Switcheroo: Starkville Academy now hosts jamboree

Starkville Academy coach Chase Nicholson, middle
By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

It's all about adjusting.
When Noxapater's football field became unplayable due to rain Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Casey Orr, the coach of the Tigers from Winston County, and Starkville Academy coach Chase Nicholson got together to see what could be done.
J.E. Logan, the home of the Volunteers, has not received as much rain this week as Noxapater, so the two coaches agreed to swap sites.
Starkville Academy will now host Friday's jamboree starting at 7 p.m. If rain becomes a factor at some point Friday, there may be a chance the action would be canceled.
"Me and coach Orr are really good friends and we both want to play for our kids," Nicholson said. "It's time to get some things done, but we don't want to do it in unsafe conditions. Their numbers are a little down this year and we've been there and done that. We know what that's like. We don't want to risk jeopardizing their season for a jamboree and we don't want to jeopardize our's for a jamboree.
"Our field was in great shape until about an hour ago (on Thursday afternoon). We're still going to play it by ear and see. Honestly, I don't want to do anything stupid for a jamboree. We are in a good place and they are in a good place. We want to play, but we want to see what happens. The great thing is we don't have to make a call on it until (this morning) and it may be late before we decide."
Weather permitting, this will be the fourth year the Vols and Tigers have met for a preseason jamboree.
Orr, who is a former assistant coach at Starkville Academy, likes the relationship between the two schools.
"It’s worked out well," Orr told radio station WLSM-FM in Louisville. "It’s good competition and gets us prepared for the upcoming season. Hopefully the weather is nice and we get a break in all of this rain so we can get out there, see what we need to improve on and see who deserves what spot as we get prepared for the upcoming season."
Noxapater has a veteran team with 11 seniors so Nicholson knows having success will be a challenge.
"He's got an older bunch that's been around a while," Nicholson said. "He likes them. We've played 7-on-7 in the summer time so we know those guys and they know us. They look forward to it as much as we look forward to it and as much as me and Orr look forward to it against each other. It's a great deal with him coming from here and he knowing us. It's just a great deal. We feel we get so much more out of this than we would if we go somewhere you play a quarter then sit down for an hour and you play a quarter, then go home against two different opponents. You never get into a rhythm. We love our format the way we do this."
The format will be like a regular four-quarter game.
The Vols have three weeks of practice under their belt and Nicholson likes where the team stands.
He admires the way his players have worked even if they have had to dodge raindrops this week.
"We're in a really good place and are excited about our guys," Nicholson said. "Their mentality toward practice even this week has been good. We come out Monday and it's pouring down rain. It does let up at practice time, but we go in the gym and they worked really hard. We have to abbreviate so much and change so much, but what we get in there and done is high tempo. They work really hard in that with no complaints.
"We come out the next day and it had been raining all morning. We were going out regardless because we have to play in it. It was sloppy, wet, but they worked really hard and they never use it as an excuse. They never once complained about the rain or the wet football."
Nicholson has prepared his squad for the possibility that there may not be a jamboree Friday night.
Whether it happens or does not happen, the preparation for the season-opener on August 18 against Lamar School at home will go on.
"They've known all week that this game may not happen, but that's where we're at, but that's not our mission," Nicholson said. "Our mission starts next week. What they have between now and then is practice. Whether we play (today) or not, it's practice. We've still got work to do to get ready for August 18 and I think they believe that and bought into that."

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