Rain dampens start of season

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2001

Players have toiled in the hot August weather for the past four weeks gearing up for the 2001 season. Their bodies should be well-prepared for the onset of physical confrontations in late the August evening heat and humidity on the football field. But their bodies have received a little bit of a shock this week and will tonight as well.

The Miss-Lou has been doused with showers all week, forcing teams to either practice in muddy conditions or take to the gymnasium.

More rain is expected tonight as all local teams suit up for their first Friday night battle of the 2001 season.

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&uot;I’m taking swimming lessons,&uot; said Cathedral coach Ken Beesley on Thursday. His Green Wave team takes on Block at Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. &uot;Looks like we’ll be swimming instead of playing football.&uot;

&uot;We’ve done the best we could,&uot; siad Adams County Christian School coach Doug Clanton. The Rebels travel to Simpson County. &uot;Hopefully, it’s raining over in Simpson County today.&uot;

If it rains tonight, the weather will certainly have an effect on contests. Slippery footballs makes ballcarriers fumble-prone and muddy conditions slow down quicker teams. Power ground football takes over.

&uot;I just hope we can hold onto the football,&uot; said Natchez High coach James Denson, whose Bulldogs host Wilkinson County. &uot;At least both teams have had the opportunity to handle the ball wet all week.&uot;

Denson prepares for debut

The rain may do more than create havoc for football teams. It may put a sour note on Denson’s debut as Natchez coach. He begins his first season with the Bulldogs with six new assistant coaches tonight versus Wilkinson County at Natchez at 7:30 p.m.

&uot;It’s going to sort of dampen the spirit,&uot; he said. He still hopes the fans turn out for the home opener despite the weather.

Denson said he doesn’t know too much about Wilkinson County, but is ready to go anyhow.

&uot;We’ll pretty much go into the ballgame and try to establish the things we want to do,&uot; he said, without giving too much of a gameplan away. &uot;The only thing we know (about the Wildcats) is what we see on tape. More or less, it’s the capability of what we can do ourselves.&uot;

The Bulldogs received bad news this week when Chris Chatman, a 6-5, 350-pound offensive lineman, had to undergo orthoscopic surgery on his knee. He would have been a starter this Friday. Denson said he expects hime back by the middle of the season.

Block’s power a factor

Beesley was hoping Cathedral could run around the Block Bears. The weather may change his plans.

&uot;We were going to use our quickness to offset their power,&uot; he said. &uot;But the weather is going to offset our quickness.&uot;

Block looked impressive in their appearance at the Vidalia Jamboree last Saturday. The Bears’ offensive line created ample room for running back Charles Branch and fullback Murphy Harbor.

Beesley said he knows Block will play some smash-mouth football and run a lot north-south plays, especially with the muddy field conditions. But fumbles could make a difference in the final score.

&uot;The game could be decided on a mistake, with the ball as wet as it will be,&uot; Beesley said.

Beesley said a couple players are getting over a virus that was going around on the team. Other than a few other bumps and bruises, the Green Wave are at full strength for the game.

Good practices please Clanton

After having a lackadaisical practice on Tuesday, Clanton said the Rebels have come back with two good workouts the past two days.

&uot;We had a real good practice (Wednesday),&uot; Clanton said. &uot;They had a good attitude. We hope it continues.&uot;

The Rebels open up on the road at Simpson County in Clanton’s debut.

Simpson County also has a new coach, so Clanton said he doesn’t know what to expect.

&uot;We really don’t know what they will run,&uot; he said. &uot;We just got to do what we do and react to what they do.&uot;

There aren’t any major injuries to report, Clanton said.

&uot;We got some little nagging things but nothing major. They’ll forgot about those things when kickoff time comes.&uot;

Speed is key against Union

The Saints suffered a major blow this week when junior defensive end and offensive lineman Mark Brinegar suffered injuries in a car accident.

Not only did the Saints lose a good player, said coach David King, but it also drops the number of players at King’s dispense to 14.

The wet conditions also will play a factor in Trinity’s offensive plans versus Union, the Saints first opponent. The Saints like to throw the ball while Union likes to grind it out.

&uot;I’m sure it hurts us more than them,&uot; King said. &uot;We’re still going to throw the ball. There’s no question about that.&uot;

King expects Union to try to run the ball nearly every play.

&uot;I look for them to run power football, to try and grind it out,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ll have to counter that with our speed.&uot;