Classic Games kick off opening of 2009 season

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

Classic Games, authorized by the Mississippi High SchoolActivities Association, will usher in the 2009 football seasonFriday night across the state. Yes, the Classics are a week earlierthan usual.

Yes, I know it’s too early to play high school football games inthe sweat-soaked Magnolia State. Many football coaches elected toskip the Classics and start their seasons Aug. 28, four weeks afterthe start of preseason practice.

It’s a matter of conditioning, both mentally and physically.Call these coaches old school or wise men. Personally, they arefollowing a tradition that many veteran coaches observe.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Traditionally, the third Friday of preseason practice wasreserved for a jamboree. In their infinite wisdom, the MHSAAdecided to let teams participate in a jamboree just two weeks intopreseason drills. That’s just four days in full equipment.

Many schools elected to skip the jamborees. Hazlehurst traveledto Yazoo City for a jamboree but the Indians were among a smallnumber who tried it.

This column has stood on that sturdy soapbox in the past andexpressed displeasure with the early playing date. It’s really tooearly to play football, public or private.

The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, formerlyknown as the Mississippi Private School Association, always startsits season a week earlier than the MHSAA. That’s another traditionworth debating.

Football fans and cheerleaders should make sure they hydratewith lots of water before being broiled by the bleacher heat Fridaynight. Better yet, carry a canteen. Of course, the greatest heatrisk is for the players who must labor in full football gear.

While standing on our soapbox, let’s question the wisdom anddoctorate degrees of those folks leading the State Department ofEducation in Mississippi. Why start school in the first week ofAugust when children and parents should be enjoying a vacation in acooler climate?

Why not begin school on the Tuesday after Labor Day. That’s theway we grew up and it worked just fine.

For that matter, consider the economic benefits of startingschool at a later date. In these tough financial times, it isutterly ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars air-conditioningschool buildings for the whole month of August.

Taxpayers should have a voice in how their hard-earned dollarsare spent. Can you imagine the magnitude of the August energy billin every school across the state?

It’s outrageous!

Taxpayers are supposed to grin, shrug their collective shouldersand accept the annual increases in tax rates. Ho-hum, just keepworking. Those high-paid administrators in Jackson really know whatthey’re doing.

Speaking of wisdom, Professor Hoopla B.S., has agreed to predictthe winners of football games for the 2009 season. Leaning on hisfavorite fence post, Hoopla says he can’t retire or unretire. He’sjust tired.

The MAISteams are ready to play and some other MHSAA teams arein Classic Games. Hoopla says he’s game, so here goes anotherFriday night preview.

Silliman Institute (La.) at Brookhaven Academy: The Wildcatsfrom Clinton, La., should provide a difficult challenge for therebuilding Cougars who eke out a narrow win. Brookhaven Academy17-14.

Riverfield (La.) at Copiah Academy: The Colonels have beenpromoted to Class AAA for the next two years. They’ll start with avictory in Gallman. Copiah Academy 22-12.

Parklane Academy at Jackson Academy: For openers, the Pioneershave drawn a powerful opponent. Raiders have too much beef. JacksonAcademy 14-7.

Franklin County at Loyd Star: Two strong football teams collideon William E. “Sambo” Smith Field. Bulldogs have superior strengthand speed. Franklin County 28-14.

Madison St. Joe at Bogue Chitto: In a major rebuilding campaign,the Bobcats showcase their speed in an offensive shootout. BogueChitto 36-28.

Williams-Sullivan at West Lincoln: It’s a long ride from Durantto Perry Miller Field as two win-starved teams battle on thegridiron. In a thriller, West Lincoln 14-12.

Jackson Callaway at Lawrence County: Cougars unleash theirthundering herd tomorrow night. Lawrence County 42-16.

Hinds AHS at Hazlehurst: Indians outnumber and outrun theWardawgs. Hazlehurst 31-18.

Richland at North Pike: New members of Class 4A, the improvingJaguars start their season on a winning note. North Pike 26-10.

McComb at Tylertown: Talented Chiefs were Class 3A staterunners-up last year. They should go all the way this time.Tylertown 26-13.

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