Von Smith will lead West Oktibbeha into jamboree action tonight against East Webster. (Photo by Lee Adams, For Starkville Daily News)
One week before the high school football season kicks off, most teams are playing in some type of jamboree or playing an exhibition game.
For West Oktibbeha and East Webster, the two programs square off against each other tonight in Maben. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. following the West Lowndes and French Camp game at 6 p.m.
"We're excited," East Webster head coach Doug Wilson said. "We feel like we're playing one of the best teams in Class A and I think we've got another team in Class A to open the season (at Vardaman)."
The Timberwolves play several Class 2A teams this season so playing a preseason game against one, is something head coach Adam Lowrey is excited about.
"Anytime you play tough competition, it's going to toughen you up," Lowrey said. "We are trying to prepare ourselves for what we are going to see, to prepare ourselves for doing very well in the district."
Most high schools have only been practicing for about two weeks, so there hasn't been a lot of time to prepare.
"It's been a stress to get ready for it," Wilson said. "There hasn't been a whole lot of time to prepare for it, but we're going to count on it and it's a good prep game for us so we can get ready for next week. We didn't get to do that last year."
Lowrey is anxious to see where his team is and how they will stack up.
"I want to see guys that really want to get after to it," Lowrey said. "We are going to use this as a test. We want to see if our strengths are strong and see how weak our weaknesses are. We just want to see where we are and see what we need to improve on."
The Timberwolves are led by quarterback Von Smith. The Wolverines know what type of player he is and what he brings to the West Oktibbeha team.
"Great kid, great team and well-coached," Wilson said. "We know it will be a challenge."
The Volunteers travel to Jackson Academy today to take part in its own jamboree.
SA plays Simpson Academy at 6 p.m. and Lamar Academy at 8 p.m.
"I think the biggest reason we like to get in it is we are going to have to travel," SA head coach Jeff Terrill said. "You get to travel one time when it's not a real game and that helps get the kinks out. You get to get on the field, you have officials blowing whistles, time clock's running and that type of stuff."
With the Volunteers playing two games, the starters will have limited action.
"We will play it by ear," Terrill said. "(The starters) will play most of the first game and probably a series in the second game."
The Volunteers ran the ball often last year and that seems to be the trend this year. The jamboree may give Terrill an opportunity to see what his passing game is made of.
"We will probably try and throw the ball a little bit more for fun," Terrill said. "It just depends on what type of opportunities they are going to give us. We want push the pencil. If we are able to throw it, we will, if they are doing something that allows us to run the ball like we like to, we are going to take a little bit of what we get."
This will be the first time the Volunteers have been on the field competitively since their loss to Washington School last year in the state championship game.
"You just hope the kid's have a great effort," Terrill said.
Randy Brooks takes his Titans to Velma Jackson to take on Durant at 7 p.m.
He is glad to get some game experience for his younger players before the season starts.
"We got a group of young players," Brooks said. "I want to see how they react to game-type situations. Most of them have not been in game-type of situations. Most of them were junior high kids last year."
Although there are several young Titans, Brooks has a good group of veterans he can lean on. He is expecting them to step up in the jamboree and lead the team.
"I have a good core of veterans that can calm the younger guys down and lead us to what we are supposed to be doing," Brooks said.
Durant is similar to East Oktibbeha in that it has a young team as well. Brooks expects it to be a good matchup.
"I saw them play this spring in a jamboree at East Mississippi Community College," Brooks said. "They looked really young like we do so it should be a good competitive game."
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