We have 10 more quiet, empty Friday nights standing between us and the start of the high school football season.
Thus, all we can do for now is peer over the hot and hazy summer horizon and imagine what that opening weekend will bring. Schedules are filled out and in hand, which means yours truly has already been studying Week 1 matchups.
There are several that catch my eye, but I’m going to focus on five, just to give you an idea of what awaits on Aug. 22 and 23:
• Tishomingo County at Tupelo Christian Prep: This is the Thursday game, and it’s the first meeting between the two teams. It’s also the first time for TCPS – a Class 1A team – to play a 4A school.
Don’t be surprised if the Eagles win. They went 7-5 and finished fourth in a stacked division last year, then lost to powerhouse Simmons in the first round of the playoffs.
Tishomingo County went 2-9 last season, losing its final eight games.
• Itawamba AHS at Amory: These two were division foes for eight years before MHSAA reclassification dropped Amory from 4A to 3A. IAHS was 6-2 against the Panthers over that span.
Coach Allen Glenn is trying to get Amory back on track. After winning 11 games his first season, he’s won just nine over the last two combined.
• Okolona at Aberdeen: Alex Williams will make his head coaching debut for Aberdeen, a 3A team facing one of the area’s best 1A squads. Williams is a former West Point assistant, so you can bet he’s going to run the ball – and then run it some more.
• Pontotoc at Houston: This is the seventh-straight year for these teams to open against each other. Pontotoc is 4-2 in the previous six meetings, most of which have been competitive.
Take last year’s game, a 21-7 Pontotoc win: Houston was in the Pontotoc red zone with under a minute to go, looking to score a game-tying touchdown, when Caleb Triplett intercepted a pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown.
• South Panola at Tupelo: These two were longtime division rivals, but realignment has split them up. Thankfully, they are keeping alive what’s been a fun rivalry in recent years.
Tupelo has won two of the last three meetings.