Lanoria Abrams banged a run-scoring double off the center-field wall in the first inning of Game 1 of the New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team's Class 5A/6A best-of-three playoff series against Madison Central on Thursday night. She didn't miss a home run her second time.
WEST POINT -- After each practice and game, no matter the result, the message is the same for the West Point High football team. In the huddle following each team activity, usually on the heels of motivational words from coach Chris Chambless, the Green Wave players put their hands in the middle of the huddle, and shout, "State champs" in unison.
OXFORD -- Hugh Freeze's rapid renovation of Ole Miss football has been fueled by a persistent recruiting philosophy that is grounded in grass-roots relationships, a down-home personality and even a little bit of luck. The formula has helped the coach transform the Rebels from Southeastern Conference cellar-dwellers to the No. 3 team in the country in just three short years.
SENATOBIA -- When East Mississippi Community College hired Buddy Stephens as its football coach, a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges North Division championship was a big deal. The Lions have advanced well past that type of championship. These days, state and national titles are the norm. Still, EMCC took time to celebrate Thursday night.
The Starkville High School football team has reached the difficult part of its schedule. The Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 2 race appears to be headed to the wire as a four-team race. Starkville is tied with Clinton, Vicksburg, and Warren Central atop the region standings -- each with 3-0 records.
George Irby always knew Elbert Drungo Jr. could make an impact without saying a word.
STARKVILLE - All Auburn needed was a yard. Will Redmond wasn't going to let that happen.
STARKVILLE -- Jerica James has appreciated the meaning of the word responsibility ever since she was a freshman.
STARKVILLE - Entering his third season as Mississippi States men's basketball coach, Rick Ray was blunt when asked about his team's prognosis for the 2014-15 season.
Kris Pickle understands not many people would have predicted his New Hope High School football team to be undefeated entering the ninth week of the 2014 season.
MACON -- "Finish."
With two weeks remaining in region play, the stakes will be high when the members of the Alabama High School Activities Association Class 3A, Region 4 return to the gridiron Friday night.
STARKVILLE -- Standing in the middle of the visitors' locker room at LSU's Tiger Stadium, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen was a picture of confidence surrounded by his players seconds before taking the field. It was a pregame speech like most pregame speeches, aimed at rallying his players before a game against a team that hadn't lost to MSU in more than a decade.
STARKVILLE -- On Tuesday, the Southeastern Conference announced that the Mike Slive era, which began when Slive became the league commissioner in 2002, will end next summer. Slive, 74, will retire effective July 31, 2015, as he prepares to begin treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer. His prognosis is good.
STARKVILLE -- For the second time in three weeks, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will get to do something rare with his Saturday afternoon. "I get to sit on my couch and play with my kids," Mullen said, "and that's awesome."
In the Mississippi High School Activities Association ranks, the coverage area boasts two undefeated football teams -- New Hope (7-0 in Class 5A) and Starkville (7-0 in Class 6A). The success of Starkville comes as a surprise to very few. Even though the Yellow Jackets weren't a top-ranked team by any media outlets, they were on the short list of contenders for the Class 6A title.
SCOOBA -- The state's best Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges North Division rivalry took an odd turn last season when EMCC defeated Northwest Mississippi C.C. 79-7 on the way to its second National Junior College Athletic Association national championship.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even Alabama's No. 7 ranking can't conceal some chinks in the Alabama football team's armor that once seemed impenetrable. Special teams muffs, turnovers, and even problems running the ball have been among them. Coach Nick Saban can work on those issues, but he can't change the fact that a 14-13 victory against Arkansas causes more concern than celebration among his fan base.
HAMILTON -- Sprinters have one goal in mind: Get to their destination as quickly as possible. Sometimes, though, the quickest -- or easiest -- route to paydirt isn't a straight line. You often see that in football, when running backs, blessed with the speed to burn or to juke, stretch plays east and west in an effort to get to the corner. If they get there, all they need to do is hit the accelerator and dance down the sidelines to the end zone.
STARKVILLE -- On the eve of his team starting fall practice, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen stood before the assembled media Monday afternoon and was asked for an opening statement. Naturally, as Cohen crafts his seventh edition of the Diamond Dawgs, he started the fall practice period by talking about MSU's No. 1-ranked football team.
1. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
4. New Hope softball escapes quicksand at Warren Central HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS