Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

schools release schedules

Every time the Mississippi High School Activities Association announces a new reclassification, a few days later, a feeding frenzy ensues as each of its member schools tries to fill out next season’s schedule.

Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said the frenzy was Tuesday morning when the state’s football coaches got together.

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“We just had to grab what you could get. What made it difficult this time, was not only do we have the new six classes, but the state has also implemented an open date for all member schools. That’s why the Red Carpet Bowl is on Aug. 21, a full week earlier than usual.

“You can still play 11 games, but you have to have an open date and the MHSAA left those dates up to your own district. Coach (Bobby) Hall at Madison Central wanted his right in the middle of his district schedule, but we all said no. All of our open dates will be within the first four weeks of the season. Once we hit the district, it’s seven straight games,” Stevens said.

Vicksburg will take its open date on Aug. 28, a week after its Red Carpet Bowl opener against Ocean Springs on Aug. 21 at Warren Central’s Viking Stadium. The Gators will then play 10 straight.

The run starts with a trip to Louisiana to play Richwood, a school just south of Monroe that reached the Class 3A quarterfinals this season.

“We’ve been looking at some folks over that way. They were in the playoffs last year. They are in the same district as Madison Parish,” Stevens said.

Vicksburg will have its home opener at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 11 against Lawrence County, a former 4A school that is now 5A in the new, balanced MHSAA realignment. That will be followed by a home date with Tylertown, which lost in the Class 3A championship game to Louisville, 26-21.

“We thought we were going to play Natchez,” Stevens said in a bid to renew a traditional rivalry, “but then they were able to work out a home game with Warren Central and dropped us.”

Warren Central opens its 2009 season in the Red Carpet Bowl at home against Gulfport, now coached by former Madison Central coach Mike Justice. The Vikings will also play Lawrence County and then take on another high-profile 6A program in the Hattiesburg Tigers.

Because Provine was the only team lost from its region in the realignment, and Vicksburg the only gain, the Gators were given Provine’s region schedule from the past two seasons.

The 2009 lineup will be: at Grenada, Northwest Rankin, at Greenville-Weston, Madison Central, at Murrah, Warren Central and Clinton. The home-and-away sites of the Warren Central and Clinton games have yet to be worked out. Provine played at Warren Central this season.


Contact Jeff Byrd at