By Andrew Owens
Soon the football season starts for Lafayette County and Oxford high schools.
After a 2020 season altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxford and Lafayette County citizens can look forward to seeing their teams live and in person. The Oxford Chargers and Lafayette Commodores have plans to open their seasons at full capacity.
The Chargers will have to wait until Sept. 24 to host their first home game. The Commodores open their season at home against Tupelo on Aug. 27.
The Chargers will only have four home games as they play the Commodores in the Crosstown Classic at Lafayette High School. The Chargers hope to sell out all four games and fill their side of the stadium at the rivalry game.
“Full Capacity,” said Oxford’s Co-Activities Director Chris Baughman. “Hopefully we can sell out all four home games that we have.”
The Commodores will have seven home games this season. LHS hopes to use the excitement and energy to fill William L. Buford Stadium this season.
“Hopefully we will get back to normal this year and there will be a lot of built-up energy and a lot of excitement for people once we get back into football season,” Lafayette County Athletic Director Greg Lewis said. “We are planning on being at full capacity. … We open up against Tupelo, and as of right now unless something changes, we are planning on going 100 percent.”
During a time when many focused on the negatives of the pandemic, the Chargers and Commodores were able to find positives in the changes that were brought on by COVID-19.
“We went to online ticket sales in the playoffs,” Baughman said. “That was a positive that came out of it. We are going to continue to do that going into this season. Obviously, COVID was terrible for our country and bad, but like in everything there were some positives that came out of it and changes in the way you do things.”
“The way that you set up groups and had all of them working out in different stations and different weight groups, and things that had to go into the thought process to make things as good or as normal as possible,” Lewis said. “I thought our coaches and our players really stepped up and said, ‘We are going to get this done.’ And they did.”
The Chargers and the Commodores will face each other in the annual Crosstown Classic on Sept. 17 at William L. Buford Stadium.
“Lafayette is always fun,” Baughman said. “You know those guys. You know the administrators and the coaches on the other side. You are friends with a lot of them. The kids are kin to each other in a lot of cases, so it is fun.”
“The crosstown rivalry you always have with Oxford and Lafayette is always fun,” Lewis said.
While the teams are hard at work preparing in the summer heat for the long season, the fans should be excited to attend games and cheer these young men on this season as life gets back to normal.
Official team practice for both teams starts on Aug. 9.