School Spotlight: Jefferson Davis County High School (Bassfield, MS)

Jefferson Davis County High School is a class 3A school located in Bassfield, Mississippi. The Jefferson Davis County Jaguars were established in 2017 after the closing and consolidation of the other two high schools within the county. While Jefferson Davis County is a new name, the school has a dominant winning culture at the previous Bassfield High School (8 state championships, 65% games won from 1948-2017). Since their conception in 2017, the Jaguars have held an impressive overall record of 58-25 (70%), 3 district championships, and 3 state championships under Head Football Coach Lance Mancuso.

Head football coach and Athletic Director at Jefferson Davis County, Lance Mancuso, has an extensive coaching record that essentially can speak for itself. Mancuso started coaching after graduating from Southern Mississippi with a Master’s Degree. He held multiple assistant coaching positions before landing the head coaching job at Richton High School in 1998. After Richton, Mancuso moved on to Seminary High School for 5 seasons. In 2003, Seminary High School went a perfect 15-0, winning the 2A State Championship under head coach Mancuso. He moved to Poplarville from 2005-2007 before landing the head coaching job at Bassfield High School. Under coach Mancuso, Bassfield won state championships in 2009, then four consecutive from 2012-2016. District champions in every season at Bassfield except for 2014. Mancuso stayed on as head coach at the new Jefferson Davis County High School when Bassfield and Prentiss consolidated in 2017.

In the first season at the new high school, Mancuso lead his Jaguars to a 15-1 record, winning the 2017 3A State Championship. Jefferson Davis County was crowned champs again in 2019 and 2021. It is clear what the expectations are in Bassfield, Mississippi. The Jaguars have a standard that the coaches expect of them inside the classroom, off the field, and on the field – The players abide by this standard.

“That is the foundation we laid a long time ago, and we are true to that. We don’t take any shortcuts, we don’t make any excuses – the standard is the standard. All of our guys understand that coming up from the middle school to the high school. They all understand that there is no lowering the bar.”

Lance Mancuso

The Jefferson Davis County Jaguars performed well last season with a young team leading the way. With a team filled with returning starters, they hope this team can have great success on and off the field. Coach Mancuso was able to discuss a few players he wanted to highlight for the upcoming season:

No. 2, cornerback Dee Darby is listed at 5’10” 157 pounds. Darby is a player that stepped up for the Jaguars last season. He is a lightening fast corner that is capable of keeping up with any receiver because of his 4.4 40-speed. Coaches at Jefferson Davis County expect great things from this young man in the upcoming season.

no. 2 CB – Dee Darby

No. 10, linebacker Kameron Brown is listed at 5’9″ 172 pounds. Brown is a three sport athlete that competes in baseball and basketball as well. Coach Mancuso stated that Brown is “a very talented young man that should have a very big year.”

no. 10 LB – Kameron Brown

No. 16, quarterback Eli Viniard is listed at 6’1″ 175 pounds. Viniard is potentially one of the best pure passers that has come through Jefferson Davis County. Eli throws the football with great velocity and accuracy. He will be a big time player and contributor to the Jaguars from behind center this upcoming season with high expectations.

no. 16 QB – Eli Viniard

While Jefferson Davis County High School won their district in 2022, they are not completely satisfied with the results. Coach Mancuso believes that this team can reach their full potential this upcoming season. The Jaguars will have experienced players on the field and plan on continuing the dominance they have had in class 3A.