Meridian, Miss. It's not often when a high school football game could be good for local tourism. But that may very well be the case Friday night in Meridian.
Officials have estimated a crowd upwards of 10,000 people will be at Ray Stadium for the Meridian vs. South Panola game.
That would be one of the largest crowds at any one event in the city, at any time all year. So, is the school or the city prepared?
The teams have seen each other in playoffs, but never in regular season games.
MHS athletic director Chuck Butler says there was an opening in this year's schedule and adding South Panola to the list would generate plenty of interest.
"South Panola in the last 10 years has probably won five to six championships," said Butler. "We've won one. And we had to beat South Panola to win that championship. So Panola's track record over the last 10 years speaks for itself. They're a great football team. Traditionally, Meridian High School is also a another really good football team. We just expect it to be a battle of two gladiators Friday night."
Butler and the Tigers' football coach say they are expecting a great turnout.
Butler said he thinks the school is prepared for such a large number. But your best bet on beating the long lines may be to buy advance tickets. You can do that at the new MHS multi-purpose building located by the football field.
General admission is $8, but you can get reserved seating for $15. Season passes, which include reserved seating and parking for the entire year, are $75.
The school is opening the entire lower practice field for parking to help accommodate more visitors.
"Every bit of that's directly right around the campus here, and once that gets filled up, it's good luck," said Butler.
The game begins at 7 p.m.