running for another 110 yards. Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney may have summed up McNair best after the game: “He’s the best player on any team in Divison1-A football. He’s that good. He can do more to beat you with his abilities than anyone else I have ever seen. That includes Bo Jackson.” FOOTNOTE: Blakeney coached Jackson at Auburn when he was an assistant coach for the Tigers. 

MHSAA News 

No decision has been made at this time on fall sports from last week’s executive committee meeting. Several options were discussed, but MHSAA is gathering information from their medical partners and will meet again on July 14. 

MHSAA leader Don Hinton announced that he would be retiring on December 31 of this year. The Bay Springs native was appointed MHSAA Executive Director on January 1, 2011. 

Bay Springs native Parker Dykes was laid to rest this week. He was head coach at his alma mater Jones County Junior College for 14 years and won 90 games and two state titles and led JCJC to a National Championship in 1998. 

Dale is a Waynesboro native who has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973. 

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