Redoing MAIS schedule an arduous undertaking

Published 10:20 am Thursday, August 6, 2015

Have you ever opened a box, put something together, and then at the end of the project noticed a few important-looking parts lying on the ground?

That’s probably what David Drake, the Associate Director of Activities and Technology for the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, felt like last week when it became apparent that St. Aloysius, Cathedral and Greenville-St. Joseph were leaving the Mississippi High School Activities Association and moving into his organization.

Drake is the guy at the MAIS who puts together the master football schedule for its 90 football-playing schools. Unlike in the MHSAA, where teams and regions arrange their own schedules, all of the MAIS teams have theirs done through the central office.

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This is normally an arduous process done every two years — opponents switch home and away dates during each classification cycle — and completed in February. It takes a couple of months to nail everything down.

Well, that’s how it usually happens.

When the three Catholic schools joined in the waning days of July, a lot of that meticulous planning had to be thrown out the window. Drake is a Christian man, but I think he could be forgiven if he said a few off-color words upon receiving the news.

In the span of a week, Drake and the MAIS staff reconfigured the schedules of dozens of teams. Some opponents had to be swapped, other dates of games changed. Since schools regularly play opponents in different classifications, even teams that weren’t playing one of the three new schools were affected.

Porters Chapel, for instance, isn’t playing St. Al but had two of its district opponents on the schedule. Central Hinds and Hartfield Academy had to squeeze St. Al in somewhere, so their games with PCA were moved or cancelled. That, in turn, led to another game somewhere else being moved or cancelled, and so on.

Early indications are that Drake pulled off the impossible. In talking to coaches at St. Al, Porters Chapel and Central Hinds about their revised schedules Wednesday, they all seemed satisfied. A remarkable amount of matchups were kept the same, even if the dates got thrown into a blender.

If someone isn’t happy, it’s not likely they’ll complain. They all seem to realize the difficult task Drake was handed, and that he deserves a round of applause for finishing it in a ridiculously short amount of time.

“I wouldn’t have wanted that job,” Central Hinds coach Lance Teasley said.

Nor would I.

Ernest Bowker can be reached at 601-619-7120, or via email at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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