St. Al hits final preseason checkpoint with jamboree games Thursday

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

It’s still hard to gauge how well St. Aloysius will do at the start of the 2023 football season. One thing that’s certain, though, is that the final leg of their preseason schedule will be a hot ticket.

The Flashes head to Tri-County Academy in Flora on Thursday for a pair of jamboree scrimmages. They’ll play the first and third of 12 scheduled match-ups, which means a kickoff in the most brutal heat of what is forecast to be a 100-degree afternoon.

St. Al plays Central Holmes at 2:30 p.m. and Canton Academy at 3:30.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It’s going to be hot. That part I do know,” St. Al coach Bubba Nettles said with a laugh. “But our kids are ready to rise up to the challenge. They understand that we are going into this to do what we do. If we score 40 points in the 30 minutes, great. If we score seven but move the football the way I want to move it, great. We are not designed to score on every play. I just want us to go out and do what we do, and do it correctly.”

The jamboree games mark St. Al’s second and final checkpoint of the preseason. They played at Benton Academy in a controlled scrimmage last week, with each team rotating series on offense and defense. Thursday’s games will be 30 minutes each with a running clock.

No score was kept for the scrimmage against Benton, but Nettles said he was encouraged by what he saw — or, at least, he was after analyzing the game film and seeing his players’ reaction to it.

“At first I was looking at all the negatives, but then I realized we missed a couple of reads here and there. We probably left two or three touchdowns on the board,” Nettles said. “Having gone back and watched the film with the quarterback reading coverages, he knows what he missed, he saw it and was as angry about it as I was — which is what you want to see.”

The Flashes are also working to build depth with a young roster. There are only four seniors, and several sophomores saw significant playing time last season as freshmen starters.

“Defensively, the first unit was as stout as it could possibly be. We just have to work a little harder developing that depth behind them,” Nettles said.

Playing fundamentally sound football is what Nettles is hoping to see again on Thursday afternoon. The season opener is Aug. 18 at home vs. Adams County Christian School, which reached the MAIS Class 4A semifinals last season.

“If somebody is that much better than us, then I can sleep with that. But to go out and miss assignments on the line, not hit the gap like you’re supposed to running the ball, running the wrong route, that part for me is the tough pill to swallow,” Nettles said. “Luckily, there was not a whole lot of that this past Friday. That was the big positive.”

Thursday, Aug. 10
2:30 p.m. – St. Al vs. Central Holmes
3 p.m. – Central Hinds vs. Carroll
3:30 p.m. – St. Al vs. Canton Academy
4 p.m. – Central Holmes vs. Carroll
4:30 p.m. – Central Hinds vs. Copiah
5 p.m. – Canton Academy vs. Leake Academy
5:30 p.m. – Oak Forest vs. Copiah Academy
6 p.m. – Riverfield vs. Leake Academy
6:30 p.m. – Oak Forest vs. Madison-St. Joe
7 p.m. – Riverfield vs. East Rankin
7:30 p.m. – Tri-County vs. Madison-St. Joe
8 p.m. – Tri-County vs. East Rankin

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.

email author More by Ernest