By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
On Sunday, millions of football fans and food lovers alike will gather around the television to watch the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens face off in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Among those watching the NFL title game will be high school football coaches across Northeast Mississippi.
Here’s a peek at what some of them are planning for game day and who they’re going to be rooting for.
Mike Mattox, who has been at Booneville for 20 years and spent the past three as head coach, said he’s always kind of pulled for the NFC, so he’ll be cheering for the 49ers.
The father of a newborn, Mattox said the menu likely will be hot wings, sausage and cheese dip, Ro-Tel cheese dip and a fruit plate, among other things.
“I’m a wing and dip man myself, but my wife makes this chocolate cake – I don’t even like sweets, but, golly, this is good,” he said.
Mattox said he likes his wings really, really hot.
“I like to juice them up real hot and then nobody eats them much but me,” he said. “There’s a method to my madness.”
He figures there will be about 20 people – family and close friends – at his home to watch the game.
“I have a 50-inch plasma TV with surround sound,” he said. “I have my recliner. Everybody else can sit wherever they want to sit.”
Shaune Holiday, head football coach at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School, said he’s going to be pulling for the Ravens.
“My godson – Pernell McPhee, No. 90, a defensive tackle – plays for them,” he said. “We’ll watch the game at my mother-in-law’s house. I’ll be cooking the ribs, but we’ll also have Ro-tel dip and wings, and my cousin, Lamar Standifer, will be doing some of the cooking for us, too.”
Lynn Moore, who’s been at Mantachie for a year, said he’s going to be at home in his little room watching the game.
“I’ll probably go to the store and buy some ribs that are already cooked,” he said.
Moore doesn’t really have a favorite going into the game, but he said when it gets right down to it, he’ll be pulling for the Ravens.
“There’s a kid on the practice squad who played for us when I was at Anniston, Ala.,” he said. “We still communicate. So I sort of have a vested interest in him.”
Johnny Hill, who has been at Oxford for close to 20 years over two stints, definitely will not be doing any food prep on Sunday.
“I can’t cook,” he said. “I can make popcorn, but sometimes I even burn that.”
Hill, who is rooting for the 49ers, said he has four sons who will likely join him to watch the game.
“One of the boys is a pretty good cook and he’ll probably cook some deer meat for us,” he said.
Newly named Amory coach Ben Ashley said he’ll probably watch the game at a friend’s house.
“My wife will probably end up making a dessert of some sort,” he said. “I don’t really have any favorite Super Bowl foods. I just like to eat.”
Ashley said he’ll be pulling for Baltimore on Sunday.
“When I was growing up, San Francisco was pure evil – they just had this dynasty thing going on. I can’t seem to get past that,” he said. “But one thing’s for sure – I think it’s going to be an awesome game.”
Doug Jones has been at Corinth for about 11 months. He has no preference as far as winners go, but conceded he’ll likely go for the 49ers. He’ll spend Sunday at his home where he and his wife, Hallie, will host their Sunday school class for a Super Bowl feast.
Hallie Jones said the menu will go like this: Boston butt, barbecue sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad and corn on the cob. Their guests will fill in with appetizers and sweet treats.
“I’m also going to make glazed football sugar cookies,” she said. “These are a favorite around our house during the fall, and I look for any excuse to make them the rest of the year. I also will make BLT dip as an appetizer.”
Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said he’s not sure if he’ll watch the game with friends or maybe with his Sunday school class, but the menu will be easy and fuss-free.
“We’ll have dips and soups and somebody always grills something,” he said. “I make what’s called a hotdog sauce. You grill the dogs and then put the sauce on them. It’s like a chili sauce.”
Gray, who will have been at Baldwyn 19 years in May, said his heart belongs to San Francisco.
“My team is not in it,” he said, “so I’ll be pulling for the 49ers. Because if you’re a Steelers fan, you can’t root for the Ravens.”
Justin Hollis, who is in his fifth year at Vardaman, said he’ll be rooting for the Ravens.
“I like Ray Lewis and I like how they play smash-mouth football,” he said.
Hollis isn’t sure if he’ll be at his house Sunday or at his mother-in-law’s, but either way, she’ll be doing the cooking.
“Whatever it is, it will be a five-star meal because that woman sure can cook,” Hollis said. “I know we’ll have Ro-Tel because you’ve got to have that to watch a game.”