By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Jumpertown’s ending meant Tupelo Christian Prep moving up its start.
The Eagles weren’t scheduled to open their football season until Aug. 26 with a home game against Middleton, Tenn., but the news last week that Jumpertown’s program was folding sent TCPS scrambling for an opponent.
TCPS was scheduled to host the Prentiss County school Nov. 4.
“Strayhorn was supposed to play Jumpertown (Friday),” TCPS coach Aubrey Boren said. “Houlka coach Rob Allen was looking to replace a game he had against Jumpertown and had talked with Strayhorn. He told them about us needing a game.”
The two schools decided to play this week at TCPS, of course with Mississippi High School Activities Association approval.
“It was a sudden decision,” Boren said. “We jumped on it. We’re trying to get ready to play. We’ll know where we stand.”
Strayhorn, a Class 2A program, is an unknown to Boren and his 1A Eagles. The Mustangs finished 1-9 last season while TCPS was 7-4 in its final season as an MHSAA independent.
“I’m trying to get some information on them,” Boren said Monday. “I know they line up with two tight ends and run.”
Plenty of firepower
TCPS heads into the season with plenty of offensive firepower thanks to the return of Dallas Finley and Ron Lavigne in the backfield. The two seniors combined for 1,012 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing and receiving last season.
The Eagles will have a new quarterback in junior Andrew Soper. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back led the team in tackles last season with 108 stops playing linebacker.
“Soper will do a good job for us,” Boren said. “He just needs to play four quarters of football (at quarterback).”
Defensively, the standout in preseason camp has been 6-4, 215-pound end and linebacker Stephen Sexton. He’ll also see duty on offense as a receiver.
“He makes plays,” Boren said. “He’s very difficult to block.”
Read more about TCPS and other area schools on Friday in our annual preview edition.