Long Beach announced the hiring of its newest head football coach this past weekend with a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees.
Petal offensive coordinator Jacob Massey has been tabbed to lead a Bearcats program that is hobbling out of a difficult decade and looking to rebuild itself.
Massey arrives on the Coast having coached at Petal for one year and Amory for six seasons before that, all as offensive coordinator under head coach Allen Glenn.
The Bearcats have struggled in recent years, winning just three games over the past three seasons combined. Long Beach has not won a Region 4-5A game since 2018, riding a 22-game losing streak in its division.
The latest coach to take the reigns knows where the program is and has a plan to revive the school’s fortunes on the field.
“We’re going to get 1 percent better each day,” Massey told the Sun Herald. “Just try to find those small victories within this first year.”
Massey plans to implement competition into the day-to-day process with the student-athletes to give them a taste for winning. The end goal is to produce a team that wins on Friday nights and does so very quickly.
“The goal is to win that first year,” Massey said. “The goal is to make the playoffs by year one and we’re going to hold the kids to that.”
Long Beach competes in the same region as reigning 5A state champions Picayune but the new Bearcat leader arrives fresh out of the toughest region in the state.
Petal fought to a 4-7 record last year in Region 3-6A, competing with state powers Brandon, Pearl, Oak Grove and others. Massey is ready to use that experience coaching against top talent to his advantage on the Coast.
“I’m bringing that experience from playing some of the best players, coaching against some of the best players and coaching against some of the best coaches this state has to offer,” Massey said. “We’re going to experience that week-in and week-out in the division (Long Beach) is in.”
Massey says there’s going to be a talent gap between his school and the stalwarts of the region in Picayune, Moss Point and Gautier, but wants to make up ground with a blue-collar mentality in practice and in the weight room.
The Union, MS, native also hopes to bring a new level of excitement to the program, a factor Superintendent Dr. Talia Lock noted in the school’s press release.
“Not only does he bring extensive knowledge of the game, but he generates a level of excitement that our players really deserve and need,” Lock said. “I am confident he will contribute much to the success of our student athletes on and off the field through his commitment to create a positive culture and climate for them.”
Massey hopes to generate a better game day atmosphere on Friday nights to create a more engaging environment for the school and fans.
“I know we’re not playing college football but we want to put on a first class experience,” Massey said. “From painting the field up to being very well dressed on Friday nights. We want to look the part but we also want to be able to back that up with our play.”
As far as what those fans will see on the field, Massey says the Bearcats will be a run-first team but will put a focus on creating a complimentary passing attack.
Massey coached quarterbacks at each of his last three stops and says identifying the leader of the offense behind center will be the top priority right now.