Best of Preps football jamboree kicks off Thursday at Finley Stadium

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Central coach Curt Jones talks to his players at the start of practice in late July. High school football's regular season kicks off next week in Tennessee, and Jones' Purple Pounders are among the 23 teams that will take part in the Best of Preps of football jamboree this week. The three-day event starts Thursday at Finley Stadium.

For the 23 teams participating in the annual Best of Preps football jamboree, it's a dress rehearsal before the curtain raises to open the regular season next week. For prep football fans, it's a chance to whet their appetites during the three-day event, which begins Thursday at Finley Stadium.

The jamboree, presented by Chattanooga Sports, features 23 teams from Hamilton, Bradley and Marion counties, as well as newcomer Murfreesboro Blackman.

Thursday's schedule features seven 20-minute quarters of action, with the final two days of the event having eight quarters each. Admission will be $10 each day.

Among the teams featured Thursday will be last year's TSSAA Class 1A state champion, South Pittsburg, taking on Signal Mountain and Silverdale Baptist, which returns 15 starters from its nine-win team last season.

Friday's matchups are highlighted by three-time reigning Division II-AAA state champion McCallie taking on Boyd Buchanan - which is now guided by Gary Rankin, the state's career wins leader, who was hired as head coach of the Buccaneers during the offseason.