From Press, Staff Reports
“Mississippi Gridiron Gold” will be shown at Eupora High School’s Latham Auditorium at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 and 19.
Tickets for the film are $8 and may be purchased in advance at EHS or from local merchants. Tickets will also be available at the door. All proceeds benefit EHS Booster Club projects.
“Mississippi Gridiron Gold” sheds light on the impact of high school football in the Magnolia State.
“Lovers of football everywhere will like these stories,’’ says Mike Frascogna, the film’s executive co-producer. “No other state has done this.’’
The 80-minute documentary depicts how more than three-dozen prominent coaches served as mentors and role models to young men, many coming from single-parent households and troubled neighborhoods.
Those spotlighted include EHS head coach Junior Graham and 2010 USA Today National Coach of the Year Lance Pogue, a Eupora native and former coach at EHS.
“If these coaches can teach you no more than Xs and Os, they are failures,’’ says Frascogna, a Jackson attorney who’s written several books on Mississippi high school football. “These coaches were surrogate fathers to these kids.’’
First developing his love for football as a high school player at St. Joseph Catholic School in Jackson in the early 1960s, Frascogna and his two sons, Mike and Marty, turned to writing about the sport with a blitz of books.
Starting a half-dozen years ago, they told compelling stories in books like “Gridiron Gold’’ and later in “Y’all vs. Us’’ in 2008.
Mike Frascogna discovered Mississippi’s prominence after reading a study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Based on the number of kids playing football in Mississippi, the percentage making college rosters and those making it to the NFL, the study concluded that Mississippi high school football ranked best in America.
The movie showcases the talented players and successful coaches, but also zeroes in on the significant contributions of the sport since the first high school football game was played in Winona in 1905.