Jamborees put teams in time crunch

Published 10:22 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

Everything seems to move a bit faster in the 21st century, and the high school football season is no exception.

This weekend, less than two weeks after their first practice Warren Central, St. Aloysius, Vicksburg High and Porters Chapel will all see live action in preseason jamborees.

The regular season begins next Friday night, and the condensed timeframe has led coaches to tweak practice plans and find ways to do in a few days what they used to have weeks to accomplish.

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“I think the kids like it more. They want to play. As coaches, I don’t know if we’ll ever have enough practice. It speeds it up,” St. Aloysius coach BJ Smithhart said. “It’s a thing of the past where you practice for a month and then play. They condense it. Like it or not, here it is. It just gets you in a routine quicker.”

The jamborees are condensed, controlled scrimmages that typically last one quarter. Each team’s varsity and junior varsity gets one quarter on the field against an opponent, then the matchups are switched up.

The format allows a number of teams to run through the motions of game day at one central location. St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel will be two of 10 teams playing Friday night at Mississippi College.

PCA will play Hillcrest and Adams County Christian. Its junior varsity will be in action against ACCS and Central Hinds.

St. Al will face Central Hinds and Brookhaven Academy.

Warren Central will play Madison-Ridgeland Academy and Jackson Academy in a six-team jamboree at Jackson Academy on Friday.

Vicksburg will host a smaller three-team jamboree with Jefferson County and Yazoo County on Saturday night.

The games are strictly scrimmages, and coaches typically use them as such. Solving position battles, building depth and having a dry run for next week’s season opener are the main goals.

It’s only when a team doesn’t play well that a jamboree becomes stressful. Making sure that doesn’t happen, while also preparing for the games that do count, is the real challenge of jamboree week, Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said.

“You’ve got to handle it in a fine way, because it’s so early that second week of practice to start looking at somebody else and not yourself and getting yourself right,” Morgan said. “But if you don’t prepare for the team you’re playing in the jamboree, you don’t do good and you don’t get the confidence and execution that you’re looking for.”

The jamborees provide the first real look for coaches at their teams, which in some cases is more valuable than others.

Marcus Rogers is heading into his first season as Vicksburg High’s head coach. He seemed to be looking forward to this Saturday as much as next Friday’s Red Carpet Bowl against McComb.

“I’m anxious,” Rogers said. “We’re going to play Yazoo County and Jefferson County in a jamboree Saturday and try to iron out some kinks and just knock the rust off. These kids are tired of hitting each other, I know that. They’re tired of hitting on each other and they want to see a different color jersey so that’s going to be a good thing for us.”

Porters Chapel coach Wayne Lynch is heading into his second season, but still was looking forward to seeing how his team meshes.

He said several transfer students came in over the summer, and the jamboree will be their first in-game action with their new teammates.

“We scrimmaged in the spring, but we’ve got some new guys now and this’ll be the first time they’ll have live action with the entire team,” Lynch said. “We’re just looking to execute our plays efficiently and make sure we’re doing everything right.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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