Vicksburg High teams of late ’80s to play benefit game

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2008

Class reunions are supposed to be calm affairs, where everyone catches up on the last 10 or 20 years and relives the old days.

For those who graduated from Vicksburg High in the late 1980s, it’s a little harder to let go.

Nearly 50 former VHS football players from the classes of 1988 and ‘89 will get together on Sunday for an alumni game at Vicksburg Junior High. It will cap a joint reunion of the two classes, and will benefit Clarence “Rock” Shelby, a member of the Class of ‘88 who is suffering from cancer.

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“It’s going to be a fun game. We’ve been getting a lot of response for it,” said DexSter Draper, a former VHS running back who has been organizing the game. “Just bring everybody out to watch some old guys playing football. We’re calling it ‘The Olds Bowl.’”

Among the participants in the game are the quarterbacks from both classes, Ronnie Dart and Steve Bracey. Draper, who now lives in Arizona and still plays semi-pro football at age 37, said getting so many people to play was easier than he thought it’d be.

If you go

Sunday, 3 p.m.

Green/White Alumni Game at Vicksburg Junior High Admission: $2

“They’re coming from Vicksburg, to Houston, to Atlanta, Georgia. We have one guy coming from Alaska. We have a Class of ‘89 web page so that made it easier. Thank God for new technology,” Draper said. “I wasn’t expecting that many people to respond. And it’s not just guys. Some of the girls wanted to get back in their Gator Girl outfits and cheer on the sidelines.”

Draper added that a friendly rivalry has always existed between the two classes, and the football game was a fun way to reconnect and settle it once and for all.

He also joked that, with most of the class in its late 30s now, he was glad so many people wanted to play.

“We needed every single one of them. When you get older, you can’t play as long,” he said with a laugh. “This is one time nobody is going to sit the bench.”