The Itawamba AHS football program had been playing at a nice facility that they shared across town. Now, they got their own special place to call home.
On Friday, the Indians will host Amory in the first game to played at Indian Stadium. Prior to this year, the Indians have hosted their area rival and other opponents at Itawamba Community College’s football stadium.
“It has been a good rivalry for a long time,” former IAHS football coach and current athletic director Lynn Moore said about the Panthers-Indians matchup. Amory head football coach Pat Byrd “is an Itawamba graduate, and we couldn’t have picked a better group to come in and open up the stadium against.”
In May of 2008, construction began on the $1.7 million stadium on the campus of IAHS, and Indian Stadium, with a capacity of 3,000 fans, was completed in February of this year.
The new stadium, which is located in front of the high school along Highway 25 South, will feature large bathrooms and concessions stands, along with a press box.
Another neat element to Indian Stadium is that players will enter the field through a tunnel located in the middle of the grandstand, instead of running onto the field from the end zone as is the case at most high school stadiums.
The football stadium just adds to the already exceptional football facilities the high school has to offer. In 1999, IAHS converted a manufacturing building into a 20,000 square foot indoor sports complex, with locker rooms, coaches’ offices, film rooms, meeting rooms, workout rooms and more.
And there are three relatively new practice fields for the IAHS football teams.
“They’re as nice as anybody’s anywhere,” Moore said of his football program’s facilities.
Gotta play them
– When looking at Starkville High’s football schedules in recent seasons, it;s like the Yellowjackets have become the Notre Dame of Mississippi high school football in terms of scheduling difficult opponents.
Powerhouses Louisville, Meridian, Olive Branch, South Panola and West Point have lined the Yellowjackets’ schedules for the past three seasons. Not to mention, Starkville opened up its 2009 season on the road last week against last year’s Class 4A state champion, Noxubee County.
“Hey, I’m glad we’re compared to Notre Dame,” said Starkville head coach Bill Lee, who is in his seventh year at the helm. “However, it’s really that much feasible for us to play Louisville and West Point since they’re just about 30 minutes away. We’ve also been playing Meridian for years.
“But, hey, it is what it is. You just gotta perform. We are running into a little gauntlet right now.”
The Yellowjackets will be heading into that gauntlet without some of its key players, including a few linemen. Most notably of the missing will be wide receiver Chuck Tillery, a Division I college prospect.
“We’re without our most powerful offensive weapon,” Lee said.
Tillery reportedly suffered a fractured tibia leading up to last week’s game, which ended up being a 30-0 loss to the Tigers.
When asked about Tillery’s injury on Tuesday, Lee said he would be out for about six weeks or so, and wouldn’t elaborate any further, citing privacy concerns for the player and his family.
“We’ll get some more people back who were banged up,” the Starkville coach said. “We’ll get one lineman back who was sick.
“I’m not pressing the panic button right now. Our whole perspective is to get ready for division play starting with DeSoto Central. One game doesn’t make a season.”
Falkner’s three-sport star
– Will Robertson scored on pass receptions of 34, 60 and 45 yards in Falkner’s 33-25 loss to Alcorn Central on Friday night. Football, however, isn’t the junior’s best sport.
“Football is probably his second best sport,” said Falkner head football coach Nickey Nance. “Baseball is probably his best. He’s also the point guard on the basketball team.
“He’s just a great kid. Anything you ask him to do, he’s going to do.”
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal