Hornets, Saints play in rivalry Jamboree

Published 11:12 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Dallas County versus Selma High Jamboree game brings the biggest schools in the county together for a preseason rivalry matchup on Friday.

The Dallas County Hornets will host the Selma Saints this year in Plantersville for the preseason showdown.

Even though this game doesn’t count towards either teams win-loss record for 2018, the bragging rights are still on the line. The Saints lead the all-time series 20-6.

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The stands should be filled Friday as the schools are only 20 miles away from each other.

“Dallas County is a rivalry game for us,” Selma High assistant coach De’Andre Wilson said. “Every time we play one another, it’s going to be a big turnout. A lot of people in the county and city-area are big fans of Selma High and Dallas County. The boys are fired up.”

The Jamboree game should provide a nice peek into what each team has in store for the 2018 season.

The Saints have returning starters at prime positions this season. Especially on offense, where 2017 all-county selections Tyreshon Freeman (quarterback), Amarian Molette (running back) and Gabriel Wade (receiver) are back for their junior seasons. Each of the offensive lineman for the Saints also got significant playing time last season.

Last year, the Saints averaged 26.9 points per game on offense. The Hornets will have their hands full trying to stop the multiple options the Saints have on offense.

On the other hand, the Saints haven’t forgotten that they lost to Dallas County 38-14 in 2016. Wilson has been reminding his players throughout practice not to underestimate the Hornets.

“That loss two years ago is still in the back of the players’ mind,” Wilson said. “I try and reinforce that every day at practice this week. That wasn’t that long ago where we lost to Dallas County, so let’s not underestimate them like we did a few years ago. Let’s come out like we did last year, and prepare as if they’re the biggest game of the year.”

Unfortunately for the Saints, the teams second-year head coach Christopher Raymond will be sidelined due to health issues. A recent back surgery has limited his ability to be with the team, but the coaching staff has maintained the intensity at practice for him in his absence.

“I hate that coach is battling with his health right now, but we’ve been doing what we can to keep the energy up and keep this thing rolling as if coach [Raymond] was here,” Wilson said. “We’re praying for a speedy recovery. We’re hoping we can keep this thing rolling and when coach comes back, it’ll be like he never left.”

The Hornets, on the other hand, are coming into the preseason exhibition under new leadership. Zeke Pigg is leading the team this season. A former assistant from Tallassee, Pigg joined the Hornets this summer to prepare the boys for the 2018 season.

Fortunately, Pigg inherits a returning starter in quarterback Ocatvious Palmer.

The Hornets strength last season was running the ball, and that trend is likely to continue this season. Whether it be Palmer or the committee of running backs toting the rock. The Hornets do have a multi-position athlete in Sevaughn Brown who could be a factor on both sides of the ball for the team this season.

The Jamboree will be a measuring stick game for Dallas County. The team has young and raw talent, and the exhibition against the Saints will be a good barometer for how far they’ve come over the summer.