DEKAULB, Miss. The Kemper Academy football program has a familiar face back as head coach for the upcoming season.
Pete McClesky, who retired after the 2017 football season, has been reunited with the football program. McClesky coached the program for 33 years before retiring after the 2018 season. Now entering his 34th season, he will be taking over an 8-man program that went 3-7 last season. McClesky has been working hard to get the team ready and is excited to watch the game from the sidelines once again.
"I didn't think when I first got out of it I wanted to coach anymore," said McClesky. " I thought 'you know I'm 70 so that's old enough, that's enough time' but then coming and watching a few ball games you sit there and you think 'gosh it's not fun sitting in the bleachers.'"
When McClesky retired, Joe Wofford took over the program as head coach. In the Ram's first three games under Wofford, the team had a 2-1 record after their 44-6 win over Hebron Christian School. Even after a strong start to the season, the Rams struggled to continue producing wins due largely to injuries.
"It was a tough season. We had a small team, bunch of young kids," said running back Matthew Cordar. "A bunch of people got hurt and then we were running low and didn't have any backups. It just didn't add up the way we wanted it to."
Now with their veteran head coach back in the saddle again, the Rams are hoping to bounce back with a better record this season. Quarterback Bryce Mason shared what will be key for the team to improve and hopefully make the playoffs.
"I'm hoping are line will be much better," said Mason. "We just gotta make good decisions, step up in the pocket and throw some good, short passes."
McClesky has already led Kemper Academy to two MAIS 8-man football championships. The team will look to build towards a third championship when they open up against Wilkinson County Christian on Aug. 23.