By CHUCK HATHCOCK
It’s just 67 days until the Kirk Raiders take to the field for the opening of the 2014 football season.
Coming off a 2-8 mark last season, second-year coach John McCrory hopes his team can make improvement against another tough schedule.
The Raiders will take 31 players into preseason workouts July 30. Less than a month after that, they open the regular season at Holly Springs against Marshall Academy.
This will mark the end of the two-year reclassification period. Next season, all Mississippi Association of Independent School will be looking at new schedules. Kirk is expected to stay in Class AA. There will be a new Class 4A for the 2015-16 school year. It will affect the biggest schools in District 1-AA this season, moving them to Class AAA. Indianola, North Delta and Clarksdale Lee could move up.
“Once again, it’s a very challenging schedule for our guys,” McCrory said. “Two of our opponents had double-digit wins. Five of them made the postseason.”
Kirk begins the 2014 season with a trip to Holly Springs to face 2013 Class A runnerup Marshall Academy. The Patriots finished 12-2 last season. Sam Pearson takes over the reins of the program from Bart Jenkins.
Week 2 Lee Academy of Marianna, Ark. comes to Grenada for the Raiders’ home opener. Kirk won a 44-0 decision over the Cougars last season. Lee was winless last season.
Week 3 brings a visit from rival Winona Christian. The Stars were 7-4 last season. They enter 2014 with a new coach. Former Winona High School head man Ken Chandler will lead the Stars this season.
Kirk continues District 1-AA play the next weekend with the short trek to Batesville to face North Delta. The Green Wave finished 5-5 last season. ND won a 45-27 decision over Kirk in Grenada last season.
The lone AAA team on the schedule, Pillow, comes to Grenada in Week 5.