‘Y’all vs. Us’ recognizes football feuds

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 21, 2008

Football fanatics take note.

The Francognas have authored another exciting book, recognizing15 of Mississippi’s hottest football rivalries. The three Jacksonattorneys, Mike Jr., X.M. III and Marty; are avid football fans whoonce played the gridiron sport. Their first book, “Gridiron Gold,”was and still is a popular item in the Magnolia State, featuringseveral outstanding high school coaching greats.

“Y’all vs. Us” explores the histories, people, traditions, andmemorable events that have created some of the greatest high schoolfootball rivalries in Mississippi. Each one of the book’s 15chapters details the histories of the two rival schools and thenexplores how the two schools collided on the gridiron, and how therelationship between the two towns and communities manifest itselfthrough football.

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Brookhaven versus McComb is one of the oldest rivalries and thebest is this area of the state. Players from both schools, andcheerleaders are featured on the dust jacket.

If you are old enough to remember, the McComb-Brookhaven feudgoes all the way back to the 1920s. In its glory years, the gamewas played each season on Thanksgiving Day. Folks would either eatan early or late Thanksgiving dinner, depending on the cook. Thegame was played in the afternoon and there was a caravan ofvehicles traveling on Highway 51 between the two towns which were30 miles apart.

Former gridiron greats like Lance Alworth, Ralph “Catfish”Smith, Don “Red” Estes, Larry Buie, Randy Coker, Charlie Wilson,Thomas Strauthers, Alundis Brice, Rod Henderson, Renard Brown, JoeWesley, Jessie Bowman and Jimmy Johns played for the Panthers andmade memories.

According to Ole Brook athletic director and head football coachTucker Peavey, copies of Y’all vs. Us are on sale at the school’sCentral Office. He said a percentage of the sales will go to BHS ifthey purchase them now. Cost is $34.95 and it makes a greatChristmas gift.

Other hot rivalries highlighted in the book are Jackson Prep vs.Jackson Academy, Brandon vs. Pearl, Tupelo vs. Starkville, WestJones vs. Wayne County, Oxford vs. Lafayette County, Warren Centralvs. Vicksburg, Booneville vs. Baldwyn, Greene County vs. GeorgeCounty, Pascagoula vs. Moss Point, Ackerman vs. Eupora, SouthPanola vs. Olive Branch, Meridian vs. Oak Grove, Clinton vs.Madison Central and Biloxi vs. Gulfport.


Just the thought of those feuds causes football fever.

There are younger rivalries, like Brookhaven vs. LawrenceCounty, and Brookhaven Academy vs. Copiah Academy, which haveblossomed in recent years. In Lincoln County, Bogue Chitto vs. LoydStar is pretty intense and once was known as the Possum Bowl.Enterprise vs. Bogue Chitto is strong, too. Nearby, Wesson vs. LoydStar and Hazlehurst vs. Crystal Springs are hot items in allsports.

Y’all vs. Us is published by the Mississippi Sports Council anda portion of proceeds from each book sold helps benefit theMississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA). Featuredrivalries were nominated by the MHSAA and then whittled downthrough a variety of painstaking techniques.

Each rivalry was researched by conducting one-on-one interviewson each of the 30 campuses. Over 600 individuals, ranging fromcoaches, players, cheerleaders, principals, booster club members,media members, and town mayors, were included in the interviewprocess.

In order to maximize exposure of each of the 15 rivalries in thebook, a separate commemorative dust jacket has been produced foreach rivalry. Dust jackets feature custom studio photographs ofactual players and cheerleaders from each school. BHS seniorlinebacker Jarvis Wilbert is featured on the cover of the localedition.

Speaking of football, area fans have several jamborees to pickfrom Friday night. They can travel to Loyd Star, Wesson, LawrenceCounty, Franklin County and Hazlehurst to catch a briefpreview.

Brookhaven is at Wayne County tonight and faces defending Class4A state champion Laurel and the host War Eagles. McComb is playingLaurel and Wayne County.

The DAILY LEADER’s Friday Night Football Blitz will make itsseason debut tomorrow night, broadcasting live on 102.1 FM, fromBroma’s Restaurant patio. David Culpepper and Ricky Myers arehosting the talk show which begins at 5 p.m.

Ralph “Catfish” Smith, a 1958 BHS graduate and a former All-SECend for the Ole Miss Rebels, will be the special guest. Smith, aMississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee, has a lot of memories toshare, including his days with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Also, Brookhaven Academy’s Coach Herbert Davis Jr., will providea preview of tomorrow night’s 2008 season opener against defendingClass AA state champion Centreville Academy.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College head football coach Glenn Davisalso will be present to share information on his Wolfpacksquad.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com