LOUISVILLE – It was a great start to the first game of the coach M.C. Miller era at Louisville High School.
The ending left much to be desired.
In jumping out to a 14-0 lead against Northwest Rankin, Miller saw some good things out of the Wildcats.
Louisville couldn't sustain it.
Miller said the Wildcats found out that the situation wasn't going to be as easy as first seemed and nothing was going to be handed to them. Instead, Louisville ended up handing Northwest Rankin a 22-14 victory.
"It seemed like we got tired or got the big head and lightened up," Miller said. "We committed turnovers and that hurt us. We made about four or five turnovers and let them back into the ballgame."
The Wildcats look to bounce back at home Friday when they take on the rival Starkville Yellowjackets. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Miller left Noxubee County after a run of success that included capturing the Class 4A state championship in 2008 for the chance to coach in his hometown of Louisville.
"The community has been real supportive and it's great to be home," Miller said. "I didn't think it would ever happen, but you never know. God knows best. We just have to keep working and whatever happens just let it happen and do the best we can."
One of the main hurdles Miller must clear during his first season with the Wildcats is developing the depth needed to hold leads like the one they had against Northwest Rankin.
Miller said the heat and humidity took a toll on his squad in the first game. He's trying to find a way to address the problem, but knows it's not a quick fix.
"The lack of depth hurt us," Miller said. "We hope to get it better and better as time goes on. What we're playing for right now is getting them ready to play and in shape so maybe by district time, we'll be ready to play.
"Even though it's going to be cooler this week, you can't get in condition in one week. We haven't
been able to push like we should because it's been so hot."
With that to consider, this may not be the best time for Louisville to go up against what Miller believes is an improved Starkville team under coach Jamie Mitchell.
Miller expects an interesting game between two schools with strong football traditions.
"I just know that Starkville always has good athletes and by getting Jamie Mitchell, I know they've got a good coach," Miller said. "We've been watching them on film and they have a real good football team and they are very physical. They have good players with quarterback (in Jaquez Johnson) and good linemen.
"We don't know what we're going to do because we're struggling here trying to get it together. Coach Mitchell is trying to get it together there, but they played Noxubee County a good game and I know it's a game they probably felt they should have won."
After losing to Noxubee County 30-0 to open the 2009 season, the Jackets were more competitive against the Tigers before dropping a 14-7 decision last Friday.