Mother Nature still undefeated — High school football recap

Published 9:38 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

Is God trying to tell us that we start football season too early in Mississippi?

A line of late-summer thunderstorms moved into Southwest Mississippi on Friday at the same time that most schools were getting ready to kickoff.

The strongest storms moved in an eastern line from the Mississippi River counties and were south of I-20.

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Brookhaven Academy and Cathedral were almost to halftime in Natchez before the game was delayed. The Cougars led 20-13 and Coach Ron Rushing felt like his team had just hit their stride.

“We had settled in and I thought we were really about to start taking it to them,” said Rushing.

That’s a sentiment that Wesson coach Jeremy Loy shared after his Cobras had their game at Crystal Springs called off.

Wesson led 8-0 and had started to see their offense begin to gel just as lightning forced fans to vacate the stadium and for players to leave the field in the second quarter.

“We didn’t play a jamboree so when we first got out there it took us a couple drives to get our feet under us,” said Loy.

Officials in Natchez waited until 10 p.m. to call the game and the referees at Crystal Springs made their decision about 30 minutes earlier.

In Copiah County the hard rain had stopped falling at that point, but lightning in the area made resuming play impossible.

On Thursday a similar weather system delayed the start of Lawrence County and North Pike for 90 minutes in Summit. When the game did begin it did so in a steady downpour.

For a team like North Pike who had hoped to count on their passing game, the water-logged football was less than ideal.

Lawrence County actually won the kickoff, elected to receive, and fumbled their first snap of the season.

That was one of the few mistakes the Cougars made as they cruised to a 53-27 win in the head coaching debut of Jesse Anderson.

Lawrence County travels to Brookhaven on Friday for a matchup against their longtime rivals, the Brookhaven Panthers.

The Panthers are looking forward to being back at King Field after taking a 36-7 road defeat at the hands of the defending 6A state champion Pearl Pirates.

Pearl was loaded last year with a huge group of seniors that had long been expected to take home a title. Winning begets winning and now the school has players moving in to the district to suit up for the Pirates.

Panther head coach Tucker Peavey didn’t see anything that his team couldn’t fix.

“The defense played well, but we left them on the field too long,” said Peavey. “The turnovers on offense and our lack of ability to get first downs are all fixable.”

Two area coaches in their second seasons picked up big road wins in their openers.

Loyd Star and head coach Brian Ford fell behind Sacred Heart early in Hattiesburg.

After trailing 6-0, the Hornets would score 45 unanswered points on the way to a 45-13 victory.

West Lincoln and coach BJ Smithhart avenged their season opening loss from 2017 by going to Mount Olive and topping the host Pirates 23-14.

It will be a short week for the Bears as they play in the KDMC Kickoff Classic on Thursday at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

West Lincoln will tangle with Salem at Co-Lin, a team that beat Enterprise 38-14 in their season opener. The win broke a 16-game losing streak for the Wildcats.

Loyd Star will host an improved McLaurin team on Friday at W. E. “Sambo” Smith Field. The Tigers won their season opener against Bogue Chitto, 19-8.

With the single victory McLaurin has already matched their win total from 2017.

Ford and Smithhart both came to Lincoln County with championship pedigrees. Ford won a 1A state championship in 2010 as the head coach at Lumberton.

Smithhart took St. Aloysius to the 2014 1A state championship game where they were defeated by Cathedral. The coach of that Cathedral team? Brookhaven Academy head coach Ron Rushing.

Wesson takes on Sumrall in the second night of the KDMC Kickoff Classic. The Bobcats are quarterbacked by Dannis Jackson, an Ole Miss commit in football and baseball.

Enterprise travels to Rankin County for a matchup with a Puckett team that put up 49 points in a win over Richland in their opener.

Bogue Chitto and Brookhaven Academy fans should top off their gas tanks before leaving to travel to their week two games.

The Bobcats will make a 165-mile trip to play Faith Academy (Mobile, Alabama).

The Cougar faithful will make the long haul of the week when they travel 212 miles to Batesville to watch their team play North Delta School.

The forecast for Friday? An uninspiring 50 percent chance of evening thunderstorms.

Story by Cliff Furr