On most Friday night football games between county rivals New Hope and Caledonia high schools, the stadium exudes excitement and features packed bleachers, the aroma of charcoal grills permeating the air, bands playing fight songs, and cheerleaders keeping the spirit and enthusiasm alive. The 2009 version of this contest was anything but normal.
Louisville High School quarterback Chris Wraggs said his team’s game Friday night against Columbus was exciting because it was sloppy. Wraggs meant the playing field, as rain delayed the start of the game an hour due to the rain, and continued through the first half. The field wasn’t the only aspect of the game that was sloppy.
MADISON — It’s called “The Blind Side.” The book has been made into a soon-to-be-released movie about former University of Mississippi left tackle Michael Oher. The left tackle position is one of the highest paid in the NFL because he protects the quarterback’s blind side. On Friday night late in the third quarter, Heritage Academy senior quarterback Will Swedenburg had the Patriots on the move trailing Madison-Ridgeland Academy 21-3.
MACON — Michael Carr couldn’t look up. With teammate Curtis Virges pensively looking on by his side, standing guard to prevent anyone from entering their space, Carr stared at the turf at Shannon High School. Around him, members of the West Point High School football team tried to digest a 27-20 loss in their season opener Aug. 21.
It is a football game that no West Lowndes player will soon forget. The Panthers won’t forget their 20-0 victory against Wheeler on Friday night not because there were so many storylines. Rain forced the school’s homecoming festivities to be moved into the gym. Then, a two-hour rain delay forced West Lowndes and Wheeler to wait it out and to wonder if they would play.
OKOLONA — Despite a 24-0 lead, Aberdeen High School football team offensive coordinator Kris Pickle had a spirited meeting with his offense late in the third quarter Friday night. Unhappy with his offensive line in particular after three unproductive offensive possessions in the quarter, Pickle didn’t mince words with his charges.
WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team finally found someone it could push around, and it just happened to be the other private school in Clay County. After rain forced Oak Hill Academy to hold its homecoming ceremonies in its gym, the Raiders defeated Hebron Christian 14-0 Friday night in sopping conditions.
The defending Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state champions have survived every test this season against teamss that are in higher classifications. The Noxubee County High School football team will get another chance to extend that streak at 7:30 tonight against Class 5A West Point High School. The Tigers (4-0) have swept Class 6A schools Starkville, Columbus, Jackson Murrah, and Greenville-Weston.
Coming off big wins last week, the Immanuel Christian and Victory Christian football teams will try to keep their momentum going tonight. Immanuel (1-3) will play host to Winona Christian, while Victory Christian (4-0) will play host to Victory Baptist. Both games will start at 7 p.m. Immanuel coach Shawn Gates, who earned his first career victory as a head coach last week, said everybody on the team, including the coaches, has been doing their part to try to help the team continue its winning ways.
Bobby Berry and Brad Butler had nights they would like to forget last Friday. The Philadelphia High School football team broke out to a 48-0 halftime lead en route to a 48-16 victory against West Lowndes, while the Lamar School used its passing attack to torch Heritage Academy 49-12. Both coaches will try to get their programs back on track tonight. The West Lowndes Panthers (3-1) will play host to Wheeler at 7:30, while the Heritage Academy Patriots travels to Madison Ridgeland Academy (7).
The New Hope High School football team will get back to work tonight against an opponent that is sure to get it primed for the start of district play. The Trojans (2-0) return from a bye week at 7:30 tonight looking to extend a winning streak when they take on county rival Caledonia (0-3). New Hope has won the past four meetings in the series. Caledonia’s 14-10 victory in 2004 is the program’s only victory in the series, dating back to 1995.
SULLIGENT, Ala. — Jimmy Lann delivered his best effort on one of the best nights to be a Lamar County Bulldog. The senior had a sack that led to a touchdown and two more key defensive plays in the final five minutes Friday night to help Lamar County defeat Sulligent 21-20 in a Class 2A, Region 7 matchup at Brown Stadium. The victory was the first for the Bulldogs (4-0) against the Blue Devils (2-2) since a 45-20 victory in 2005. It also marks the program’s best start in more than 15 years.
The “preseason” is nearly over. That’s why Columbus High School football coach Bubba Davis is excited about his team’s matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Class 4A Louisville High.
ABERDEEN — Fernando Davis has a good memory when it comes to football scores. Davis recalls plenty of results from his playing days at the University of Alabama. But Davis can go back even before that and show off an impressive ability to recall the smallest details from his career as a linebacker at Aberdeen High School.
Three weeks after kicking off the season against one rival, the Lamar County High School football team will play another Thursday night. Lamar County beat South Lamar 61-20 in its season opener and is completing its game plan for its matchup at 7 p.m. Thursday against Sulligent. “It kind of gets you started off right,” Lamar County coach Ken Adams said of the rivalry games. “There’s always a respect factor with either team, but there’s probably more intensity when it comes to the Sulligent game. Nobody here wants to lose to South Lamar, but the community gets even more intense when it comes to the Sulligent game.”
MABEN — A clogged running lane or a solitary tackler isn’t enough to stand in Josh Poe’s way. If he wants to get to the end zone, he will find a way. Such was the dilemma for the West Oktibbeha High School running back Friday night in overtime against Noxapeter.
STARKVILLE — Black, blue, and green. If West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless had his way, he would rely on a handful of plays and his offensive line and pound away on opponents. When you have a stable of running backs and a shifty quarterback, it’s easy to keep the ball on the ground. On Friday night, West Point used a bruising first-half effort and rolled up 269 yards rushing en route to a 33-13 victory against Starkville.
CALEDONIA — The Nettleton High School football team approached its game Friday against Caledonia with a game plan. Coach Jack Clark knew coming in that the Tigers to wear out the Confederates up front before they could run the football. He said he drilled his team harder on being physical to help his players move the Confederates up front. The strategy paid off in the third quarter as the Tigers shut down the Confederates’ momentum en route to a 29-7 victory.
WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team held its own against Leake Academy on Friday night, trailing by 12 points at halftime. But the Rebels exploded in the third quarter to quell any thoughts of a Raider comeback and went on to a 38-7 victory. “We came out and played with a sense of urgency,” said Leake Academy coach Billy Pickens, who felt his team was satisfied with a two-touchdown lead. “That’s what we talked about at halftime, coming out with urgency and the impact play.”
MERIDIAN — Heritage Academy first-year football coach Brad Butler walked up to a fan after Friday night’s game against the Lamar School and said, “Mama said there were going to be days like this.” Friday night was a day Butler would just as soon forget, as the Patriots suffered a 49-12 thrashing at the hands of top-ranked Lamar School at Grey Cobb Field. Senior quarterback Witt Haggard and wide receiver Bo Bidgood combined for four touchdown passes to hand the Patriots their first loss in four games this season.
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