By Brandon Speck
Football practice got its official start Monday. Tuesday, Booneville had the second of its three two-a-days and the Blue Devils had a special focus for the first half hour of the evening session.
Booneville lost the reliable leg of Tyler White, its all-division punter and kicker, a three-year starter. So at 5:30 p.m., the attention was on special teams. The team will hold another two-a-day Thursday, the first session at 8 a.m.
Do-it-all senior Andrew Lambert will punt. The rest of the kicking duties are up in the air.
“We’re trying to beat this heat a little bit,” third-year coach Mike Mattox said. “Monday night was the most humid I remember in a while.”
The Blue Devils went 8-4 last season and lost at Cleveland East Side in the second round of the playoffs.
Leading rusher Nupie Rogers graduated and took his 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns with him. Starting quarterback Dylan Henley is gone as well.
“By this time next week, you need to have in basically what you want to try to do and have all the kids in position somewhere,” Mattox said.
Four are competing at quarterback and the winner will get to play behind one of the area’s key players to watch, Ross Smith.
Smith is a 6-foot-6, 305-pound senior left tackle Mattox says has great feet. He will anchor a line Mattox expects to be a strong point and play some both ways. He’s getting noticed and a college offer or two wouldn’t surprise his coaches.
“In two weeks, we’ll need to be getting toward game mode, getting kids in a position they can contribute.”
Booneville will open the season against Walnut on Aug. 17.
JAMBOREE AT OLE MISS
Oxford has released the 2012 Oxford/Ole Miss Fall Jamboree schedule.
The two-day jamboree is set for Aug. 10-11 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Nine NeMiss teams will play in the field. Oxford and Shannon open Friday play at 4 p.m. Houlka and Potts Camp follow at 6 p.m. Okolona faces Center Hill in the 8 p.m. nightcap.
Saturday, North Pontotoc and Saltillo play at 11 a.m. Corinth faces Hernando at 5 p.m. and Aberdeen plays Cleveland East Side in the final game at 7 p.m.