Sports column: Plotting out the key dates on the football calendar

Published 3:55 am Sunday, July 30, 2023

You might not have realized it, but this weekend is our last without some form of football being played somewhere.

The annual Hall of Fame Game between the Jets and Browns kicks off the NFL preseason next Thursday (Aug. 3), and MAIS high school jamborees follow the next night. The first regular-season high school games are less than two weeks away, and the college season starts a month from now.

With footballs flying through the air during practice, it seemed like a good time to check some important dates on the calendar in the next few weeks:

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• Aug. 4 — Porter’s Chapel Academy, St. Aloysius and Tallulah Academy all play preseason scrimmages. No official scores will be kept, but the team that spontaneously combusts last in the 100-degree heat will be declared the winner.

• Aug. 7 — Red Carpet Bowl tickets go on sale through Be sure to leave the “m” off the end, no matter how much you want to put it on there.

Warren Central plays Clinton and Vicksburg plays Holmes County Central in the annual doubleheader on Aug. 25. Both games are at Vicksburg High’s Memorial Stadium, and cost $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Tickets are good for both games.

• Aug. 11 — The high school football season begins. The Mid-South Association of Independent Schools will play about a dozen “Week Zero” games, and the schedule includes both Porter’s Chapel (at River Oaks in Monroe, La.) and Tallulah Academy (home vs. Tensas Academy).

The early start means we’ll have three different opening nights during a rolling, staggered start to the season. Buy stock in festive bunting.

• Aug. 13 — The New Orleans Saints play their preseason opener in the Superdome against the Kansas City Chiefs. You probably won’t see much of star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr, but Vicksburg fans might want to tune in to catch a glimpse of Nick Anderson. The Vicksburg High alum will probably get some playing time as he tries to make the Saints’ roster as an undrafted free agent.

• Aug. 18 — It’s opening night … again! St. Aloysius begins its season with a home game vs. Adams County Christian School, while PCA plays its home opener against Delta Academy.
PCA has not played Delta since 1980, so here is a background note. Delta has been either .500 or within one game of it either way six times in the last eight seasons. That is the definition of average.

• Aug. 19 — The 2023 edition of “Playmakers,” The Vicksburg Post’s football preview magazine, is released with the weekend edition of the newspaper. Lots of good stuff in there. Pick up a copy. Heck, pick up 10. Or 100.

• Aug. 25 — Opening night No. 3 for the high school season in Warren County is the biggest. Warren Central renews its old rivalry with Clinton in game one of the 61st annual Red Carpet Bowl doubleheader at 5:30 p.m., and then Vicksburg plays Holmes County Central at 8.
Come for the football, stay to marvel at the giant American flag hanging from the firetruck.

• Aug. 26 — College football season begins with a bunch of teams licking their chops at the prospect of facing a depleted Jackson State team that unapologetically spanked them the past couple of years. South Carolina State is up first in the long-windedly named Cricket MEAC-SWAC Challenge Kickoff.

• Aug. 29 — NFL teams cut their roster down to the 53-man limit for the regular season. Vicksburg natives Nick Anderson and Ben Brown, who is trying to make the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster as an offensive lineman, will find out if they’ve made it or not on this date. If they don’t make the roster, there is still a chance they’ll get signed to their team’s practice squad.

• Aug. 31 — The first full weekend of the college football season begins with a Thursday night Mississippi tripleheader. Mississippi College tries to kick Keiser’s keister, Delta State tries to rock in Rolla against Missouri S&T, and the annual Backyard Brawl between Millsaps and Belhaven is in Jackson.

Having three of the state’s small college teams play on Thursday feels like watching the opening acts at a music festival before the headliner takes the stage.

• Sept. 2 — The last line on our monthlong checklist is the first full Saturday of college football. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are both at home. Alcorn State plays Southern Miss in an intriguing matchup in Hattiesburg.
Cornhole will be played. Food and beverages will be consumed. Twelve hours of sitting in front of the TV every Saturday for the next three months shall commence.

And all will be right with the world.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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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