Time to kick off hype for the Red Carpet Bowl

Published 9:43 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

We’re still six long, agonizing weeks from the start of the 2016 high school football season, although it’s sometimes hard to tell with the way things operate these days.

Preseason football practice “officially” starts on July 25 for MAIS teams and Aug. 1 for those in the MHSAA, but none of them will take an extended break.

Today marks the halfway point of the summer. Warren County’s high school teams have worked through June on offseason conditioning and will return to the field after the long July 4 weekend. Some will take a mandatory week off, while others can and will plow through for the next three weeks.

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Here at The Vicksburg Post, we’re already starting work on production of the 2016 edition of the “Playmakers” magazine that will preview the season. With that in mind, we’re going to jump on board the hype train for a few weeks with a small wrinkle to the every day section.

This year’s Red Carpet Bowl promises to be the most anticipated in nearly a decade. Warren Central will play Oak Grove in the first game of the doubleheader, at 6 p.m. at Vicksburg High’s Memorial Stadium. Vicksburg and defending Class 5A champion Wayne County will play the second game starting around 8:30.

It’ll mark the first time since South Panola came to town in 2008 that a defending state champion has played in the Red Carpet Bowl. It’s the first time since 2007 that both opponents of the Warren County teams will be coming off of 10-win seasons. Both teams also have rabid fan bases that travel well. They should bring a sellout crowd and unique atmosphere to Memorial Stadium.

Back in 2007, before Warren Central played South Panola and Vicksburg faced Clarksdale, we ran a countdown in the Post’s sports section. For another big Red Carpet Bowl, we’re going to do something similar by featuring a small stat, factoid or bit of RCB or high school football trivia every day on Page B2 until the day of the game.

We’ll offer a lot more in-depth coverage of all four teams as the game draws closer. We do have six weeks to go, after all. This is just something to whet the appetite and give fans a bit more knowledge about the game that has been a Vicksburg institution for the past 53 years and counting.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer. He can be reached via email at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

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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