SUMRALL – The thing that everyone needed to keep in mind was that it was practice, a chance for teams to get their games in tune against players in different colored jerseys.
With two weeks to prepare for their first games, Oak Grove coach Nevil Barr and Lumberton coach Brian Ford were singing very different tunes after watching their teams in action Friday at the Lamar County Jamboree.
Barr called his team’s performance, “sloppy,” following the Warriors’ 16-0 win over McComb, but Ford said he was pleased after the Panthers shut out Sumrall 22-0.
“Our offensive line was much improved; they’re getting better every day in practice,” said Ford. “That’s what we needed, because they’re young with only one of them returning with any experience.
“We had some backs make some plays and we played really hard on defense.”
Lumberton got scores on a 30-yard pass from quarterback Joe Arnold to Javier Chavis, a 60-yard run by Ben McSwain and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Daylon Burks. Blake Ford ran a pair of PATs to complete the scoring.
“We’ve got eight key guys who have all played together since seventh grade,” Ford said. “They’ve won every year and played a lot of football together, and we can see that carrying over into this season.”
Although Oak Grove had an up-and-down night, Barr saw some things to like in his team’s play against a McComb team that many believe will be a contender in Class 4A.
“It was a a scrimmage and we’re going to get better,” said Barr. “We do have a young football teams, but we do have some talent. We’re going to coach them to where they look a little better than they did today.”
The big question on the minds of Warrior fans throughout the offseason was who the team’s starting quarterback will be this fall, following the graduation of Kirk McCarty.
Senior Cam Myers started, completing 2 of 5 passes for 27 yards. Both of his completions came on the team’s first possession, a seven-play, 49-yard scoring drive.
Mikal Anderson got the score on a 3-yard run. Myers also had a 12-yard gain on a scramble.
J.C. Keys completed 1 of 3 passes for 9 yards and Reed Simon was 2 of 4 for 19 yards.
“Right now, we’re going to work all three, and we feel confident in all of them,” Barr said. “I thought they all competed well. Our quarterbacks are going to make plays. By the end of the year, our quarterbacks are going to be a strong part of this football team.”
Oak Grove also got scores on a 42-yard field goal by Adam Watts and a 2-yard run by Simon.
The Warriors open their season Aug. 29 at Wayne County, while Lumberton opens the same night, at home against West Marion.
Although his team failed to score against Lumberton, Sumrall coach Shannon White wasn’t displeased with his team’s effort.
“It was a typical jamboree,” White said. “Saw some good things, saw some things that weren’t good, but overall I was pleased with the effort. There were more mistakes than we should have had, without a doubt.”
While Oak Grove and Lumberton are off next week, Sumrall opens the season next Friday at Enterprise (Clarke).
“Enterprise has their whole team back,” White said. “They’re a big, physical bunch that runs an offense similar to us. So it’ll be a slugfest, but we’ll be ready to go.”
• In other jamboree action Friday night, Hattiesburg defeated Northwest Rankin 18-14, Bassfield slipped past Columbia 6-0, St. Patrick blanked Sacred Heart 14-0 and Hancock got past Perry Central 14-6.