Published: 12:00 AM, Tue Mar 20, 2012
Fall high school football jamboree gets new format
High schools from Cumberland and Robeson counties will join forces this August to put on the first combined football jamboree involving the teams from both.
The event will replace the Cumberland County football jamboree held the last few years at Fayetteville State. The new event is a two-day format that will feature games at Gray's Creek and Purnell Swett high schools.
In a statement released with the announcement, Leon Mack of the Cumberland County Schools said he began talks with Chris Suggs, Robeson County athletic director, about the possible change last December. Each had had problems finding teams to take part in their respective jamborees, and they decided to work together on a solution.
With a total of 16 football teams, schools officials only needed to find four more to complete the field for the 20-team, two-day event.
It is now scheduled Aug. 8-9, with games at Gray's Creek High School the first day and at Purnell Swett the next. Competition will begin at 5 p.m., with five scrimmages at each location.
Randy Ledford of South View and David Lovette of Gray's Creek served on a coaches committee that worked out the logistics of the event.
Ledford said a major concern of the coaches was at the old jamboree they got less than an hour to work with their teams on the field. The new arrangement will allow each team almost 90 minutes on the field at a time.
"The only way to do it was to split it up,'' Ledford said. "It's hard to get a whole lot done in 40 minutes.''
Playing the entire event at one site also created a time problem, Lovette said.
"With as many as 20 teams, we had to start in the middle of the afternoon or go late into the night,'' he said. "If we split it up, everybody can get more time.
"Now it can be a real scrimmage. You're not out there for 45 or 50 minutes. It's a little more than a showcase. It's turned into a real scrimmage.''
If there is one concern about the new format, it could involve travel. People from both counties will have to go out of town in order to see some of their teams play.
"That could be a concern by August,'' Ledford said. "We don't know what the price of gas is going to be. We might have to address that later on.
"In the past four or five years, our crowds have dwindled. We need to do everything positive we can to get people come to see these kids play.''
Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3519.