Cathedral kicks off Miss-Lou football season tonight in Vicksburg at St. Al

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

Rick Breland

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &8212; There was a buzz around the Cathedral field house and practice field as the Green Wave prepared for their first and perhaps biggest game of the season.

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&8220;We&8217;ve been out here for a month getting ready for this season. Now&8217;s the exciting time in that it&8217;s finally here,&8221; coach Ken Beesley said. &8220;I&8217;m excited, the coaches are excited and the kids are excited. We&8217;ve been telling the players if you&8217;re getting any sleep at night this week, something is wrong with you.&8221;

The light in Beesley&8217;s eyes and his excited speech isn&8217;t the only sign that this game means more than your average regular season opener.

In the locker room is a 4-foot by 4-foot sign resting beneath the team&8217;s giant eraser board that reads &8220;51-7, your answer starts here.&8221;

Something tells the reader, this isn&8217;t just a rivalry &8212; no it&8217;s much bigger than that.

The sign is a reference to a game five or six years ago, when St. Al was leading 45-7 and called a timeout with the ball on the one-yard line and one second left to play. On the last play of the game St. Al scored yet another touchdown, to make a statement.

For years, St. Al and Cathedral have swapped wins and losses in what is arguably the best match-up of Catholic schools in the state.

This season the rivalry proves to be as heated as ever.

Green Wave tackle Jacob Cowart puts the historical significance of the game in perspective.

&8220;Ever since you were little you dream of the day when you get the chance to play in this game,&8221; Cowart said. &8220;It doesn&8217;t matter if you have a horrible season and go 1-9, so long as that one win came against St. Al. They don&8217;t like us. We don&8217;t really care for them either and that&8217;s all there really is to say about it.&8221;

Wide Receiver Forrest White confirmed his teammates statement, but took one step further step further in the direction of the extreme.

&8220;I&8217;d rather lose an arm than lose to St. Al,&8221; White said.

And with words like those, who could doubt the magnitude of Thursday&8217;s game in Vicksburg. Kickoff is at 7:30; tickets will be available at the gate.