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Two local coaches reminisce on a friendship that grew into brotherhood



Ced Jackson and Andre Bennett (Photo courtesy Ced Jackson)

Two local high school football coaches have a history of rivalry and friendship that reaches back to their elementary school days and extends into adulthood where they manage to remain close.

Ced Jackson and Andre Bennett first met while living in the same neighborhood in Vicksburg. Even though sports wasn’t involved at the time, Bennett and Jackson instantly became good friends.

“We were knee high to a grasshopper when we first met,” Jackson said.

By the time the two entered Junior High School, Jackson was attending Warren Central Junior High, while Bennett was at Vicksburg Junior High. They were not only friends but rivals on the football field as well. Throughout junior high and high school, Jackson and Bennett played against each other during Warren Central versus Vicksburg games.

Both guys were playing on the offensive line at the time, and Warren Central defeated VHS every year when the two were in high school. Although Jackson’s team won the games, he made it clear that going up against Bennett was not a sure thing.

“Lining up across from Bennett was not by far an easy task,” Jackson said.

After high school, Bennett and Jackson went off to separate colleges. Jackson went to Hinds Community College and Mississippi College, and Bennett attended Grambling State University. The two managed to keep their friendship strong through communication and supporting each other.

They both eventually became successful coaches at their old high schools. Bennett joined the VHS football staff in 2008, while Jackson became a coach for WC in 2012.

Bennett and Jackson are now rivals once again on the coaching side of things. Although they coach against each other, they still maintain their close friendship with no problem.

“We both have a competitive spirit, and I can expect his best game, and he can expect me to bring mine every time we are on the field against each other,” Bennett said.

Jackson felt the same way when asked how it felt coaching against his friend.

“Their is no tension, and we both want to win,” Jackson said. “We may not talk the next day after the game,” Jackson said jokingly, “but we will eventually catch a college football game together the next week.”

The two now have a stronger bond than ever and one that continues to grow through the game of football.

”We started off as friends and as we got older, it became a brotherhood, and Bennett has always been there for me,” Jackson said.

Bennett also shared how much he cherishes his friendship with Jackson.

“We have a longtime friendship that grew into our adulthood,”  Bennett said. “Ced is a great brother, and he supported me by coming to my games when I played at Grambling, and it’s great to see where we are today.”

Over the years now, Bennett and Jackson has coached hundreds of players and helped them transform into men. The two are well respected in the community, and Vicksburg is a much better place because of them.

Bennett and Jackson are scheduled to meet for the first game this year in the Red Carpet Bowl on Sept. 4 at Warren Central High School where they will be on the opposite side lines.



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