Monday morning quarterback: East Webster vs. Choctaw County

Joel Coleman
Staff Writer

Here we are again. It’s the first Starkville Daily News Monday Morning Quarterback of the 2017 season.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to dedicate this space this week to offering a sincere congratulations to the fans and administrators of both East Webster and Choctaw County. I know we’re only one game into the year, but after what I got to see on Friday night in Cumberland, I’m pretty sure both schools made outstanding hires with their new head football coaches.

East Webster’s Ron Price and Choctaw County’s Ben Ashley each debuted with their respective new schools on Friday. Price’s Wolverines topped Ashley’s Chargers 14-12 in a game that came down to the final minute. In the months and years to come though, my early opinion is that both football programs will be winners.

For starters, Price fits right in at East Webster. To watch him interact with his players and the fan base, you’d think he’d been there for six years instead of six months. As for the Wolverines themselves, they’re happy to have Price.

“He’s awesome,” East Webster quarterback Charlie Brand said of Price. “I like how much he loves football. You can say that about any football coach, but he truly would stay (at the football office) all night. He’ll be here all day (on this past Saturday and Sunday) just because of how much he loves it. He’s easy to play for.”

Price is equally as happy to be in Cumberland.

“I told (former East Webster principal Bill Brand) when he came up to me (after Friday’s game), 'Thank you for this opportunity,’” Price said. “This is what I needed. It’s just a group of kids that battles. They are tough kids that don’t talk back when you ask them to do something. We won the football game (Friday) because our kids never gave up. As a coach, that’s a relief. It’s not like this everywhere and I’ve tried to tell our community and our kids that. There is something special about East Webster and I’m thankful that I’m getting to experience this and be a part of it. We want to continue to try, as hard as it may be, to make it even better than it has ever been.”

Price is off to a strong start in accomplishing that goal.

Though Ashley’s record is currently 0-1, it seems pretty apparent to this mediocre sportswriter’s eyes that the Chargers are in a similar spot of strength as East Webster.

Like Price, Ashley seems to have fit in well over in Ackerman. Choctaw County quarterback Austin Telano told me last week that he has never seen a football coach as excited as Ashley has been to lead the Chargers.
That excitement is apparent when you talk to Ashley. That exuberance will go a long way towards building the football team he wants.

Perhaps Ashley’s best characteristic is his persistence. That much was apparent on Friday following the Chargers’ tough loss.

“I’m a stubborn dude and I’m fat and ugly,” Ashley said. “Only reason (my wife) is with me is because I’m persistent. That’s all I know in life, so we’ll keep on working.”

I have no clue what the immediate future holds for Price and Ashley. It takes time for football coaches to build programs the way they want them. East Webster is young in many spots, and so is Choctaw County. That might lead to some early growing pains for both coaches.

However, if I was a betting man, it won’t take but a year or two, if that, before both the Wolverines and Chargers are off and running.

So again, congratulations to everyone associated with the East Webster and Choctaw County football programs. I really believe you’ve gotten good ones. It’s going to be a great amount of fun to see just how high Price and Ashley can take the Wolverines and Chargers.

Joel Coleman is the Mississippi State writer for the Starkville Daily News. The views in this column are Coleman's and not necessarily the views of the SDN or its staff.