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KHS @ McNairy: Former Aggie faces off with former coach
by Steve Beavers
Aug 29, 2013 | 311 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SELMER, Tenn. – The last time McNairy Central and Kossuth tangled on the gridiron tonight's two head coaches were on the same sideline.

That won't be the case when the schools meet for the fifth time.

Kossuth mentor Brian Kelly will be looking across the field at former head coach Charlie Dampeer when the squads collide at Don Whitaker Memorial Stadium. In 1998, Aggie mentor Brian Kelly was a starting linebacker who helped Kossuth comeback to defeat the visiting Bobcats 18-14 en route to undefeated regular season.

Kelly also spent six years coaching under his old mentor at Saltillo, Tishomingo County and Pontotoc. He was the defensive coordinator for Dampeer at both TC and Pontotoc.

Dampeer, in his second year at McNairy Central, was the head coach during the Aggies perfect start which came to a 12-1 finish following a playoff loss at Amory. Dampeer was in charge of the Kossuth program from 1992-2000, leaving with a 62-41 mark and seven winning seasons. The veteran coach also led the Aggies to back-to-back Division 1-3A titles in 1998 and 1999.

"It's tough to prepare for his teams because he does so much on offense and defense," said Kelly. "He still has some of the old system in place, but he has also added to it over the years."

McNairy is looking for its first season-opening win since 2008. The Bobcats have dropped four straight to open the year since its 34-14 victory over county rival Adamsville at home.

Kossuth (0-1) opened the new campaign with a 28-0 home loss to Corinth last week.

"McNairy has two really quick backs in (Jarrett) Mood and (Darwin) Kelly," said the Kossuth mentor. "Mood is real electric and Kelly gives them a pair of home run hitters."

Dampeer is worried about the size advantage Kossuth brings to the matchup.

"Kossuth is so much bigger than us," he said. "They are going to try to pound us and that's what worries me."

McNairy's running game is where the Bobcats have the advantage.

"One thing we do well is run and when we can do that, it gives us a chance," said the MC coach. "The kids are anxious to play and I look forward to seeing them play this year."

Following six weeks on the practice field and an open date last week, the Bobcats are ready to play under the lights, according to their coach. He also thinks the meeting against his former team will be an interesting one.

"I probably talk to Brian more than I do my two sons and I have coached a few more players who are part of the Kossuth staff," said Dampeer. "It's always different when you play these type of games, but I think it will be fun."

When the new season kicks off tonight, Dampeer is hoping his young team gets off to a good start.

"We need something positive to happen," said the coach. "You never know as a coach if you have covered everything for the first game, but right now we are just trying to figure out how to score more points than the other team."

Notes: McNairy holds a 3-1 advantage in the short series with Kossuth. The first meeting between the schools came in 1979 with MC taking a 15-12 decision at K-town. The following year, the Bobcats clipped the Aggies 14-6 ... Dampeer owns a 1-1 mark in the series, dropping a 48-21 decision at McNairy in 1997 before leading KHS to the 18-14 win in 1998 … Dampeer is also 1-1 in contests against Kossuth. While at Tishomingo County, he lost 35-20 to the Aggies in 2005. The following season in his return to Kossuth, he led the Braves to a 14-10 victory … McNairy is 0-4 since its last season-opening victory.
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