West Monroe fans had a major convoy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 1999

It seemed the only thing missing was Robert E. Lee and the horses. Did you catch any of that seemingly endless caravan through Ferriday, Vidalia and Natchez of cars and vans sporting Rebels fans Friday and Saturday.

No, Ole Miss is not playing LSU. That happens to be West Monroe High School fans heading down to the Superdome for Saturday night’s Class 5A extravaganza between West Monroe and Evangel.

Unfortunately, those fans will not be happy campers on the way back, as the Rebels fell to the Crusaders 20-14.

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Both schools have been considered among the best in the nation the last several years, but this year Evangel moved up from Class 3A to Class 5A.

A crowd of just over 40,000 watched the event.

The Superdome usually doesn’t open its upper section for the state championship games, but they had to make an exception in this case.

The interest has not just been locally either.

According to the Monroe News-Star, media from all over the country have called enquiring about this game.

And rightfully so, considering the success of both programs.

Both schools came in bearing the title of three-time state champion.

West Monroe head football coach Don Shows is a regular contributor to Andy Pressgrove’s Southwest Officials and Coaches Conference held at Natchez High each spring.

Shows is a class guy who obviously knows a thing or two about football.

The clinic gives area coaches and officials a chance to attend seminars and exchange ideas and has even added basketball to its agenda.

One highlight of the conference is a football scrimmage featuring Natchez High’s football team where young officials are graded and critiqued and given a lot of helpful advice from experienced officials. With the way the rules and game changes each year, it’s helpful to a lot of experienced guys, as well.

The scrimmage usually has Natchez going against Wilkinson County Friday evening.

I think it would be interesting to see if Shows could somehow negotiate his West Monroe football team to scrimmage Natchez.

Pressgrove could charge a couple of dollars for the event and use the money to help a beneficial and worthwhile organization.

Believe me, as much as West Monroe fans love their football team, you could probably fill up at two-thirds of Natchez High’s stadium with Rebel fans alone.

And then that caravan could pull right into the Natchez High parking lot. Of course, these folks are going to want to eat and possible stay overnight, so it might not be a bad idea for some businesses to push the idea and get some political pull behind it.

Because when you try and get the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and Mississippi High School Athletic Association working together, it’s never an easy process.

Then again, considering the benefits the clinic has for officials and coaches from both states, it only serves to help both associations.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone, but we may have a tough time convincing Natchez High head coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles. After all, this year’s West Monroe powerhouse is a sophomore-laden squad.

Then again, I’ve never known Lyles to turn down a challenge before.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at joey.martin@natchezdemocrat.com.