STARKVILLE -- Chinwe Okorie looked like a machine. It was less than an hour into the Mississippi State women's basketball team's first practice of the 2016-17 and the 6-foot-5 senior center was moving well and keeping up with the Bulldogs' guards and forwards in a drill designed to have the players finish at the rim off fast breaks.
STARKVILLE -- "Slow down." Teaira McCowan isn't sure how many times she heard those words in her first season with the Mississippi State women's basketball time. If she had to guess, she probably would say she heard them more from MSU coach Vic Schaefer, associate head coach Johnnie Harris, who coaches the post players, and the rest of the coaching staff more than any other Bulldog. "Last year, I was really nervous about messing up and not doing well," McCowan said.
Challenges don't scare Roxanne Hernandez. Ever since she can remember, Hernandez has welcomed the feeling of having to perform at the highest level when faced with a deadline. Like most people, Hernandez acknowledges she has the worries, butterflies, and doubts she will be able to complete her work. When those thoughts bounce around in her head, all she has to do is come back to the words of her mother, Linda, and she is fine.
Brian Rickman has had a familiar mantra toward the end of each Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series season: avoid bad luck. In recent seasons, one bad finish, whether caused by mechanical failure or a driver error on the track, has wiped out his chances to clinch the points title and join brother Rick and father Eddie as State Series champions.
Gary Griffin wants to keep a good thing going. As a longtime assistant coach to Sammy Smith, Griffin saw the positive effects of the Columbus High School boys basketball team's work in the community. He also saw how fans in the community came out and supported the Falcons when they played at home. Last season, Griffin saw that support and excitement increase behind a team many believed could win the program's first state championship.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The top-ranked Alabama football team wouldn't allow Tennessee to produce another comeback. Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough each rushed for more than 100 yards Saturday and No. 1 Alabama again got points from its defense and special teams in a 49-10 blowout of No. 9 Tennessee. It was the most lopsided victory by either team in this rivalry since a 51-0 Alabama victory in 1906.
SCOOBA -- Ti'Morrius Conner had a big smile on his face as he removed his jersey and pads. As he prepared to meet friends and family and celebrate a victory, the East Mississippi Community College freshman reveled in the fact he had bragging rights over a former teammate. Conner, a former standout quarterback at Noxubee County High School, held those bragging rights over former Noxubee County High teammate Wesley Bush on Saturday after No. 4 EMCC beat No. 1 Northwest Mississippi C.C 51-32 in a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) game Saturday at Sullivan-Windham Field.
OXFORD -- It wasn't easy for the New Hope High School football team to take the field Monday for practice. Four New Hope High students, including two senior football players, were involved in a car accident last Saturday. According to police reports, the vehicle ran off the road and flipped, ejecting all four. The football players were taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Tupelo.
LAKE CORMORANT -- Junior Marcus Murphy collected 395 all-purpose yards Friday night to help the West Point High School football team overcome a slow start to beat Lake Cormorant 39-17 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A, Region 1 game. West Point (7-1, 4-0 region) won its sixth-straight game to clinch a berth in the Class 5A playoffs. Murphy had three touchdowns and rushed for 199 yards.
PROVO, UTAH -- Taysom Hill threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner in double overtime Friday night to give the BYU football team a 28-21 victory against Mississippi State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Fans stormed the field after BYU linebacker Fred Warner broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to end the game. It was the first time Hill has thrown for three touchdowns since the 2014 season opener.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Jared Cornelius scored on a 6-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to lift the No. 22 Arkansas football team to a 34-30 victory against No. 12 Ole Miss on Saturday night. The win is the third in a row for the Razorbacks (5-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) against the Rebels, who have lost three of their first six games a season after winning the Sugar Bowl.
KOSCIUSKO -- The Caledonia High School football team ended a four-year wait just in the nick of time Friday night. In the process, the Confederates kept their playoff hopes alive. Senior quarterback Spencer Unruh threw for three touchdowns, and senior running back Zion Ford rushed for 151 yards to lead Caledonia to a 31-14 victory against Kosciusko in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A, Region 4 game.
Friday night was the Columbus High School football team's time to feel good again. Columbus last lost three-straight games midway through the 2014 season. That streak is still intact thanks to a 49-33 victory against Southaven in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A, Region 1 game on Homecoming at Falcon Field.
ALICEVILLE, Ala. -- The Aliceville High School football team ran its winning streak to seven Friday night with a 48-12 victory against Greene County in Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) action. Aliceville already had clinched the top spot in Class 2A, Region 4. The Yellow Jackets will play host to a first-round playoff game Nov. 4. The Yellow Jackets have won by an average of 40 points in the streak.
MADISON -- Inconsistency has been an issue all season for the Starkville High School football team. On one hand, the Yellow Jackets' defense often has provided stout, gritty play. Unfortunately, Starkville's offense has clicked in the same way, which has left veteran coach Ricky Woods searching for ways to find a spark.
Sean Harrison feels the Heritage Academy football team has accomplished plenty through eight games, so he doesn't need any measuring sticks to help him determine how much progress his players have made since the beginning of the season. But it's natural to want to test yourself against the best teams, which is why Harrison is eager to find out how his team reacts at 7 tonight when it takes on Indianola Academy.
Kris Pickle isn't sure how his team will react tonight. Ordinarily, any New Hope High School team would be sky high and eagerly anticipating a game against Oxford, which is one of its biggest rivals. At 7 tonight, though, Pickle doesn't know how the New Hope High football team will respond for its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 1 matchup against Oxford.
During its domination of Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) football this decade, East Mississippi Community College has gotten pretty much whatever it wanted. From favorable bowl assignments to lofty national rankings to signing the best players in the state, coach Buddy Stephens and his staff have put a plan in place to build arguably the nation's best program. What EMCC hasn't had is a rival.
Kevin Deslauriers knows how to relate to volleyball players. After coaching them for 25 years at a variety of levels, including in college and in a club setting, Deslauriers understands the balance it takes to get boys and girls of all ages to grasp concepts and to buy into a team mentality. Deslauriers also knows having a presence helps a coach connect with players. Twenty-five years of experience tells Deslauriers that Roxanne Hernandez has that intangible.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen wasn't even watching Hunter Henry's heave that led to a fourth-and-25 conversion -- and eventual win -- against Mississippi a year ago. Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema saw the desperate lateral, which eventually led to the 53-52 overtime win over the Rebels , but he'd prefer something less dramatic this time around.
1. Starkville High's Gay decommits from Ole Miss HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Columbus basketball teams showcase Purple Madness HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Heritage Academy will be back at home for playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU searching for greater consistency COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Brownlee has career-best night for Green Wave HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS