Football Radio Network to begin 11th season with new play-by-play voice Breck Riley

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*Story from Steve Dfifey with HolmesAthletics.com.

The Holmes Community College Football Radio Network will begin its 11th season on Sept. 2 with the season opener in Goodman against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at 6:30 p.m.

The partnership consists of radio stations (WLIN 101.1 FM in Kosciusko, WYAB 103.9 FM in Flora and WQXB 100.1 FM in Grenada) and reaches over one million listeners.

WLIN (101.1 FM) covers Attala, Holmes, Montgomery and Carroll counties and reaches to 101,812 people. WYAB (103.9 FM) covers Madison, Hinds and Rankin counties and reaches to 550,657 people while WQXB (100.1 FM) located in Grenada, covers Grenada, Carroll, Montgomery, Webster, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Leflore, Calhoun, Yalobusha, Panola and Lafayette counties and serves 357,487 people.

Fans will notice a change in the booth this season as longtime Voice of the Bulldogs Josh West, who provided play-by-play for the last 13 seasons, will not be there. Veteran broadcaster Breck Riley of Kosciusko will take over these duties and will be joined by color commentator Cliff Barker of Flora, who has done commentary for the Bulldogs the last two seasons.

Riley got into radio in 2013 as color commentary for the Kosciusko High School Whippets in 2013 and became the voice of the Whippets in 2015 after taking over the morning show on Breezy 101 in Kosciusko in December 2014. He is currently the host of the Breckfast Show on Breezy 101, News and Sports Director for Boswell Media and continues his 9th year as play-by-play voice for Kosciusko football.

Over the years, he has called Kosciusko baseball, softball, soccer and basketball and filled in some play-by-play and color commentary roles for Holmes’ basketball and football over the years.

Riley was recently named the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Radio Personality of the Year for 2020. He was named the Associated Press Mississippi Radio Newsperson of the Year in 2016 and was the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors Best Radio Reporter for 2017-2019 and served as president of the group and on the board in 2019-20.

He holds an associate’s degree from Holmes Community College, where he was a member of the tennis team and was named Academic All-American during the 2007-08 season. He has a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University in physical education with an emphasis on sports communications.

Barker begins his third year as color commentator for the Bulldogs. He is also in his sixth year doing color for Tri-County Academy in Flora.

He holds an associate’s degree from Holmes and a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Mississippi State University and an occupational therapy degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Barker was on the cheer team at Holmes for two years.

He coached football for seven years at Tri-County and is in his second year as head coach of the shooting team for the Rebels.

“I’m excited,” Riley said. “I’m always excited about football season. It’s my favorite sport and my favorite sport to broadcast. We are ready to go and get in that routine.”

“I’ve had a relationship with Holmes for a while doing what I do,” Riley said. “I’ve called some basketball games and football games. Holmes is a top notch program and athletic program to work with. As a former athlete, it’s fun to come back and be in another part of the athletic program. I would have never thought when I was here I would be coming back to do ballgames for Holmes.”

Holmes is known for the flexbone offense across the country. The Kosciusko Whippets ran the option or flexbone a few seasons back, and Riley is very familiar with the concept.

“It is a different look,” Riley said. “You don’t see it much anymore. I think it’s an exciting offense to watch, but I really like it.

“It’s a lot of repetition or what I’ve been heard it called ‘smoke and mirror offense’. It’s the same look every time, but you can do a lot of things with it. It’s tough for defense to know what’s coming and also tough for the comentators, and it provides a unique challenge.”

Riley said fans will notice that he’s always prepared for broadcasts having researched the players, coaches and opposing team.

“I can tell you there’ll be no one more researched than me,” Riley said. “I’ve still not run into anyone who does as much research as I do. That might not come through all the time because you use two percent of what you research, and the game may not allow you to say some of things you’ve researched.”

He said high school and college athletes are known by their nicknames more than their given names and those may come into play during the contest. “It helps us remember player names and numbers because some players only go by their nicknames. Hopefully you’ll be entertained and you’ll learn about Holmes and football.”

“It’ll be interesting with new blood in the booth when every game I’ve called has been with Josh except for one season at Tri-County,” Barker said. “Josh and I probably have in excess of 100 ball games together. Getting to know Breck will be a new adventure. He’s a guy who has experience in this business, and I think it will be interesting to learn the tempo and the spacing that it’s going to take with a different person. There’s no way that Breck and Josh are going ot be exactly alike.”

“We treat is like a conversation in the booth,” he said of games broadcasted with West. “It comes naturally and works well. It just feels like a couple of buddies watching a game together. You slide in and find that comfort zone that allows you to become a part of the broadcast and not take away from the action on the field.”

“Football is football no matter what level you play,” Barker said. “I feel like I add some knowledge and background as far as dissecting why teams do the things they do. I can see some things you may not see from the sidelines or stands.”

“I enjoy it because I feel in the Mississippi Jucos we see some awesome talent on the field on Thursday nights,” he said. “You have some great athletes out there, and it’s a lot of fun to not only call the games but to see the level of talent on the Mississippi JUCO teams.”

“It’s just a great farm system,” he added of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference. “You see the guys play at this level play not only at Holmes but at all the other schools and see them move on to Division I football.

“It’s also fun to come back to the place that I did spend two years. It’s nice to relive some old memories and also to see the changes that have happened and the improvements and advancements that have been done on campus. It’s also good to get back and enjoy the smalltown feel of football on campus in Goodman.”

Due to COVID-19, the Bulldogs only played five games last year, and Barker is ready for some normalcy. “I’m just hoping to have two normal seasons this year,” he said of Holmes and Tri-County games “After all the turmoil we had, I want to see two normal seasons. I like that it becomes routine (Holmes on Thursday and TCA on Friday). That’ll be exciting, and I hope that is how things work out.”

Riley said he’s pleased Boswell Media Sports and Holmes Community College are able to provide the large-reaching network for the fans. “It’s really important and serves as a recruiting tool. We almost have the entire state covered. As far as the network, I think it’s unique. I don’t know of any other community college that has a network like we have.”

You can follow the Bulldogs at Facebook.com/HolmesAthletics and at Twitter.com/HolmesAthletics.

Selected games will also be live streamed at holmesccmedia.com. You can follow all sports at holmesathletics.com.

2021 Holmes Community College Football Schedule

Thurs., Sept. 2 vs. Gulf Coast, 6:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 9 at Hinds, 6:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 16 vs Northwest, 6:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 23 at East Miss., 7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 30 vs. Coahoma, 6:30 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 7 at Pearl River, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 14 at Itawamba, 6:30 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 21 vs. Miss. Delta, 3 p.m. (Homecoming)
Thurs., Oct. 28 at Northeast, 6:30 p.m.

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