Sports column: Warren County’s sports scene speeds up in February

Published 11:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2024

A Facebook meme that’s been circulating the past couple of weeks said it will snow in Vicksburg some time between Feb. 10 and Feb. 18.

It was hard to take it seriously, and not because it was probably generated by a sketchy AI meme generator that thinks humans have seven fingers and plastic skin. It’s because, even as the calendar flips to February, spring is already in the air here.

Unlike the northern states, where spring does not begin until a groundhog sees his shadow, the snow fully thaws, or Memorial Day — whichever comes first — in Mississippi we start to awake from our hibernation once the Super Bowl is over in February.

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Baseball and softball teams have already been practicing for a month and will take the field for the first time on Feb. 10 when Vicksburg High hosts a softball jamboree and Warren Central a baseball jamboree. The first regular season games for all of our Warren County teams are Feb. 12 and 13.

College baseball opens up Feb. 16. Southern Miss and Mississippi State play at home on opening weekend. Ole Miss is playing a four-game series at Hawaii, which was a nice bit of planning on its part.

On Feb. 10, the inaugural Laces For Love Run will be held downtown at 8 a.m. The event has 5K and 10K run options, as well as a 5K race walk if you’re more of a moseyer than a runner. If you don’t want to compete, you can still volunteer to help with the race. Email race chairman Johnna Riddick at johnnacriddick@gmail.com to find out how.

The Laces For Love Run is, of course, a good warm-up for the Run Thru History on March 2. Vicksburg’s oldest and biggest running event, a 10K in the Vicksburg National Military Park, celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. Visit runthruhistory.org for information on how to sign up or volunteer.

This is also the time when high school soccer and basketball teams play their postseasons. The MHSAA normally finishes its soccer season the first week of February, but extended it an extra week because of weather-related postponements statewide in January.

The basketball playoffs begin in earnest this week, with MHSAA region tournaments and MAIS North and South State tournaments. Vicksburg High and Warren Central will play in the former at Callaway High School in Jackson, and St. Al’s boys’ team will go to Amite, La., for the MAIS Class 5A South State tournament.

Porter’s Chapel Academy will host the MAIS Class 3A South State tournament, and both of its teams have a chance to do well. The girls’ team is undefeated and eyeing a deep postseason run.

Lest football be left out of any sports discussion, Feb. 8 is the second round of national signing day for college football. We’ll have a number of local players announcing their decisions and signing on the dotted line.

February is often regarded as a slow time in the sports world. Once the Super Bowl is finished, the pros hit a lull as the NBA and NHL seasons soldier on, and Major League Baseball and NASCAR wait to get cranked up.

Here in Mississippi, though, it’s one of the busiest times of year. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow. There’s too much going on.

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