For the time being, there will be a Broad Street High School and John F. Kennedy High School as a local judge granted a stay to JFK United preventing the merger of the two high schools to form North Side High School until the case is heard by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The decision was handed down on July 31. With the stay, the Broad Street High School Jaguars and the John F. Kennedy Hornets will be getting ready for the upcoming sports season. Both teams started football practice on July 30 in preparation for the season.
A full time head football coach has not been hired at JFK yet but Marcellus Chatman, 38, is the interim head football coach for the Hornets.
Tavares Johnson is the head football coach for the Broad Street Jaguars and is also the athletic director for the North Bolivar Consolidated School District.
Johnson has a stellar career record as a head football coach. Johnson, who is entering his 14th season as a head coach and first with Broad Street, has a career record of 98-58 with 10 playoffs appearances. He coached the Simmons Blue Devils to 1A State Championships in 2015 and 16 and led the Blue Devils to the 2A State Football Playoffs in 2014. He was also the head coach at JFK in 2005, and East Side from 2006-11 where he led the Trojans to five trips to the 3A State Playoffs with a Region 4-3A Title and a trip to the 3A North Half Title game in 2011. He was the head coach for two seasons at Vicksburg High School before going to Simmons. He was the head coach at Gentry last year as the Rams went 3-8.
Chatman has been with JFK since 2004. He served as head coach of the junior high team for eight years from 2010-17, leading the Hornets to four undefeated seasons. He also had a 12-year stint as an assistant football coach on the high school team from 2004-15. Chatman played two years of college ball at Delta State from 1999-2000 and was a member of the DSU team that won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2000.
Chatman said coaching the team was a challenge in the beginning.
“The biggest adversity was dealing with this school merger and keeping my kids focused and keeping them mentally and physically prepared for the football season,” Chatman said.
Chatman said he’s had as many as 24 players in practice. He is proud of the effort the players have shown in practice.
“Our kids have had deal with some things that other districts aren’t having to deal with as far as the going back and forth on if they’re going to have one high school or two but our guys have been focused. It’s been pretty good given the adversity they’ve faced. We’re slowly working our kids into helmets and shoulder pads.”
Chatman added the he is still trying to work out the football schedule for the upcoming year. Broad Street and JFK will both start school on Aug. 16.
Efforts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful by press time, but school officials confirmed Broad Street has had approximately over 20 players report for practice.