0815 Dre Newman photo

Headland's Dre Newman announced Wednesday that he will play college football at Southern Illinois of the Missouri Valley Conference.

With the season opener almost a week away, Headland’s Dre Newman can focus strictly on football now.

The Rams’ 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that he plans to play college football at Southern Illinois, a Football Championship Subdivision program that plays in the Missouri Valley Conference.

A running back/defensive back last year, he will play quarterback and defensive back this year at Headland.

“First, I would like to thank God for showering me with countless blessings, without him none of this is possible,” Newman started in his tweet. “Secondly, I’d like to thank my parents, family, coaches, and teammates for being such a great support system. I appreciate you guys so much.

“With that being said, I’d like to announce that I am 100% committed to furthering my academics and athletic career at Southern Illinois University. #Salukis.”

Newman, who also is a good student with a 3.14 grade point average, chose Southern Illinois over offers from Jacksonville State and Grambling State. He is being recruited by SIU as an athlete.

A year ago, Newman rushed for 980 yards and nine touchdowns and also caught six passes for 82 yards on offense. Defensively, he was in on 56 tackles, including 36 solos with four for losses. He also intercepted four passes, returning one for a touchdown. In addition, he had five punt returns for 101 yards (20.1 average) with one TD.

Jamboree action: The prep football season officially kicks off next week, but some early action is on the agenda over the next two days.

Tonight, the Northside Methodist Knights travel to Chipley for a jamboree. On Friday night, nearby rivals Early County and Seminole County play a jamboree in Donalsonville.

The NMA-Chipley jamboree starts at 7 p.m. central time, while the Early-Seminole jamboree starts at 7:30 eastern, 6:30 central time.

Coach against former player: The jamboree in Donalsonville pits first-year Seminole County head coach Trey Woolf against his former program and a former quarterback, Joel Harvin, now in his third year as Early County’s head coach.

Woolf was a fixture at the Blakely, Ga., program for 26 years, including 16 as the head coach from 2001-2016. He is the winningest and longest tenured head coach in Early County football history.

Harvin played for Woolf from 2000-03 when he earned Dothan Eagle Super 12 honors as well as honorable mention all-state accolades from both the Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution his senior year.

During Harvin’s sophomore season, the Bobcats finished as the state runner-up. In his final two years, Early County reached the state semifinals and state quarterfinals. In his three years as a starter, the ’Cats were 37-5.

Next week’s slate: The opening week schedule next weekend features 15 official games over three associations in the Dothan Eagle coverage area, 10 in the AHSAA.

Many other teams will be holding non-counting jamboree games.

Most eyes in the Wiregrass will be on a Friday contest in Enterprise and a Saturday afternoon game in Alabaster.

The contest in Enterprise features the debut of new Enterprise High School coach Rick Darlington when the Wildcats entertain North Florida Beach (Fla.) at Wildcat Stadium. Darlington, a veteran of 23 seasons as a head coach, came to EHS from Apopka, Fla., where he guided three state championship teams. He also been a head coach at Eustis (Fla.) and Valdosta (Ga.) and has a career record of 214-73.

On Saturday, the inaugural game of the Dothan Wolves takes place in Alabaster at 3 p.m. Dothan, a consolidation of Northview and Dothan high schools, faces Class 6A state semifinalist Clay-Chalkville as part of the Go Gold Bowl charity doubleheader. Host Thompson plays Davidson at 7 p.m. in the other game.

Other opening games next week include Wakulla (Fla.) at Eufaula, Booker. T. Washington at Carroll, Rehobeth at Ashford, Straughn at Headland, Ariton at Dale County, Providence Christian at New Brockton, Elba at Daleville and Samson at Geneva County in AHSAA action.

In AISA play, NMA hosts Edgewood Academy at its “home” facility at Ashford Academy. Pike Liberal Arts travels to Morgan Academy in Selma and Abbeville Christian hosts Southwest Georgia Academy.

In Georgia, Seminole County travels to Bainbridge and Early County hosts Thomas County Central.

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