Deep in the heart of the Magnolia State, you will find a world of avid College Football fans who pack stadiums across the state every week to cheer on their communities team. It’s one of the few places other than at church where you see the likeness of Mississippi State and Ole Miss coming together as one with one common goal. I know some of you that aren’t from Mississippi have no idea what I’m hinting at, and that’s okay because, until Thursday night, I was in the same boat as you. But, I saw the light, and I’m here to tell you that Juco College Football in the state of Mississippi is no joke what’s so ever. It’s honestly the purest form of the sport that I’ve ever seen. There was such a feeling at Ranger Stadium at Bobby Franklin Field in Sentaboia, Mississippi, that almost felt like a step back in time to a better brand of College Football. It was back to the brand of College Football that I fell in love with as a kid. There was a pregame prayer. Everybody stood for the national anthem, and the level of competition on the field was spectacular, which in all honesty led to one of the best College Football games I’ve seen in recent memory.
Before we get too deep into the matchup on the field, I want to spend a few seconds of your time to paint the picture inside your mind of exactly what Juco College Football is all about in the state of Mississippi.
First things first, it was refreshing to see an entire College Football stadium bow their heads in respect during the pregame prayer. It was one of those things that felt so right and normal. After all, no matter what or who you believe in, God has and will always be the root of everything, and to see thousands of College Football fans honoring that is something that will forever send chills down your spine. The second part of that is the National Anthem itself not, one person on either sideline kneeled or disrespected the flag in any way.
Now on to the action on the field and the overall environment of the game itself. In the stands alone, it was fun and refreshing to hear the playing of several songs that have been by major College Football, including the beloved song, Neck. Now, I know some of you might get offended at the very mention of that song, but it’s College Football. It reminded me of the days when Major College Football programs took great pride in honoring the time-old traditions that made the sport captivating. Truthfully, speaking, it’s a dang shame that major College Football lost that bit of themselves. Hearing those songs on Thursday night at Northwest brought me back to my childhood and my first love affair with College Football.
As far as the action on the field, there is no more pure form of College Football than what I witnessed last night. Both East Mississippi State and Northwest players played for the love of the game. As I made my way around the stadium and talked with fans and former players alike, it was evident that Juco Football was the best form of College Football I had ever seen. Nothing compares to a D1 College Football game, but the purity of the sport itself was on full display on Thursday night.
Sure, East Mississippi was the better team last night, but the lasting impact of my first Juco College Football game will forever leave a lasting impact on my College Football fandom life. I would recommend to any College Football fan across the country to take in a game because Juco College Football is College Football at its purest form. In all honesty, it’s just a bunch of football dudes representing small communities across the entire state of Mississippi who happens to be working their butt off to get to that next level.