Area prep football teams to get trial run in jamborees

Published 6:03 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

Football season is upon us at all stages: high school, college and the NFL.

For the local prep teams, they will put their fall camp preparation to the test on Friday with the playing of jamboree games.

Oxford and Water Valley are hosting Charleston and Ripley, respectively, while Lafayette is making the trip up Interstate 55 to play Southaven.

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With weather looking dicey in the forecast in the Memphis area, Lafayette’s game could get moved to William L. Buford Stadium if Southaven’s field gets washed out.

It is a quick turnaround for teams, who will have just under two weeks of fall camp under their belts, but it is a good test run against a fresh opponent to find out what needs to be refined before next week’s regular season openers where the results start to matter.

“You want to speed everything up. You want to be crisp and clean,” Water Valley coach Brad Embry said. “We’re not that yet as far as execution, but I think we’ve had a good summer. …We’ve put a lot in. We’ve basically put our entire offense and now we’ve just got to fine tune things.”

For Oxford and Lafayette, there is more than just getting the players adjusted to the playbook. They are also having to adjust to a new head coach and changes throughout the coaching staff.

Friday marks the beginning of the Chris Cutcliffe and Michael Fair eras at Oxford and Lafayette, respectively.

The Chargers are not going through as much of an adjustment as Lafayette with Cutcliffe having already been around the Oxford program as an assistant coach.

“It’s a dress rehearsal for us, and we’re looking forward to it,” Fair said. “It’s been a long camp for us, and it just gives our guys the opportunity to compete against someone else. … We feel fairly solid in most of our spots, but definitely there are spots that are thin. I’m just anxious more than anything. I’ve been through this before, but there’s a lot of moving parts in a football program. Just want to make sure everything’s ready.”

Positions of interest
Cutcliffe has a couple groups he will keep his eye on Friday night to see how they progressed through camp and what needs to be addressed heading into the first game week of the season on Monday.

“Defensively you want to see yourself get lined up properly,” Cutcliffe said. “I really want to see us tackle. Actually playing against a different opponent, you find out what tacklers we are. The kicking game at this point is about executing well and getting lined up and knowing our assignments there.”

Oxford will kick off at 8 p.m. at Bobby Holcomb Field while Water Valley and Lafayette’s jamborees are slated to begin at 6 p.m. Water Valley will be holding their annual Meet the Blue Devils event prior to their game.