Game of the Week: Jefferson Davis County at Columbia

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:18 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) -Two defending state champions clash in Columbia and a region rivalry is renewed as Jefferson Davis County visits the Wildcats.

“There’s not a whole lot of love lost between our two schools, our two counties and our two communities,” Jefferson Davis County head coach Lance Mancuso said. “We’ve had some great battles the past couple of years when we were both in the same district.”

“I think this isn’t Columbia High School against JDC,” Columbia head coach Chip Bilderback said .”I think it’s the city of Columbia versus Bassfield/ Prentiss. I think that’s how our fans look at it. Mutual respect I think we have for each other programs. It’s going to be a game that there’s no doubt in my mind everyone is looking forward to.”

Jefferson Davis’ MO is running the ball but the Jaguars aren’t afraid to stretch the field.

“We’re a run-heavy offense so everyone is expecting us to run the ball, so we can really pass the ball. We have a great QB in Eli Vineyard and he can really get it there,” Jaguars wide receiver Chris Shorts said.

“When they’ve got a returning starter who has been on a state championship team, you know they’ve got a lot of faith in him. You’ve seen him throw it a lot more,” Bilderback said.

The Columbia secondary won’t make it easy to find an open man though.

“Obviously they have tremendous speed on the defensive side of the ball,” Mancuso said. “The main thing we’re going to have to do is control the football.”

Maintaining possession will be crucial for JDC with the high-powered Columbia offense 31 averaging points a game.

“They’re as good as I’ve ever seen them at the skill positions,” Mancuso said.

“I feel like we’re moving the ball real well, passing the ball real well,” Columbia center Eli Lowery said. “We’ve got a young quarterback and a young wide receiver but they’re doing really good.”

These two programs don’t just have a state championship in common. They both have passionate fan bases and produce high-caliber players.

“I think that’s what you see with both of our programs is there’s a commitment there and there’s been a lot of great talent in the past. Even this Friday night, there will be a lot of players that go on and play college football,” Bilderback said.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 Friday at Columbia.

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