Players from Oak Grove, Sumrall and Lumberton crowded the halls of the football field house at Warrior Field Friday night, renewing acquaintances, talking a little trash and generally hanging out.
They were waiting for the word on whether the annual Lamar County Football Jamboree would be played or not after being sent indoors because of nearby lightning.
Coaches for the three Lamar County schools, plus George County, waited for more than a two hours before the verdict was in to scrap the scrimmage and send the players and fans home.
“This is not a year we need to be playing early,” said Oak Grove coach Nevil Barr.
“We’re so young. We need this tonight to get ready for our season, so hopefully we’ll get this in. We’re green and we need to play somebody besides ourselves.”
Lamar County schools weren’t alone. Other area teams, such as Petal, North Forrest, Seminary and Richton also had jamboree games affected by the inclement weather.
The coaches did a chance to see a little of their teams against someone in a different colored jersey, before the weather turned bad. Junior varsity teams played two 12-minute periods, each on offense and defense.
Sumrall will be right back at Warrior Field next Friday when the Bobcats take on Oak Grove, and second-year coach Shannon White likes what he’s seen of his team in preseason practice.
“We’ve had a good two weeks,” White said. “The kids have worked hard. They’re in pretty good shape, but we need to play a game. Games are what get you into shape.
“But we’ve had a good attitude, a good effort. The kids are excited.”
Lumberton, coming off a 6-6 season in 2011, will face some depth issues, with only about 30 players on the Panthers’ roster. But the players fourth-year coach Brian Ford does have are the usual speedy bunch.
“The kids are working hard,” Ford said. “We’re having to fill a lot of positions from graduation and whatnot. We have a lot of new faces. ”
Lumberton opens its season next Friday at Kemper County, a journey of some 140 miles.
“It is a long trip,” Ford said. “You know, they won the 3A boys basketball state championship last year, so we know they’ve some athleticism.
“We just have to keep the guys focused on the way up there, get ready to play a good football game and give ourselves a chance to win.”