Of all the teams in Class 6A, Region 1, District 2 that had an open date last week, the DeSoto Central Jaguars probably needed it the most.
The Jaguars are off to an 0-4 start under new coach Matt Wallace and two of their seniors leaders in Andrew White and Skip Knox were hurting.
"We needed the time to get healthy because we've been kind of banged up," Wallace said. "In addition to not being very good banged up is disastrous, but we've gotten a little bit of healing done and have some good legs under us and we'll be ready to go for Friday."
Desoto Central hosts the Starkville Yellowjackets at 7:30 p.m. in what will be Homecoming for the Jaguars.
Wallace doesn't sugar-coat what the experience has been like since taking over at DeSoto Central in January and says the situation is pretty bleak right now.
"We're somewhere between locust and bubonic plague," Wallace said. "It's awful. Anytime you have a change, you go through a lot of attrition.
"When I first got here, we had 129 in the offseason that wanted to play football and there's a difference between wanting to play football and doing what it takes to have a winning football program. Right now, we've only got about 40 kids who have stuck it out."
White, one of the best tacklers for the Jaguars, may not be able to play against Starkville and Wallace said it will be a game-time decision, while Knox recovered enough from his injury to return to the team last week.
Other than White and Knox, DeSoto Central starts eight sophomores on both sides of the football.
Wallace said that's not the most ideal situation when going up against the Yellowjackets. He was at Center Hill when SHS coach Jamie Mitchell was at Olive Branch.
"There's one thing you can count on," Wallace said. "(Mitchell's) teams are going to be well-prepared and well-coached. They do a great job (at Starkville) and looking at them on film, I think they right in the mix with Olive Branch, Southaven and those for the top playoff spot.
"They are a quality football team and he's done an excellent job. Right now, they are heads and tails above where we are. We're hoping to be there in two or three years."