The River Oaks Mustangs will likely find itself in an LHSAA district near you after the Mustangs received word the school would be accepted as an LHSAA member.

River Oaks has been a member of the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools, formerly known as the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, for the last three decades, according to head football coach Robert Hannah.

“I believe Dr. (Tom) Middleton said we joined the league in ’92,” Hannah said. “It kind of shocked me because I found out we were accepted by the LHSAA from a different source. The LHSAA hasn’t contacted us, but we’re excited about it. We’re looking forward to it.”

Hannah, who started coaching as an assistant at River Oaks in 1985 and has been the head coach at the school for two-plus decades, said River Oaks would play an independent schedule in 2020 and then be entered into an LHSAA district in 2021 when the schools undergo realignment.

Hannah said he tentatively has an eight-game schedule for the upcoming regular season, but it is not finalized just yet. Hannah foresaw the move coming and reached out to find opponents who had open dates in an attempt to salvage a 2020 football season.

“I’m hoping this attracts more kids,” Hannah said. “We all want to grow, and it’s a challenge. It’s going to be a challenge for next year’s football team.”

While Hannah looks forward to the new opportunities ahead, River Oaks head football coach admitted he felt somewhat sentimental about the Mustangs’ departure from MSAIS.

“It’s been great for River Oaks,” Hannah said. “We just decided it was time to go in another direction. It’s a challenge for us. We have to work with new people, new staffs. And learn how to work with them.”

Hannah said he hoped to finalize the 2020 schedule soon to share with River Oaks fans.  

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