Exhibition soccer match at NHS cancelled by MHSAA

Published 12:17 am Friday, December 21, 2007

NATCHEZ — It was supposed to be a fun game between the high school boys and the old men.

A game for the youngsters to whoop it up and talk a little smack and for the veterans to show they still had it.

But the exhibition soccer match between the Natchez High boys and coach Dennis Hogue’s team of coaches and other soccer enthusiasts, the Natchez Gamblers, never got off the ground due to a Mississippi High School Activities Association rule prohibiting controlled scrimmages during the season.

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The rule took Hogue by surprise as this would have been the fourth consecutive year for the game.

“I don’t know what the logic behind the rule is,” Hogue said. “We’ve done it four years in a row. It’s a bonding thing for the players and we do it for laughs. It’s probably the game they look forward to the most and they’re (MHSAA) not allowing it to happen.”

Hogue had put a lot of work into getting the game up and running.

Cathedral soccer announcer Kenneth Stubbs was set to announce the game while Green Wave girls soccer coach David Gaude was to serve as the referee.

Hogue said he had been receiving numerous calls and e-mails inquiring about the game and said he was expecting one of their largest crowds ever.

“A lot of people were going to come out and see it,” Hogue said. “The (high school) players enjoy facing off against their coach and friends. It’s a laugh a minute type of game.”

Now he, as well as the Natchez High players, are left disappointed with the rule prohibiting the exhibition game.

“It was just going to be a relaxed game with nothing on the line,” Hogue said. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of calls I got about it asking if it had been cancelled. There’s a lot of disappointed people right now.”