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franklin county times

Football fever is reaching its preseason peak

By Staff
August 13, 2004
By Marty Stamper / EMG Sports Assistant
Quite a few folks I've spoken to this week are getting more and more like kids in early December… only they aren't waiting on Santa Claus.
And the good news is they don't have to be good to get their reward.
What has them all in a tizzy is the fact that football season is just days away.
The Mississippi Private School Association members get their show on the road on Aug. 20 with regular season games. Some will play in jamborees this week.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association members don't get their regular seasons started until Aug. 26-27, but many of those teams will be participating in jamborees on Aug. 20.
In previous years, MHSAA teams could play in a jamboree, but it counted against their total number of games. Now, those early season scrimmages with other schools won't count against the schedule… but don't forget to send in 15 percent of the gate receipts (after paying the officials) to the MHSAA.
You didn't really think they could have these scrimmages for free did you?
The MHSAA recommends charging at least $5 for admission.
Speaking of football, how will Meridian do this year? The Wildcats are slated to be ranked very, very high when the preseason polls come out. That's nothing new. Living up to lofty rankings has been a problem for the Wildcats though in recent years.
Still, the 2004 Cats should have their best team since the 1996 squad finished 12-2.
What about Northeast, Southeast, West and Clarkdale? Steve Nelson has got Northeast's Trojans believing they can win nearly every time out and that says a lot for that program's recent past.
Southeast has a new coach in Ty Trahan and, much like at Mississippi State, his enthusiasm could revive a program that has struggled the last five years to only 10 wins to go with 39 losses.
Stan McCain has the Knights from Collinsville playing at their highest level since 1986. It's a good thing as this could be West's last year in Class 3A. Next year, the MHSAA will re-align and the Knights appear headed to Class 4A.
Bubba Hathorn showed Clarkdale could field a competitive team two years ago. Last year's squad stumbled back to a 2-8 mark, but you've got to figure if Jud Gartman can establish any kind of running game, he'll keep the Bulldogs in a lot of contests this fall. They only trailed Philadelphia 3-0 last year before the Tornadoes broke a 90-yard run in the final minute.
Others I've seen are getting excited about college football season as it too is getting closer and closer.
How will Ole Miss fare without Eli Manning? Will the Rebels do like Tennessee and win a national championship the year after a Manning leaves? Or will the Rebels stumble and stagger their way back to mediocrity?
What about State? Did you know the Bulldogs will have the first African-American head football coach in the SEC? If not, you must have been hibernating in one of those cultural voids the late, great Francis B. Williamson would talk about.
Can USM put out another quality team and how will the Eagles do at Nebraska? The first question should rate positively, while the trip to Lincoln likely won't.
Will LSU repeat as national champion? Don't hold your breath on that one.
How about the Saints? How will New Orleans fare this fall? Don't know, don't care. There are some things I've learned to just not waste my time on.

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