Ferriday, Natchez to scrimmage with others

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — Even though the regular season doesn’t begin for Mississippi public schools until Aug. 29 and doesn’t begin for Louisiana public schools until Sept. 5, several schools are getting a jump start.

Six schools — five of them in the area — will participate in the first ever Miss-Lou Challenge, Aug. 22, at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium at Natchez High.

The challenge consists of three games, each featuring a Mississippi school against a Louisiana school.

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Cathedral will take on Pointe Coupee Central from Opelousas, La., at 5 p.m. while Block will face Wilkinson County at 6:30 p.m.

The final game of the night will feature Ferriday against Natchez High at 8 p.m.

Natchez High head coach Lance Reed said his team has always played a scrimmage game before the regular season starts, but this year they wanted to get more teams involved.

“This year we’re trying something a little different by getting different schools to come in and play,” Reed said. “Last year we started trying to attract other schools to area to kick off season with other teams coming in.”

Reed said that scrimmaging a good team like Ferriday can only help his team.

“Coach (Freddie) Harrison does a great job with his group,” Reed said. “We’ve been kicking around the idea of playing each other. It’s something that’s fun for the area and will bring out the competitive nature for both teams.”

Reed said that preseason scrimmages are a good way to see the progress the team has made in the offseason and find more things they need to work on.

“You never want to go into the first game of the season without having faced off against a different color jersey,” Reed said. “(Scrimmages) give you a chance to go against Friday night, live competition. You get a more realistic view of where you are.”

Harrison said that while his team, which will dress around 50 players faces a great disadvantage against Natchez, which will dress over 80, it will benefit his team in the long run.

“It’s always good to play a new team,” Harrison said. “You get tired of hitting on the same people in practice all the time. We want to make sure our guys give a good effort, are sound in their assignments and know what they are doing as a team.”

Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said he will use the scrimmage as a chance to take a look at some of his younger players who haven’t seen as much action as the upperclassmen.

“It gives us a chance to look at younger players and try to see what we’ve got for the whole year,” Beesley said. “We’re not concerned with the score of the scrimmage.”

Reed said he is looking forward to turning the Miss-Lou Challenge into an annual event.

“We’d love for this to be something that’s hopefully big for the area,” Reed said. “We’re making it out to be Mississippi vs. Louisiana since we’re right here on the river. Hopefully it’s something we can build on.”