September 14, 2012 11:23:33 AM
ABERDEEN -- For the second time this season, the Aberdeen High School football team will face a member of The Jackson-Clarion Ledger's Dandy Dozen squad.
Four weeks ago, 6-foot-6, 305-pound Columbus High offensive tackle Jake Thomas, who has committed to Mississippi State University, helped the Falcons beat the Bulldogs 21-0 in the season opener for both teams.
This week's Dandy Dozen opponent is West Bolivar's Kailo Moore, a 5-10, 190-pound speed-burner who led the Class 2A Eagles to a 28-22 win with a touchdown in overtime last year at Lester Miley Stadium in Aberdeen. As a junior, Moore rushed for more than 1,400 yards and scored 19 touchdowns as the Eagles claimed the 2A state championship. Against the Bulldogs, he finished with more than 130 yards and two scores.
Moore, who has also committed to MSU, also is one of the state Mississippi's top sprinters. He plans to run track for the Bulldogs in the spring. In last year's state track and field meet, he won the 100- (10.57 seconds) and the 200-meter (21.22) dashes and had a hand in a pair of relay wins in the Eagles' third-place finish.
Moore first caught the eye of the college recruiters when he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in four games his freshman year. He came back the following fall with a vengeance and ran for almost 2,300 yards and scored 32 touchdowns to cap his sophomore season.
That same year, he won the 100 (10.60) and 200 (21.29) to lead West Bolivar to the 2A state track title.
Sporting a 2-2 record, Aberdeen is coming off one of its worst performances in recent memory -- a 45-0 shellacking by the Class 4A Noxubee County Tigers.
"We didn't play well against Noxubee, that's for sure," Aberdeen coach Mark Bray said. "We didn't play with any enthusiasm and the overall effort just wasn't there. Sometimes on offense it looked like our line just got out of the way."
Aberdeen seems to have regained its focus this week preparing for the long trip to Rosedale.
"Monday we watched a lot of film and Tuesday we probably had the best practice we've had this year," Bray said.
Noxubee County's Darrell Robinson was the Tigers' main threat running the ball, so the Aberdeen's main focus will be to improve its run defense in an effort to slow Moore down.
"They're both great running backs, but the difference is Moore doesn't have all that size up front blocking for him like Robinson did," Bray said. "They've got some tall, lanky kids, but their overall size doesn't compare with Noxubee who averaged over 260 pounds per man."
While on the subject of Dandy Dozen selections, someone at The Ledger missed the boat by not naming Noxubee's Dylan Bradley to the team. A 6-2, 255-pound defensive end who also lined up at linebacker, Bradley made life miserable for quarterback Josh Williams and the Bulldogs' running backs, just as he promised he would when he found out he had been snubbed by The Ledger's selection committee.
After Bradley played a key role in Noxubee County's season-opening win against Starkville, a game in which the Tigers held Dandy Dozen athlete Gabe Myles to 6 total yards and one pass completion on offense and his Jacket teammates to 83 yards, Bradley had this to say to The Dispatch's Matthew Stevens:
"This is just the beginning for me and this defense because I plan on terrorizing a lot of quarterbacks this season. This is a message to all college coaches that when you see Dylan Bradley, you'll see this type of performance every single week," Bradley said.
Now Aberdeen knows how its opponents felt facing Channing Ward the past couple of years.
Speaking of highly rated prospects, the Hamilton High School football team will face a Dandy Dozen selection of its own Friday when it takes on 6-5, 250-pound Chris Jones, who is also a top-notch basketball player, and the rest of the Houston Hilltoppers (4-0) in a revenge match at Jimmie Moore Field in Hamilton.
Jones, a strong side defensive end who has also committed to MSU, is a three-star prospect who plays tight end and defensive end. Last week in a 17-13 win against Ackerman, he made 16 tackles and had four stops for losses and one sack.
Barton Simmons, a national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports, had this to say about him, "Jones has the look of one of those Mississippi State defensive linemen that comes out of nowhere, packs on a lot of weight to an athletic frame, and becomes an NFL scout's dream.
"The kid has elite frame and athleticism and has a chance to be special. He is very raw and is nowhere close to a finished product, but it's scary to think about what Jones could develop into."
Said Hamilton coach Ray Weeks, "He's going to be hard to handle. He transferred to Houston from Nettleton last year and he didn't play against us when we beat them."
In that game, a 28-26 victory in which the Lions blocked a last-second field goal, was the high point of the season according to Weeks, especially after trailing 10-0 on the road early in the contest.
"Not many folks gave us a chance to win, but we came through there at the end," Weeks said.
If the Lions (2-2) are going to make it two in a row against the Hilltoppers, it's going to take another strong performance from Deion Howard, who scored four touchdowns and rushed for 323 yards on 14 carries last week in a 52-8 win against county rival Hatley.
"We're definitely going to have to play our best to beat Houston," Weeks said. "They've got athletes everywhere and we're going to have a tough time matching up with them just about everywhere."
Weeks will also need another steady performance from quarterback Seth Dement, who took over for starter Quinshay Heard after he separated his shoulder against Kossuth.
"Seth is getting better," Weeks said. "He's committed himself to getting better and he has stepped up into a leadership role on the team. We're gradually loosening the reins on him as we go along and he'll be asked to do more to keep people from focusing on Deion."
Thanks to the long ball, Hamilton had a good week on its home field as the Lady Lions posted a come-from-behind 13-7 win against Tupelo and a 9-6 decision against Amory.
Down by three in the fourth inning against Tupelo, Christy Willis tied the game with a three-run home run and Hamilton went on to score seven more runs in the inning to expand its lead to 13-3. Willis later added a second three-run shot to account for six of the Lady Lions' RBIs.
Willis' first cousin, Mary, paced the team with three hits - a three-run home run and a pair of singles, while Addie Thompson had two singles and Jordyn Jackson slapped a double.
Against Amory, Hamilton had a 6-1 lead thanks in part to a three-run homer by Thompson and a two-run shot by Alison Atkins, but a pair of Lady Lion errors led to a five-run rally and a tie game at 6.
Christy Willis ended any hope of an Amory triumph however, as she ripped a walk-off three-run home run to end the game and hand Atkins her second win of the week and ninth overall.
"No doubt about it, we lived off the long ball this week," said Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest, whose Lady Lions have won four in a row to pull to 9-5 and 2-0 in division play.
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