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Prep season kicks off tonight

The wait is over, and there is one small change on the local front as prep football season 2006 kicks off tonight.

Actually, the season started Thursday night for a few selected schools across the state, but all local teams and most across South Mississippi hit the gridiron tonight. Pearl River Central’s home game against Stone will kick off at 7 p.m., instead of the originally scheduled 7:30.

The game pits two teams with new head coaches, as the Jeremy Weir era begins at Pearl River Central with his Blue Devils hosting the Tomcats.

Brian Oakes is the new coach at Stone High, coming from Warren Central where he was an assistant.

“I think we are both in similar situations, both young with not much experience,” Weir said. “It should be a good opening game for both teams.”

• The Picayune Maroon Tide opens on the road at Dantzler Stadium against the homestanding Moss Point Tigers.

Moss Point comes into the season as the favorite in Region 4-5A, and ranked ninth statewide by The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson.

Moss Point is led by quarteback Kevin Barkley, who threw for 1,100 yards and 12 scores as a sophomore last season, starting just half the year. Tiger running back Meco Brown is considered one of the top backs in South Mississippi.

The Tigers boast a big offensive line begining with tackle Jerrell Doom (6-5, 300) and Michael Stallworth (6-2, 310)

The Moss Point defense is paced by end Malcom Tatum (6-2, 250), tackle Willie Packer (6-2, 250) and end Josh Chestang (6-0, 195).

“As always, Moss Point has a very good football team,” veteran PMSH head coach Dodd Lee said. “They are very talented, and we know what we’re facing because we’ve seen them the last three years plus we’ve played them in the past two spring games. They are well coached and they play hard.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

• The Poplarville Hornets host East Marion at Dobie Holden Stadium on the Pearl River Community College campus.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

• In Bay St. Louis, cross county rivals Hancock and Bay St. Louis clash on the grid iron Friday evening.

New head coach Brian Barkley makes his debut with the Hawks, in a game that kicks off at 7 p.m. in the bay.