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MMI Tigers

Classification: AISA 1A, West region

2004 record: n/a

Outlook: New MMI head coach Lamar Frith has started his first season in Marion somewhat haphazardly. But it’s not his fault.

“We’ve still got kids coming in,” he says. “We had five come in yesterday, and we’ve got more starting tomorrow.”

Thanks to classes that start later than their opponents’ and a student body that filters in from across the country, MMI won’t have a fixed roster until just before their opening game against powerful Southern Academy. But there’s good news, too: Frith’s arrival has helped spike interest in the team, which already has more players on its roster than any MMI squad in recent memory.

Amongst those are a number of seniors and outstanding athletes that will give an MMI a fighting shot against nearly all of the opponents on the Tigers’ schedule.

“Our senior leadership is our biggest asset,” Frith says. “We’ve also got some pretty good athletes here.”

One of them is cat-quick senior quarterback Jovaris Smith, the key figure in MMI’s attack.

“He’s doing a real good job,” Frith says.

But Smith is far from the only senior making an impact on offense. His basketball teammate Kendrick Moore is set to start at tailback; senior Anthony Miree will fill the fullback position; Wendell Crews will start at strong guard; Sam Green will play first-string tackle; and Andrew Alexander is MMI’s starting tight end.

It’s a good thing MMI will have that much senior talent on the field, because their bench–and some of the starting positions as well–will be filled with freshmen. The fourteen first-year players represent a big step forward for the future of MMI’s program, but Frith acknowledges that the Tigers’ need to rely on them could be a weakness.

Still, Frith is pleased with the team’s development and is hoping MMI can develop al lthe way int oa post-season team.

“We’re sort of getting down to the nitty-gritty now,” he says. “What we’re looking for is to improve after every game.We want the young guys to improve after each game, and we’d like to make the playoffs…that’s our goal.”