Image: Millsaps College

The countdown to kickoff is on.

The Fondren area’s three hometown football teams – Jackson State University, Millsaps College and Belhaven University – host a slate gridiron rivals here and on the road, all three opening their seasons this weekend.

The Jackson State Tigers, whose home field is Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Fondren, will open their 2018 season on the road. The season opener is a historic meeting for the Tigers against the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, only the third time the teams have met (past games were in 1987 and 2002).

The following weekend brings the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis. JSU and Tennessee State will meet for the 26th time in the annual clash at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. “The classic has become a southern tradition and one of the best football classics in the country,” JSU explains.

The 47,407 attendance figure from 2017 has the classic ranked No. 5 in the nation.

Belhaven University football ushers in a new era with new head coach Blaine McCorkle this season. McCorkle comes to Belhaven from the University of Delaware, where he most recently served as Offensive Line Coach.

The Blazers play six games this season at their Belhaven Bowl Stadium, opening there against Millsaps College for the Riverside Rumble on Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m.

Millsaps College’s Coach Aaron Pelch previews his team, saying, “In 2018 we have the largest roster coming back that Millsaps has had in several years and a very talented one at that.”

The Majors kick off their season at Belhaven University with the cross-State-Street rivalry, the Riverside Rumble.

This year’s matchup features a twist: beginning this fall the winner of the game will be presented with a sword – hence “The Battle for the Sword” – as their trophy to keep until the next year’s meeting.

The full schedules for all three teams follow. Home games are in bold.

Jackson State University

At the University of Southern Mississippi Saturday, September 1 at 6 p.m.
At Tennessee State University (Southern Heritage Classic) Saturday, September 8 at 6 p.m.
At Florida A&M Saturday, September 15 at 4:30 p.m.
Versus Alabama A&M (W.C. Gordon Classic) Saturday, September 29 at 4 p.m.
At Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday, October 6 at 2:30 p.m.
Versus MS Valley State (Homecoming) Saturday, October 13 at 2 p.m.
Versus North Alabama Saturday, October 20 at 2 p.m.
At Southern Saturday, October 27 at 6 p.m.
Versus Prairie View A&M Saturday, November 3 at 2 p.m.
At Alabama State Saturday, November 10 at 2 p.m.
At Alcorn State Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m.

Belhaven College

Versus Millsaps College Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m.
Versus Texas Lutheran University Saturday, September 15 at 7 p.m.
Versus East Texas Baptist University Saturday, September 22 at 7 p.m.
At Howard Payne University Saturday, September 29 at 7 p.m.
Versus McMurry University Saturday, October 6 at noon
At Southwestern University Saturday, October 13 at 1 p.m.
Versus University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Saturday, October 20 at noon
At Louisiana College Saturday, October 27 at 6 p.m.
Hardin-Simmons University (Homecoming) Saturday, November 3 at 1 p.m.
At Sul Ross State University Saturday, November 10 at 6 p.m.

Millsaps College

At Belhaven University Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m.
Versus Westminster College at Harper Davis Field Saturday, September 8 at 1 p.m.
At Trinity University (Texas) Saturday, September 15 at 1 p.m.
At Sewanee Saturday, September 22 at 1 p.m.
Versus Rhodes College Saturday, September 29 at 7 p.m.
Versus Austin College (Homecoming) Saturday, October 13, at 2 p.m.
At Berry College Saturday, October 20 at 1 p.m.
At Centre College Saturday, October 27 at 1:30 p.m.
Versus Birmingham-Southern College Saturday, November 3 at 1 p.m.
Versus Hendrix College Saturday, November 10 at 1 p.m.

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