Nanih Waiya High School Warriors

NANIH WAIYA, Miss. (WCBI) — Nanih Waiya’s best season in school history ended on a disappointing note last year.

The Warriors fell to eventual State Champion Natchez Cathedral on the road to finish 2014. A perfect season up until that point was not overshadowed by one loss but it did result in a major change during the off-season.

CLASS 1A | REGION 3
HEAD COACH: Ryan Keeton
Aug 21 Union home
Aug 28 Clarkdale away
Sept 4 Lake home
Sept 11 Leake County* home
Sept 18 Sebastopol* away
Sept 25 Montgomery County* home
Oct 2 McAdams* away
Oct 9 French Camp* home
Oct 16 Smithville away
Oct 22 Noxapater* away
Oct 30 Durant* home
Nov 6 Ethel* away
*District games

Head coach Tate Hanna decided to step down which opened the door for Pelahatchie defensive coordinator Ryan Keeton to take over as the new head coach of the Warriors.

“It has been great so far,” coach Keeton said. “It’s really good when you can show up on the first day of weights at 6:30am and you have sixty kids in the weight room. You couldn’t ask for more there.

“This is a great opportunity for me. This is a place that has a culture of winning already established. All I have to do is get them to the next level and take them from being a great program to being an elite program.”

Keeton is a disciplined, hard-working football mind that will expect the best out of his team.

His Pelahatchie squads were amongst the best in Class 1A in points allowed on defense, and he expects the same effort and tenacity from his new team at Nanih Waiya.

“What I tell our guys is I look for perfect effort and a perfect attitude every day,” Keeton said. “Every day, I will ask them to be a little bit better from the day before and I hope that will get us over the hump.

“We have great kids with a great work ethic. If we come in here every day and try to get better, that will get us where we need to be.”

Coach Keeton will be without the 1A Player of the Year from last season in Jamarlo Smith to depend on this upcoming season though.

The superstar tailback has graduated along with other talented pieces from the Region 3-1A champions a season ago.

There is plenty that is returning however. Sophomore Chris Smith returns in the backfield along with quarterback Ben Cumberland and star athlete Isaiah Eiland.

Those pieces that are back have Keeton believing it could be a special first season.

“We lost the best player in 1A and I sure would like to have him back,” coach Keeton said. “We have a young back that rushed for 1,000 yards and a couple linemen to go along with our quarterback and leading receiver. There are a lot of pieces in place and once they figure out our system, I think we can have a great shot at continuing the success they’ve already had here.”

Nanih Waiya will start the 2015 season at home versus Union before visiting Clarkdale and hosting Lake to wrap up the non-division slate.