St. Al, Cathedral vying for new trophy in rivalry game

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

St. Aloysius football coach Bubba Nettles said he has a simple order for his team this week — win or walk.

“I did tell the kids that if I don’t come home with that trophy, then they’re all walking home,” Nettles said with a laugh.

Nettles was joking, although he certainly does want the shiny new trophy and the win that comes with it when the Flashes take on archrival Cathedral Friday night in Natchez.

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For what’s believed to be the first time in the 85-year history of the series, the winner will receive a trophy sponsored by the Knights of Columbus councils in Vicksburg and Natchez. It’s the start of a new tradition that Nettles was stunned to learn was not an old one.

“When they presented it to me in July I told Dawn Meeks I thought that was a great idea. I just assumed there would’ve been,” Nettles said.

The start of the game has been pushed back 30 minutes, to 7:30 p.m., because of concerns about the excessive heat forecast for Friday.

As much as the trophy, Nettles wants a victory to erase the memory of last week’s season-opening loss to Adams County Christian School. St. Al surrendered 27 points in the second quarter and lost 53-14.

Nettles said that while ACCS was a formidable opponent, a number of happenings surrounding the game did not help matters. Events throughout the week cut several practices short, and there were a couple of pregame ceremonies on Friday night.

One of the ceremonies was to dedicate St. Al’s renovated stadium. A donation by the Pinkston family paved the way for a new concession stand, restrooms, and improvements to the playing surface.

“It was a crazy week to begin with, with so much going on. We had a JV jamboree on a Tuesday, which cut our practice short. Wednesday was Meet the Flashes, so that practice got cut a little short. And then walking into a buzzsaw that is ACCS. That is a very good football team,” Nettles said. “Plus the dedication for Corey Pinkston and his family, and their wonderful donation, and the Flash Dash with all the kids. It was a wild week and I’m glad and the kids are glad that that week is now behind us and we can focus on the remaining nine games on our schedule.”

To that end, Nettles added, he’s treating Week 2 like Week 1 and a soft reboot for the season. Cathedral lost its opener as well, 41-30 to Central Hinds, and Nettles said it’s a much more favorable match-up than a juggernaut like ACCS.

“Last week didn’t discourage anybody,” he said. “Our kids aren’t naive. We were in an uphill battle all last week. This week, I think the playing field is a little more level so our kids are eager and excited to get on that practice field and get ready to roll.”

All games begin at 7 p.m. unless noted
St. Aloysius at Cathedral (Radio: 101.3 FM), 7:30 p.m.
Clinton at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Holmes Co. Central at Vicksburg (Radio: 107.7 FM)
PCA at Prentiss Christian (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Franklin Academy at Tallulah Academy
Deer Creek at Sharkey-Issaquena Academy
Central Hinds at Amite School Center
Port Gibson at Murrah

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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