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Don’t boo those players Friday night

Don’t you dare boo those young men Friday night at the first high school football game of the 2012 season. The young gridiron warriors deserve plenty of  praise, applause and cheers from the fans in the stands. They’ve labored through grueling summer workouts and exhausting preseason practice because they love the game of football.

     Be patient. There are a lot of first-game mistakes. Sweat is pouring off their bodies and the adrenalin is working overtime. No matter how much they hydrate, some muscle cramps are inevitable.

     Forgive the fumbles. Forgive the interceptions. Forgive the dropped passes and missed extra points. Remember, it’s only a game.

     “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Words of wisdom from an old ball coach. 

     In fact, the college football players are barely adults themselves. They are in their late teens and early 20s. BOOS hurt. They haven’t developed the tough skin of a professional football player.

     Derisive comments from fellow students or so-called friends are bad for the brain and cruel to the heart. They can scar a young person’s mental outlook on life.

     Besides, the pros are generously paid for their efforts on the field. They can cry all the way to the bank. Fans pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket instead of staying home. They’ve paid for the right to boo the professionals.

 

     Stepping off my soapbox for a moment, another form of footsie ball has arrived on the scene. New Copiah-Lincoln Community College soccer coach David Strother will unveil his team next week as the Wolves and Lady Wolves make their debut.

     Soccer has been a longtime ugly orphan at Co-Lin but Strother is changing the atmosphere with a lot of enthusiasm. First of all, he needs quality soccer players with college-level skills. That takes time to teach. Recruiting will be a key, too.

     Strother, a Franklin County product, moved back to Mississippi from Chicago. He played soccer at Co-Lin and was the first Co-Lin player to sign a senior college scholarship, joining Belhaven University.

     “I have heart strings attached to Co-Lin,” said Strother. “I want to build a strong program.”

     For sure, we wish Strother well. The odds are stacked against him but he could succeed over the long haul. One important key is a strong, well-organized youth soccer program  in area cities and towns.

     In the meantime, Strother’s men debut Tuesday night against Hinds, a South Division power. Action begins at 7 p.m. on the Raymond campus.

     Co-Lin entertains Meridian Community College next Friday. The Lady Wolves play at 4 p.m., followed by the men at 6:30.

    

     Professor Hoopla B.S., scratched his balding head in wonderment as he began preparing his weekly list of fearless football forecasts. Where has the time gone? Seems like only yesterday when Hoopla was doing shampoo commercials.

     There’s nearly a full menu of high school football action going on Friday night. Hoopla smiled with anticipation when he considered the possibilities, especially the winners.

     When he dropped off his list of prognostications Wednesday, Hoopla said he was hopping a jet back to Yellowstone Park for the fall caribou roundup. Winter is right around the corner up there in Jackson Hole. The rest of us can just dream about cooler weather.

     Right now, it’s important to be hydrated before attending those sweat-soaked games tomorrow night. Bring your canteen.

     Due to the West Nile epidemic, it’s most important to saturate your body with mosquito repellent. Why hasn’t a vaccine been developed to  combat West Nile?

     Hoopla begins this week’s predictions with the Possum Bowl. What a way to start the season.

      Bogue Chitto at Loyd Star:       Hornets unveil their top secret offensive scheme and the Bobcats are caught off guard in the first half. However, speed prevails in an offensive show. Bogue Chitto 40-28.

      Brookhaven Academy at Silliman Institute:  Another hot spot in Clinton, La. as the Cougars swat bugs and the Wildcats. Brookhaven Academy 31-16.

      Salem at Enterprise:       Wildcats from Walthall County have size and speed on defense. Salem 36-12.

      West Lincoln at Ethel:  Playing on the road is hazardous at best. After a 3-hour bus ride, the Bears bow. Ethel 27-18.

      Wesson at Crystal Springs:  Can the Cobras contain Tiger quarterback Jamario Benson long enough to eke out a victory? In a nail-biter, Wesson 21-20.

      Lawrence County at Hazlehurst:  Indians begin their warpath season with an impressive win over the visiting Cougars. Hazlehurst 40-20.

      North Pike at Franklin County:  Bulldogs seem to play their best in Louie Mullins Memorial Stadium. Franklin County 28-18.

      Oak Forest at Copiah Academy:  Colonels are in a rebuilding mode but they manage a season-opening win. Copiah Academy 14-12.

      Bowling Green at Parklane:  Mike Powell makes a successful debut as head coach of the Pioneers. Parklane 29-13.

      In other area games,  Jefferson County over Trinity 24-19, South Pike over East Marion 27-14 and McComb over Terry 20-10. Brookhaven has an open date to prepare for next Thursday’s home debut against Lawrence County.

 

     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com