The toughness Brad Butler has been looking for in the Heritage Academy football team surfaced in a big way Friday night. Led by a strong defensive effort and a key fourth-down conversion in the fourth quarter, quarterback Brandon Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard plunge to help lift Heritage Academy to a 22-14 victory against the Lamar School.
McCOMB -- Brandon Austin and Joseph Clark led a running attack that grounded out 368 yards and had five touchdowns Friday night to push Parklane Academy to a 38-20 victory against Starkville Academy. Austin rushed for 260 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while Clark rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Austin scored the first touchdown on a 62-yard run. Clark added scoring runs of 15 and 5 yards to help Parklane take an 18-0 lead in the second quarter.
CARROLLTON, Ala -- The first one is always sweet. First-year head coach John Gartman earned his initial victory as head coach of the Pickens Academy football team with a 27-0 decision against South Choctaw on Friday night. The 31-year-old Gartman, who played at the University of Alabama, is in his first season at Pickens Academy after being the defensive coordinator at Morgan Academy for five years and Montgomery Macon-East the past three years. John Morgan Owens rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Owens scored on runs of 30 and 10 yards in the second quarter and on a 34-yard run in the third quarter.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy soccer coach Robert Gardner believes he's found the perfect assistant coach for the Volunteers' upcoming season. Gardner is currently in the middle of the Lady Vols' soccer season, but wasted no time in hiring former Caledonia High School and East Mississippi Community College standout Louis Alexander to his coaching staff. Gardner, whose lauded the contributions of current Lady Volunteers assistant and former Mississippi State player Katelyn Graben, was keen to hire a boys' assistant who brought collegiate experience to the training ground.
CALHOUN CITY -- The Immanuel Christian football team scored its most points in a game in four years Friday night in a 51-20 victory against Calhoun Academy. It was Immanuel Christian's highest-scoring output since beating Brooklane Christian 54-38 on Sept. 22, 2006. Norris Harris rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Tate rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns to lead Immanuel Christian (1-3).
The Columbus High School football team scored 25 consecutive points in the fourth quarter Friday night to beat New Hope 39-22 at Trojan Field.
STARKVILLE -- Auburn overcame its own missed chances and a resilient Mississippi State defense to escape with a 17-14 win Thursday night. The anticipated shootout between two of the Southeastern Conference's highlight offenses from the opening week of the season never materialized as both offenses were held to less than 350 yards. Mississippi State's passing game accounted for just 129 of the team's 246 yards as quarterbacks Chris Relf and Tyler Russell looked nothing like they did a week ago against Memphis, when they combined to throw five touchdown passes.
STARKVILLE -- After lighting up the scoreboard against a woeful Memphis defense this past Saturday, much was expected in Act 2 of Mississippi State's burgeoning passing game. But on Thursday, the curtain came down on the aerial attack as soon as it took off when Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf had his first pass dropped by wideout Chad Bumphis. Relf was off-targed on throws to several receivers, but wasn't aided by five drops, the final going through the hands of Leon Berry on the second-to-last play of the game in a 17-14 loss to Auburn.
All the Mississippi State football team had to do was grab it. The Bulldogs had every opportunity Thursday night to back up all of their excited talk after a lopsided victory against the University of Memphis. Instead, faced with an opportunity to beat a ranked team at home in their Southeastern Conference opener, MSU struggled to find someone -- anyone -- to make a game-changing play. As a result, No. 21 Auburn escaped with a 17-14 victory in front of a crowd of 54,806 at Davis Wade Stadium.
The goal of every successful high school football program is to go undefeated on the season. It's an achievement very few teams have pulled off. If a high school team goes undefeated, it is even rarer for that squad not to allow a point. It's the dream of every defensive coordinator and the daily double of prep football, so to speak. Tonight, just such an accomplishment will be celebrated, as members of the 1977 unbeaten, unscored upon Hamilton High School football team will be honored prior to the Hamilton-Hatley contest.
Glenn Akins and Stance Henderson haven't had to talk about last season to get motivated for tonight's game. Aside from a three-game losing streak to open the season, the 2009 campaign was marked by disappointment and an inability to live up to the potential the Patriots saw in their team. Three games into the 2010 season, Akins and Henderson promise they won't let the same thing happen in their senior season.
STARKVILLE -- When a team lives on the edge long enough, a fall is imminent. Starkville Academy's soccer team was reminded Thursday what can happen to a team that lives nearly 60 minutes in its own half. The Lady Vols clung to a 1-0 lead for nearly the entire second half against Pillow Academy before conceding an 78th minute equalizer and a pair of extra-time goals in a 3-1 loss.
STARKVILLE -- Auburn overcame its own missed chances and a resilient Mississippi State defense to escape Starkville with a 17-14 win Thursday night. The anticipated shootout between two of the league's highlight offenses from Week 1 never materialized, as both offenses were held under 350 yards.
Auburn visits Mississippi State looking to replicate the same offensive performance from their Week 1 blowout of Arkansas State. The Bulldogs' offense was just as efficient and explosive in their opening-day 49-7 win over Memphis. Here's some quick keys for MSU winning tonight's game.
Timing has worked out in West Point High School's football team the past two seasons. The Green Wave used an early bye week last season to help refocus after a surprising loss to Shannon. This year's bye week has been about recovery.
On his way to becoming a head coach, Josh Harper learned a lot about football from Rusty Funk. Harper will get a second chance at 7 p.m. Friday to show what he learned when his South Lamar Stallions play host to Funk's Marion County Red Raiders in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Region 5 game.
Cameron Newton called it "probably one of the hardest decisions I've made in my recent life." It went beyond telling one of his closest mentors since high school, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, that he would sign with Auburn University instead of MSU this past winter.
STARKVILLE -- Cameron Newton gouged Arkansas State with runs and passes in an impressive debut as Auburn's starting quarterback. The former Dan Mullen pupil and Tim Tebow understudy at Florida had five total touchdowns and 357 combined yards in his first start as an FBS quarterback. Mississippi State's defense isn't naļve enough to think it'll shut down the Auburn quarterback or the dynamic skilled players around him in Thursday night's game at Scott Field.
It isn't hard to distinguish between Will Goodwin and the other students at Itawamba Community College. The freshman from Starkville Academy is the one being chauffeured in a golf cart across the Fulton campus from football practice to soccer practice. Goodwin is the lone kicker on Coach Jon Williams' football team and a forward on Coach Mike Sullivan's soccer team, and being escorted on a golf cart makes it easier for him to get to both team's practices.
The lessons were there Tuesday night to be absorbed. The Columbus High School volleyball team only had to watch the tenacity at the net of Annalisha Harris and Mattie Scarbrough to see how they were supposed to do things. On the other hand, the Aberdeen High girls had something to learn from Columbus. Even though they won the first two games, the Lady Bulldogs played inconsistently against the steadier Lady Falcons. Columbus' even-keeled approach helped it win game three and recapture the momentum before Aberdeen regrouped for a 3-1 victory.
1. Heritage Academy's Kerby at home in shot put circle HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS