The surroundings won’t have changed much come kickoff at the town’s football stadium come Friday night.
Only the circumstances.
And the name.
Silver and blue have replaced black and gold and red and white, as Yellowjackets and Bulldogs have transformed into Jaguars with the 2017-18 union of the former Bassfield and Prentiss high schools.
Jefferson Davis County High School ushered in a new football era last week in fine fashion, topping Harrison Central High School 25-10 in the Port City Bowl at historic Milner Stadium in Gulfport.
Friday, the Jaguars come home for the first time to play on a field that has spawned state champions in years past.
“This will be a special one, too,” Jefferson Davis County coach Lance Mancusco said. “It’s a big rivalry.”
JDCHS (1-0) will take on long-time rival, Collins High School, at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Coach Eric Booth, in his second season at Collins, knows all about the den his Tigers are headed into Friday night.
Booth was a star running back/return man for Bassfield High School in the early 1990s before going on to a standout career at the University of Southern Mississippi.
“I played there a lot of years, but it’s not going to make a difference (Friday),” Booth said. “They’re a pretty good team. They’ve got a big offensive line, a big defensive line, so we’re going to have to play well. No mistakes, no turnovers.”
Mancuso called his team’s opening win “a team effort,” a satisfying start to the season, but with plenty of room to grow.
“We’re just hoping that we improve every day this week in practice and go out this Friday and give a really good effort,” Mancuso said.
Booth is hoping the same. Coming off a 2-10 season, the Tigers (0-1) took Seminary High School down to the wire before falling 9-6 in the 2017 season opener Friday.
Collins held Seminary to 174 yards total offense, including a 1.1-yard-per-carry against the run. But the Tigers managed just 156 yards total offense and scored their only touchdown on a 70-yard punt return in the first quarter by Markel McLaurin.
McLaurin also rushed for 98 yards on 16 carries.
“I felt pretty good about how we played, but I told the kids, we have to score when we get inside the red zone,” Booth said. “We left points on the field, and you just can’t do that.”