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Footballs fly Monday

Mississippi High School Activities Association football teamslaunch preseason practice Monday across the football-crazy MagnoliaState. They launch the march to the state playoffs that begin inearly November.

Under the new MHSAA reclassification format, teams will beallowed to participate in a jamboree Aug. 14 and play a ClassicGame Aug. 21, a week earlier than normal. Some teams are playing onAug. 21 while others prefer waiting until Aug. 28.

The first three days of preseason drills will be reserved forlight contact as players wear shorts, T-shirts and helmets. On thefourth day, coaches can put shoulder pads on their players.Following MHSAA rules, the sixth practice will allow them to wearfull equipment.

Most teams participated in rigorous offseason conditioning andweight training programs at their respective schools. That willhelp them deal with oppressive August heat and humidity.

Brookhaven:Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey said he expects 63varsity players and 30-35 freshmen to report Monday morning. On tapis a special teams walk-through at 10:30 a.m. On Tuesday they’llwork on special teams at 8:30 a.m.

The Panthers will have Wednesday morning off due to teachermeetings and come back at 4 p.m. in the afternoon for practice.School starts Thursday.

Ole Brook has been promoted to Class 5A under the newclassification system installed by the MHSAA. Region 3-5A consistsof BHS, Wayne County, Picayune, Stone County, West Jones, McComb,Forest Hill and Pearl River Central.

Picture day is Aug. 13. It also is Meet the Panthers Night at6:30 on King Field. Peavey said plans are to have the BHS softballteam and cheerleaders present, too.

BHS kicks off its season Aug. 28, hosting Franklin County.

Lawrence County: The Cougars practice Monday at 4:30 p.m. Schoolstarts Tuesday and practice starts at 2:30.

Coach Mike Davis said he expected 60 players to participate inpractice. The Cougars play their first game Aug. 21, hosting theJackson Callaway Chargers.

“We have some important spots to fill,” said Davis. Theoffensive line was hit hard by graduation after the Cougarscaptured the Region 6-4A championship in 2008, finishing 10-2.

Franklin County: Coach Trent Hammond’s Bulldogs enter a majorrebuilding season after reaching the Class 3A South StateChampionship game last year. The first practice is at 4 p.m.Monday, starting in the weight training room.

After lifting weights, the Bulldogs will take the field at 5p.m. That routine will continue for 5 days.

School starts Aug. 10. The Bulldogs play their first game Aug.21, at Loyd Star.

Hammond said he expects around 50 varsity candidates. He willhave 30 players on the junior varsity squad.

West Lincoln: Players report at 3 p.m. Monday, according tosecond-year head coach Chris Calcote. He expects around 25 varsitycandidates.

The Bears debut Aug. 21, hosting Williams- Sullivan ofDurant.

Hazlehurst: The Indians will practice at 3:35 each day,according to Coach Todd McDaniel. He expects 45 players toreport.

The Indians will travel to Yazoo City Aug. 14 for a jamboree andhost Hinds AHS Aug. 21 for a Classic game.

McComb: The Tigers, under the direction of new head coachMalcolm Jones, practice at 4 p.m. each day. Students report Fridayfor the start of the school year and practice starts at 3 p.m.

Jones said he expects around 60 players. He came to McComb fromIndianola Gentry.

Jones replaces Randy Martin who resigned after last season.Martin has been hired as defensive coordinator at ParklaneAcademy.

Enterprise: The Yellow Jackets will practice from 7-9:15 a.m.,Monday through Wednesday. Coach Wayne Rogers said he expects around40 players.

The Jackets host Bogue Chitto Aug. 28 for their seasonopener.

North Pike: The Jaguars will practice at 4 p.m. each day. Schoolstarts Friday and practice starts at 2 p.m. Coach Chris Smith saidhe expects to have around 70 players reporting for practice.

The Jaguars will host Richland in their Aug. 21 debut. They arein a new division and classification (4A) this year and face sixnew teams.

Loyd Star: The Hornets will practice once a day, starting at2:30. “We want to get them acclimated to practicing during school,”explained Loyd Star coach Ryan Ross.

Ross said he expected to have 45 players participating inpractice. He said he was pleased with the summer workouts.

“We emphasized conditioning more than strength,” said Ross.”From January to May we worked more on strength. We worked onconditioning this summer.”

The Hornets performed foot speed, quickness drills and runningto increase stamina.

Loyd Star hosts Franklin County in the MHSAA Classic Game, onAug. 21.

Bogue Chitto: Coach Gareth Sartin said his Bobcats displayed alot of enthusiasm during the summer workouts. They lifted weights 3nights a week.”

“We averaged 25 (players) a night which is pretty good,” saidSartin. “That’s a pretty high percentage.

“We have a lot of holes to fill,” Sartin continued. “We have hada good turnout from our younger guys. They are going to get to playa lot.”

Asked about his team’s summer workouts, Sartin said, “We haveconcentrated on getting bigger and stronger because we lost a lotof our size,” to graduation. “We are depending on ninth and 10thgraders who haven’t really filled out yet.”

“This will be the smallest team we’ve had in years.”

His Bobcats begin practice at 3:30 Monday afternoon. He expects25-30 players. School starts Thursday.

BC’s first game is Aug. 21, hosting Madison St. Joseph. Kickoffis 7:30.

Brookhaven Academy: Mississippi Private School Association teamsstarted preseason drills a week earlier. Many of their practiceswere derailed by afternoon thunderstorms.

“We missed two afternoons and we had to go in the gym,” said BAcoach Herbert Davis. “And that’s no fun.”

The Cougars are minus a boatload of starters from last year’sDistrict 4-AA championship team. “We are very inexperiencd so therain allowed us to slow down and do some teaching,” said Davis. “Wehave a long ways to go.”

The Cougars will scrimmage at Jackson Academy Friday, startingat 3:30. Photo Day for the Cougars is noon Friday.

Last week Davis led his young team through 5 days of twice-dailypractices. They participated in a minicamp with Parklane Academy atMcComb on 3 of those days.

“We worked on a lot of technique and a lot of on-one stuff,”said Davis.

The Cougars will join Parklane and Centreville Academy in ajamboree at Parklane Aug. 14.

South Pike: Coach Randall Huffman said he expects 36 players toreport for practice. The Eagles will practice at 4 p.m. on Mondayand Tuesday. School starts Wednesday and practice begins at2:30.

“We have pretty good skill people coming back,” said Huffman.”We are questionable in the offensive line.”

The Eagles begin their season Aug. 28, hosting the McCombTigers.

Wesson: Coach Tommy Clopton and his staff stressed conditioningin the summer workouts. “We wanted to make sure we are in conditionand acclimated to the heat.”

Around 47 players are expected to report for the first day ofpractice. Clopton will meet with the players at 3:30 Monday beforestarting practice. They will work out from 4-7 p.m. Clopton saidthe team would take a 30-minute break after the first 2 hours tohydrate. The last 30 minutes would be spent on finesse work.

Wesson’s Picture Day is Friday.

“We are looking forward to getting started,” said Clopton. TheCobras play their first game Aug. 28, at Richland.