Smith on Sports: Importance of jamborees can't be undervalued

Danny P. Smith

Staff Writer

There will be no wins or losses on the line this Friday and Saturday.

When area high school teams participate in jamboree action, it will be an opportunity for the coaches to get a look at their players before the season begins in a little over a week from now.

Private schools have entered its third week of practice, while public schools are working for the second week, so there hasn't been much time for teams to form an identity at this point.

Starkville Academy will play at Noxapater in jamboree action Friday and head coach Chase Nicholson is anxious to see several players in a game-like setting. He's glad the Volunteers will be able to go against another team without it being a regular season outing, but there are also another day or two of work to do before they get to that point.

"We've still got this week of practice and some good days of teaching," Nicholson said. "When Friday gets here we can turn them loose."

There will be a new quarterback behind center this season at Starkville Academy with Garrett Lewis. He is an athlete with some skill and may prove to be very good following in the footsteps of Noah Methvin and Ben Owens from last year's Class AAA State championship squad.

The main purpose the jamboree will serve for Nicholson is to see how young Vols perform. He spoke to a sophomore recently who said that playing a jamboree was the best way for him to adjust from junior high to high school.

Jamborees give coaches a great opportunity to evaluate many aspects of the team with one week left before the games count.

In other jamboree action on Friday, East Webster will host Aberdeen, while Eupora will welcome in J.Z. George.

Choctaw County will face Class A powerhouse Nanih Waiya on Saturday night at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium, while Starkville High School will make the trip down Highway 25 to participate in Louisville's Fall Jamboree against the host school.

There are some players in the area that have been in a little bit of musical chairs role since the end of last season.

With the Yellowjackets, Malik Brown has moved from quarterback to wide receiver to give Luke Altmyer a chance to see what he can do as a sophomore signal caller.

Altmyer has already turned some heads in the spring, during the summer at 7-on-7 camps and the Top Dawg Camp and the preseason in practice. His continued progression will be key for SHS moving forward and having Brown as an extra weapon should help greatly.

At Eupora, Edwin Herard has made the return to quarterback after a year as a running back.

Herard has been very productive for the Eagles wherever he's put on the field and he will be one of the senior leaders for the squad this season.

Whether it's Starkville Academy getting a good look at Lewis at quarterback, Starkville High seeing more of Altmyer behind center and Brown at wide receiver, or Eupora watching Herard's transition back to signal caller, the importance of the upcoming jamborees can not be undervalued.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.