If it does nothing else this season, Mississippi Valley State has already done something its football program hasn’t done since most of its team was in elementary school.
Saturday’s 20-14 win over Bethune-Cookman was its second in a row. The victory in Daytona gave the program its first win streak since 2012.
“It was a big win for us. We went down there and played those guys on homecoming,” Mississippi Valley State head coach Vincent Dancy said on Monday’s SWAC media call. “They gave us everything that they could give and we was able to capitalize late in the fourth quarter and, you know, it was a great game and it’s a good feeling.
“It was good. It was man. It was good to win.”
Now Dancy and his team will welcome a team that knows a lot about winning. Alcorn State will make the two-and-a-half hour trek north to take on Mississippi Valley.
“I look forward to it and we got Alcorn this week, an in-state rivalry and it is big,” Dancy said. “It’s a big game for us for not only just the game. For recruiting, bragging rights — it’s everything to us. So we got our hands full with a good football team and we gotta just come out and play mistake-free football, and play the Valley Way.”
Dancy said he looks up to Alcorn State head coach Fred McNair, whom he called “an honorable man.”
“Every time I see him, we always have great conversations. And when you got a man like that leading young men, you expect great things for those young men,” he said. “And you could tell by the way, he’s built that program. And year-after-year they’ve been champions, they play like champions. They’re resilient and overall they just got a good football team.”
The respect is mutual as McNair said he admires what Dancy has done with the program despite limitations both real and perceived.
“I just credit to him for what he’s done with that program up at Valley since he’d been there. Had a great turnaround,” he said. “Unfortunately you don’t get as many scholarships as other schools, but he always does a great job with that program, with the limited scholarships that he’s got. But, you know, we got to play and I told the guys this morning during the team meeting — it won’t be easy for us.”
Dancy, a former Jackson State standout, has always taken pride in the way his team has fought. Now he’s starting the see the players see what he has seen all along.
“I’ve been around coaching 14 years now. I could see a good team. I know a good team when I see one. But I think they had to finally see themselves as being good. Believe in themselves. And I think — having some success — that helps anybody believe in themselves.”
“You know, at the end of the day — like I said — we, we just got to keep playing, you know. Trust in each other, becoming that one team that I know that we are. Like I say every week, I believe in this team. I believe in these young men.