Mustangs on the Field

In this photo from 2019, the Mantachie Mustangs football team runs onto the field. The Mississippi High School Athletics Association announced last week that it would be delaying the start of fall sports by two weeks amid growing concerns over healthy and safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) executive board approved a change of schedule for fall sports including football, volleyball, swimming and cross-country, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The board announced the changes, last week.

Under the new schedule, the start of football will be delayed two weeks. 2A (Mantachie) and 4A (IAHS) classifications will play nine games. Practice will begin on Aug. 17, with scrimmages allowed to begin on Aug. 28.

The first game of the truncated season will be Sept. 4. Playoffs for these classes will begin on Nov. 6. State championships will be played on Dec. 4-5.

Games originally scheduled to take place before the season’s new start date can be rescheduled, according to the MHSAA. Statewide, this means several long-standing rivals won’t face off this season.

Itawamba Agricultural High School was scheduled to play Amory High School on Aug. 21 in the classic game and New Albany High School on Aug. 28.

IAHS will open its season against Saltillo High School.

The Mantachie Mustang’s first Hall of Fame game was originally scheduled for Aug. 21 versus Oak Hill Academy. The following week, they would have faced Thrasher High School.

Mantachie’s season is slated to begin Sept. 4 against Smithville High School.

Volleyball and cross-country teams can begin practice on Aug. 10 with the first meet or match beginning on Aug. 24. Matches and meets originally scheduled before the new start day may be rescheduled as long as the administration of the schools involved approve the revision. The postseason schedules for these two sports will remain the same.

Swim teams will also be allowed to begin holding practices on Aug. 10. Meets will be allowed to begin on Aug. 24.

The delay in the start of the season has also shifted the football schedules for both Mantachie High School and Itawamba Agricultural High School somewhat.

Mantachie will play Hamilton in a Jamboree on Aug. 21. This will also be the game when Mantachie’s first Hall of Fame class will be recognized. The game against Thrasher has been moved to Sept. 11. Oak Hill Academy and Independence are no longer on the schedule.

IAHS’s games against Amory High School and New Albany High School have been canceled. Both teams have faced IAHS annually since the early 2000s. Those rivalries go back decades.

Twitter: @abbyloden

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