The high school football season will take another step forward Friday with seven preseason jamborees — weather permitting.
Vancleave will play Perry Central at George County at 5 p.m., followed by the host Rebels playing defending Class 5A champion Wayne County at 7 p.m.
Moss Point is traveling to Hancock and West Harrison is playing Sumrall at Lumberton. Both games have 7 p.m. kickoffs.
Long Beach is traveling to Pass Christian for a 6 p.m. start and D’Iberville is driving to Jackson to play Wingfield at 5:30 p.m.
Poplarville was originally scheduled to host Biloxi at 7 p.m., but the game has been moved to Biloxi because of weather concerns.
A 90 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday and an 80 percent chance Friday are in the forecast for South Mississippi.
No jamboree for other teams
While some coaches said they couldn’t find opponents for this weekend, others said they just preferred not to play a tune-up game before the classic season opens next weekend.
Gautier, Ocean Springs, Harrison Central, Gulfport, St. Stanislaus, St. Martin, Bay, Stone, Resurrection, East Central, Picayune, St. Patrick, Pearl River Central and Pascagoula all either couldn’t work out a two-quarter exhibition or preferred to use the allotted time to focus on themselves.
Ready to work
New D’Iberville coach Eric Collins is in the camp that desperately wanted to play in a jamboree Friday.
“I was in a panic that we'd have to play Picayune without some semblance of a scrimmage or something under our belt. We were lucky that the Jackson, Mississippi, jamboree was gracious enough to allow us to get into their jamboree,” Collins said Saturday. “I think we'll know a lot more about our team after that jamboree, when we can actually get some live work against someone else on film.”
The Warriors are undergoing a large change both culturally and schematically. Specifically, Collins is bringing over the Wing-T offensive formation he ran at Pearl River Central to replace D’Iberville’s “multiple” offense from a year ago.
The Blue Devils ran it to perfection, with three running backs eclipsing 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns apiece en route to an 11-win season.
Turning D’Iberville’s offense into a well-oiled machine won’t happen overnight. Which is why Friday’s jamboree at Wingfield is important.
“I can't tell you how big it is. The whole summer I was sweating,” Collins said. “I was even contemplating going to Louisiana, finding somebody and just doing a scrimmage with them. We just couldn't find anybody anywhere. But this jamboree came about and we jumped at the chance.”