New Jackson State coach and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders will be in Clarksdale Friday.
Sanders, an NFL cornerback for 14 seasons and two time Super Bowl player and champion on the 1994 San Francisco 49ers and 1995 Dallas Cowboys, is finishing his tenure as Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill (Texas) offensive coordinator this fall.
Dieon’s son, senior Shedeur Sanders, is the quarterback for Trinity Christian and committed to playing for Florida Atlantic University next fall. However, Sanders, who played college football for Florida State, has offered his son a scholarship at JSU.
But before all that happens, the Trinity Tigers have to play a game with a tough bunch of Clarksdale Wildcats.
Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill (5-3) is coming to Clarksdale to play the Wildcats (5-1, 1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday. It is also Clarksdale High School’s homecoming game. The Wildcats are also in the first year of their new stadium.
“We’re very excited to have Deion Sanders come to the community,” said Clarksdale Municipal School District superintendent Dr. Earl Joe Nelson. “That’s huge for the community with all the recognition he’s getting, getting the Jackson State job.”
Nelson said it is an opportunity for Sanders to recruit some Wildcats to play for Jackson State.
“We have some kids capable of playing at his level,” said Nelson, adding he is looking forward to seeing everyone play the game.
“We’re excited about his team and him coming to this community.”
The New Normal
For Clarksdale coach Henry Johnson, he is trying to keep everything as normal as possible. The Wildcats have already secured the Region 3-4A championship and will host a playoff game at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 and will likely host North Pontotoc.
Johnson would like to end the regular season on a positive note.
“We’re trying our best to treat it like a normal game,” Johnson said. “We’re trying not to get caught up in the hype. We’re trying to leave that for the fans. We’re just trying to go out and play some good solid football and give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
While the game could potentially lead to Deion Sanders offering Wildcats scholarships to Jackson State, that is not the focus.
“They play hard for us first for the team,” Johnson said. “It would also be great if they get noticed by Deion and possibly get a scholarship. I just don’t want them to feel pressured to play because Deion is here. I just want them to play ball, come out play.
“We’ve definitely got to play mistake free football. We’ve got to play with great effort. We’ve got to play with a lot of discipline and we’ve got to be more physical than they are.”
Johnson expects his team to be prepared for the postseason.
“We’re ready to play now,” Johnson said. “We’ve got 23 seniors. We’re ready to play. We could play today.”
Buy your tickets early
Both Nelson and Johnson encouraged fans to attend the game.
Nelson said 1,000 tickets were available at Clarksdale High School. More information is available on the CMSD website and anyone interested in purchasing tickets may contact CHS at 662-627-8530.
“The high school is going to be the place where people can pick up tickets,” Nelson said.
Johnson expects a strong turnout.
“I don’t think that’ll be a problem this week,” Johnson said. “I think it’ll be sold out before the end of the week.”