Rebul marches on, will field team in 2005|[7/01/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2005

LEARNED – The rumored demise of Rebul Academy is just that, a rumor. New headmaster and head football coach Paul Kirchharr confirmed that the Mississippi Private School Association member will open its doors for the the fall semester, beginning Aug. 8.

The Raiders will also field a football team which is good news for the likes of District 4-A rivals Porters Chapel Academy and Sharkey-Issaquena.

Kirchharr is no stranger to the area having been the head coach for one season at SIA in 2003. He comes to Rebul after one season at Amite School Center.

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“It seems like the biggest rumor since school let out was whether Rebul would merge with Hillcrest,” Kirchharr said. “Hillcrest wanted to combine but our board told them no.”

So the school will open and the football team will begin fall practice on July 25.

“We’re looking forward to a great school year. We’re hoping to grow academically and we hope to add new classes,” said Kirchharr who expects at least 150 students will enroll this fall.

This will be Kirchharr’s first headmaster’s job and that was a determining factor in accepting the coaching position, despite the persistent rumors the school was closing.

“Initially, I declined the offer, because I was concerned. But the board came back after a month or so and really wanted me. The good lord has sent us here and I can’t say no to him.”

Football wise, Kirchharr says the Raiders will be a work in progress. His team at SIA went 7-3 – earning Kirchharr the Vicksburg Post’s Area Coach of the Year award – but he says he’s not yet sure what the Raiders will run on either offense or defense.

“I didn’t come in until late May. I know we’ve got between 18-to-20 players and only three of those are seniors. We’ve got some good-looking kids and I like their work ethic, which I think means a lot. But do we have four or five true defensive linemen to play a four or-five man front? I don’t know.”

When two-a-days start in late July, he’ll have a better idea. The Raiders will not play in a preseason jamboree. They open the season on Aug. 19 at home against Union Academy.

“We’ve got a lot of learning to do. We play in a tough conference with Tri-County, Veritas, Porters Chapel and Sharkey.”

Union Academy out of Georgetown is another school that was on the verge of closing but Kirchharr said he heard that the school was remaining open.

As for the Raiders’ basketball program, Richard Elam will be back to guide the Lady Raiders while Bill Ferguson, a judge from Raymond, will coach the boys team.