Football

Hattiesburg travels to Laurel for the 98th Lil Brown Jug Game

The 98th edition of the Lil Brown Jug game will be played Friday night in Laurel at 7 pm.

First played in 1922, the Lil Brown Jug game is the longest continuously played rivalry game in Mississippi, and was even played 14 years ago after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

The tradition of “the jug,” as the game is affectionately called, started when fans would bet a jug of whiskey on the game. Fans would travel by train to either Laurel or Hattiesburg, and the losing fanbase would buy the winners a jug of whiskey.

“It means a great deal to both us and Laurel to represent our cities in this game. It’s a fun, old-fashioned rivalry,” Head Coach Tony Vance said of the game.

Laurel has a slight edge in the overall record in the Jug Game with a record 47-45-5. However, the Tigers have kept the jug in Hattiesburg for the last five years. Vance and his team look to make it six straight tomorrow night in Laurel.

After last week’s 38-15 loss to Petal last week, Vance and his staff were optimistic looking forward to the Laurel game.

“We played better than you might think. We were making tackles, we didn’t turn the ball over, and our players were making the right reads, but we just didn’t do a good job executing,” Vance said.

Vance is confident that his team will be better week 2 than they were week 1.

“Our goal is to get better every week. Our team is playing and practicing hard, and if we keep doing that we’ll reach that goal,” Vance said.

Senior Rhyen Briscoe scored both touchdowns for the Tigers against Petal, one rushing and one receiving. Vance will look for him to be a catalyst and leader on offense against the Tornadoes.

“That joker can scoot,” Vance jokingly said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting him the ball and being creative about it. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Laurel is a relatively young team, but they return a lot of experience on both sides of the ball. Junior quarterback Xavier Evans is what makes the Tornadoes offense go. He accounted for 245 total yards and a touchdown last week against Poplarville.

“[Laurel] will go as far as [Xavier] takes them,” Vance said of the Laurel quarterback. “He’s an accurate passer that can also beat you with his feet.”

The Tigers coaching staff is expecting this year’s Jug Game to be close and competitive, as it is every year.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm at Blair Stadium at Laurel High School.

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