By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
Why would a 27-year-old who never played college football make a 10-hour round trip just to play for a couple of hours in a semi-pro game in front of a handful of fans?
“Love of the game,” said Charles Carpenter, center for the Louisiana Bayou Vipers, after last weekend’s 12-6 win against the Lee County Tiger-Cats. “I like getting the chance to play.”
Carpenter, who grew up in Corinth but moved to Louisiana before high school, probably speaks for most of the players in the Gridiron Developmental Football League. A loose affiliation of more than 80 minor-league teams, the GDFL was founded a year ago in Memphis.
The Tiger-Cats (3-3) are on the road for a key game against the Pike County Iron Horse (4-3) tonight in McComb. Both teams, along with the Mississippi Raiders (3-3) are chasing the Bayou Vipers (5-1) but one is most likely going to grab a second-place division playoff berth.
“We’ve still got the chance to make the playoff in our hands,” coach Charles Moore told his players after Saturday night’s loss.
The Tiger-Cats are on the road for two weekend games, then will be home on Aug. 13 against the Tennessee Hurricanes. The Lee County team plays its home games at Tupelo Christian Prep in Belden.
Last Saturday night, the Tiger-Cats were already in a 12-0 hole by halftime. They spent a lot of time camped out on the Vipers’ end of the field, and even had a TD pass called back, but were largely ineffective on offense.
The home team’s lone TD came on a 12-yard run by Tony Osbourn late in the third quarter, after a Vipers fumble at the 13.
After a late interception of the home team, the Vipers had the ball on the hosts’ 8 when time ran out.
“We were just off in this game,” said Tiger-Cats general manager Lee Allen Hersey. “The Vipers, they came out here and really took it to us.”
Pike County scored a 26-23 win over the Tiger-Cats earlier in the season. The Lee County team visits the Raiders in Jackson next weekend.
Rebuilding the Youth
Tiger-Cats players will appear this morning at “Rebuilding the Youth” event at Front Street Park.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a football camp featuring MSU wide receiver and Tupelo High grad Chad Bumphis. At the same time, a basketball camp also will be held at the park.
There will be free food and music, and among the giveaways are $600 in cash, a plasma TV and backpacks.
Tiger-Cats players are scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. for a short time before they have to leave for their game in McComb.