‘It’s a gold mine’: Green sees unlimited potential for football at Madison Parish

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Milton Green is not shy about the potential he sees in Madison Parish High School’s football program.

“It’s a gold mine,” he said.

Like a gold mine, though, it’s going to take some hard work and digging to strike it rich.

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The Jaguars are coming off a 2-7 season in 2021, and a five-year stretch in which they’ve won a total of seven games. Green, in his second season as head coach, is starting from scratch with a crop of young players — only six seniors are on the 45-man roster — and a long-term plan for success.

“We’ve got new kids that have bought into the program but have never really played football before,” Green said. “It’s a lot of athletes in Tallulah. Tallulah is one of those cities that is rich in talent but has never really been exposed to it. It’s a gold mine waiting to happen. It’s a new day in Madison.”

Green entered the 2021 season with 45 players on the roster and finished with 18, after COVID and eligibility issues decimated the roster.

The Jaguars still were competitive in more games than not, though. Only two of their seven losses were by more than 14 points and they scored a 38-36 road upset of playoff-bound Rayville.

“We went 2-7 but we lost a lot of kids to eligibility. We took major steps. Every game we played in, we had the lead. We upset Rayville. So we took major steps with a team with 18 players,” said Green, who was an assistant coach at Vicksburg High School in 2016. “We gained a lot of respect. But in year two we are rebuilding the program. We added a JV team this year for the first time.”

The new approach goes well beyond a new group of players. The facilities at Madison, which opened in the early 2000s, have recently undergone a $3.4 million upgrade.

Green praised the entire community in Tallulah, from the city’s leadership to the school and school district’s administration, for its support.

“The city invested over $3.4 million into these kids’ future — not just football, but all of the sports and for the youth,” Green said. “We’ve got a peewee program with three or four teams. This is big to get the community to gel together and know that we are behind the kids.”

Green is also trying to bring a fresh mindset to the football program. He’s retooled the coaching staff and conjured up a slogan to remind his players what he’s looking for.

“We believe in MTXE — that is mental toughness, extra effort,” he said, pointing to the letters that are as prevalent on the Jaguars’ workout gear as their school logo. “We’re not looking to spread the ball around and be all pretty. We’re all about the grind of football, teaching the fundamentals, and being a good teammate.”

The current phase of Green’s rebuilding job is the summer, which has included both workouts and 7-on-7 scrimmages. The Jaguars visited Warren Central in June for one 7-on-7 session and then played Louisiana rival General Trass the following week.

They’ll play a preseason jamboree on Aug. 26 in New Orleans, and the season opener is at home on Sept. 2 against Lincoln Prep.

The summer activities, Green said, are as important for seeing other teams — and how the good ones do things — as it is honing their own skills. He hopes that seeing how successful programs operate will give his players an idea of what they need to do to emulate them.

“It gives us three steps ahead of the competition,” Green said. “We’re going against Warren Central, which is one of the best programs in Mississippi. This is the best thing for us is to get a look like this. We’re playing 4A competition, 3A competition, and for us being a 2A school we should be ready now to compete on our level.”

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 139-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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