September 11, 2013 12:45:48 AM
After a very long fall camp, both the East and West Oktibbeha County High School football teams lift the curtain on their 2013 football seasons Friday night.
Both programs were placed on probation for failing to meet certain academic guidelines. Thus, each school is not eligible for Mississippi High School Activities Class 1A playoff activity. However, each school can play its regular season schedule of eight Class 1A, Region 3 games.
East Oktibbeha opens at Nanih Waiya, while West Oktibbeha opens at Sebastopol.
Both games start at 7 p.m.
"It has been a long haul," East Oktibbeha coach John Davis said. "To say the kids are ready to play a game would be an understatement.
"This is not an ideal situation in which to play a football season but we are looking forward to getting started."
Davis replaces Randy Brooks as head coach of the Titans. East Oktibbeha finished 2-9 last season.
The Titans will be led by quarterback John Kincade, running back Justin Williams and lineman Clayton Carr.
While East Oktibbeha had already fallen out of playoff consideration before the postseason ban was handed down last season, the same could not be said for West Oktibbeha.
The Timberwolves finished 8-3 and had a playoff berth stripped in the final weeks of the regular season.
West Oktibbeha lost several key members off that team, including coach Adam Lowrey.
Danny Crawford had been serving as the school's athletic director and will also coach the football team this season.
"We have some really hard-working young men and we are looking forward to finally playing a game," Crawford said.
The Timberwolves will be led offensively by the brother duo of Zane and Zach Watson on the line.
Sophomore Ryan Hughes is the projected starter at quarterback, while running backs include senior Eddie Johnson and junior Ty Smith.
Hillcrest Christian (1-2, 0-0)
at Starkville Academy (1-2, 0-1)
Starkville Academy returns home for a critical Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 1 battle with Hillcrest Christian.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at J.E. Logan Field.
The Volunteers dropped a 32-21 decision at Greenville Washington in its district opener last week.
Quarterback Houston Clark scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the defeat.
Through three games, Grant Wolfe leads the Starkville Academy ground game with 280 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Hillcrest Christian dropped a 36-6 decision to Copiah Academy Friday night.
Follow Scott Walters on twitter @dispatchscott.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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