Indians to kick off season with Shrimp Bowl appearance

The Biloxi Indians will kick off the 2011 high school football season with a bowl game, playing Pascagoula in the revival of the Shrimp Bowl Classic, on Friday at Milner Stadium in Gulfport.

The Shrimp Bowl, which was first played in 1941, was at one time the oldest high school bowl game in the country, but popularity had fallen off in recent years after high school playoffs made it difficult to land high caliber teams at season’s end.

This year’s season-opening contest will feature two games – Biloxi vs. Pascagoula and Gulfport vs. Picayune. The Indians and Panthers will begin playing at 5 p.m., followed by the Admirals and Maroon Tide.

Funds from the event will be donated to Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen in Gulfport and the Knights of Columbus Doll and Toy Fund in Biloxi. Admission is $10, and gates at Milner Stadium open at 3:30 p.m.

The game will be sponsored by the Gulfport and Biloxi public school districts.

“I think it’s outstanding that Biloxi and Gulfport are bringing back this tradition,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, who played in Shrimp Bowls during his junior and senior years at Biloxi High School. Holloway will be tossing the coin for the Biloxi-Pascagoula game, while Mayor George Schloegel will toss the coin for the Gulfport-Picayune contest.

This week, as the Shrimp Bowl approaches, students at Gulfport and Biloxi high schools will participate in various community service projects. Game-day activities will include pre-game meals for the bandsmen, cheerleaders and players, an alumni cheerleader performance, and pep rallies.

The Shrimp Bowl was originally launched by Biloxi Knights of Columbus Council 1244 on Dec. 7, 1941, with the goal to support the underprivileged of the community. At its peak, the Shrimp Bowl was the oldest high school bowl game in the country.