Sad the season is complete

Published 12:43 am Sunday, December 9, 2007

Well, it’s over. After three months and 15 weeks of football, the high school season has finally come to an end.

When the final whistle sounded in Franklin County’s 21-7 defeat in the MHSAA Class 3A State Championship game in Jackson, a little piece of the true high school football fans went dormant, stuck on a shelf until late August of 2008.

Something is just special about high school football in Mississippi. Whether it’s battling the bugs and the oppressive heat and humidity in late August and September games or battling just the oppressive humidity, in October and November games, there’s just something wonderful about it.

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Standing out on the sidelines for high school football games, is about more than the game, it’s about the spirit of young men.

And emotions really run the gamut in high school football. Just the half a season I spent in the Mis-Lou covering the high schools, I got to see many of the emotions that make people love prep football so much.

I saw coaches hugging players, screaming at players, screaming at referees and just screaming in general.

I saw players elated, players crying, players hurt and even one player (Zach Sinclair of Centreville) break dance after the Tigers won the MPSA Class AA State Championship.

And let me tell you, if you’ve never seen a football player break dance, in full pads and uniform, you’ve — as my grandmother would say — missed half your life. It really is quite a treat.

So many great stories surfaced in the Miss-Lou football season this year. How about Centreville coach Bill Hurst winning his seventh state championship, and doing against his former assistant coach Keith Wicker, no less. Or first-year Ferriday head coach Freddie Harrison, just 27 years old, leading the Trojans to an 11-0 start to the season before falling in the playoffs.

What about Trinity? Nobody expected them to even come close to repeating last year’s MPSA Class A state title. After all, they would be without all-everything Stevan Ridley and moved up in class this year. So all they did was win their first 13 games of the season before falling to the eventual state champ Centreville in the South State Championship game.

I could go on and on, from Natchez’s freshman quarterback leading the Bulldogs to within one game of their first playoff appearance in 10 years to Huntington almost doing the impossible and advancing to the championship game with three road victories.

Unfortunately, it is over. The pads and helmets have been put away for the year and athletes are busying themselves with basketball, track or other sports.

For the seniors who played their last game this season, nothing will ever quite be like the experience of putting those pads and that uniform on every Friday night to represent their school and their team.

Why else would old men still talk about the glory days of when they played for coach so-and-so 30, 40 and even 50 years after they last strapped on the pads and helmet?

Why else would they write books upon books about the sport unless their was something truly special about it?

The sport might be over for the next eight months, but don’t worry, a new season is right around the corner. I, for one, can hardly wait.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at or 601-442-3632.