Melrose High School is looking to build upon a successful season under second-year head coach Derrick Bobo.
The backdrop includes the glory days when the school consistently competed for state championships and last season’s 9-2 record, which began with four straight wins. The season ended with a 42-32 loss to Obion County in the first round of the state playoffs.
As for the biggest lesson he learned from last season, Bobo said, “For me being a young head coach, I have to have patience with these young men. I have to understand we all have one common goal and we are not going to meet that goal or expectation on day one. We have to continue to believe in these young men and chop wood and continue to be a great leader.”
Asked if the success last season helped in recruiting, Bobo said, “Yes and no. Success made some people get lazy, but success opened the eyes of some, and they wanted to part of the success.”
The team has seven players returning on offense, with six starters returning on defense.
The Golden Wildcats’ will depend heavily on the offensive side of the ball this season. Junior running back Ryan Brown will be the work horse again. He led the city in rushing last season with 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. Sadat Muhammad 20 touchdowns (and 4 interceptions).
The offensive line will feature senior center Irving Jackson and Kaiden Harris, the six-foot, 275-pound junior guard.
Cameron Miller, a 5’11” 160-pound safety, will be the defensive leader. According to Bobo, Miller has a high football IQ, is physical and represents the Melrose brand of football. Lonnie Tate, a junior linebacker, had over 100 tackles last season.
With a small roster, Bobo and his staff will have to make judicious use of two-way players.
“The thing about a skill guy is he is going to run all day. We have to elevate it on which guys can play both ways and in what situations. When we get to the playoffs, we have created some depth and we don’t have to play as many players both ways.”
Melrose was undefeated last season in Shelby County. The season starts for the Golden Wildcats on Aug. 18 against the East Mustangs.
“I think we are right where we need to be,” said Bobo. “The boys are excited. I am excited. I am trying to keep everyone focused and locked in. I am trying to create brotherhood and a culture and a mission of excellence, so we can get to our goal. That is a state championship.”