It was a warm sendoff for the East Mississippi Community College football team. Head Coach Buddy Stephens only hopes it isn't the biggest celebration the team has. "We hope that there's a bigger party when we come back," Stephens said. "And we'll be happy if that happens."
East Mississippi Community College is gearing up for the biggest athletic event in its history. The school's No. 2 football team (11-0) will take on No. 1 Arizona Western College (11-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the El Toro Bowl presented by Time Warner Cable. The unbeaten powers play for the NJCAA national championship at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma, Ariz.
STARKVILLE -- Rick Stansbury likes the 2011-12 Mississippi State men's basketball team. Through all of the ins and out and outs and ins the Bulldogs have experienced in nearly one month of basketball, MSU's 14th-year coach sees a team with depth at key positions, a squad that has plenty of ballhandlers and creators, and a group that can present a host of matchup challenges.
Arizona Western College football coach Tom Minnick had a vision when he took over the program. The fourth-year coach admits that vision has become reality much quick than he anticipated. Arizona Western College (11-0) will try to close the final chapter on a magical season at 3:30 p.m. Saturday when it takes on No. 2 East Mississippi Community College (11-0) for the NJCAA national championship in the El Toro Bowl at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma, Ariz.
JACKSON -- Dodd Lee admits expectations weren't particularly high for the Picayune High School football team prior to the start of the 2011 season. That doesn't mean the veteran coach didn't think the Maroon Tide couldn't put something together. But coaches are a notoriously cautious bunch, and Lee knew replacing 17 starters from the 2010 squad would be something that couldn't be done with a snap of the finger.
The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools' All-Star game will have a hint of local flavor. Buoyed by a championship run, Starkville Academy's Ryan Mann and Angus Catchot will join Heritage Academy's Brandon Bell and Blake Sharp in the annual senior showcase game at 4 p.m. today at Mississippi College.
STARKVILLE -- No. 600 for Sharon Fanning-Otis proved Wednesday to be another step in the right direction for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Led by the attacking nature of senior Diamber Johnson (game-high 22 points), MSU defeated the University of South Alabama 63-47 for its third straight win before a crowd of 688 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen once again will encourage members of his juniors class to get tested by the NFL. MSU junior defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and junior cornerback Johnthan Banks will submit paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board to see where their expert scouts estimate they'll get picked.
The East Mississippi Community College football team learned its postseason destination more than two weeks ago. This morning, players, coaches, and support staff members for No. 2 EMCC flew out of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport on the first leg of a 1,700-mile flight that will move it closer to the biggest game in school history.
JACKSON -- It's all about the attitude for Milton Smith. Coming from a storied football program like Starkville High School, Milton Smith knows what it takes to win championships. In 1984, Smith was a member of the first Starkville High football team to win a state title. The former Yellow Jacket went on to a football career at Mississippi State before becoming a coach.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The No. 12 University of Alabama men's basketball team has learned its lesson. The Crimson Tide (7-0) have ridden smothering defense and a blend of veteran players and impact freshmen to its best start in nine seasons. This time last year, Alabama was a struggling group that would get it together too late to salvage its NCAA tournament hopes.
STARKVILLE -- Another offseason is nearly here, and reports of Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen leaving Starkville already have started. The Bulldogs' third-year coach deflected questions Tuesday about speculation he is a serious candidate to replace Joe Paterno as head football coach at Penn State University.
STARKVILLE -- Discipline. Structure. Fundamentals. Jemmye Ann Helms remembers those elements being cornerstones Sharon Fanning-Otis established in 1995 at Mississippi State when she took over as the school's new women's basketball coach.
JACKSON -- Nineteen years can pass in the blink of an eye. But time slowed for a moment Monday to allow 12 head coaches to reflect on a season's work.
MABEN -- The Columbus High School boys basketball team led for less than two minutes of its game Tuesday night against West Oktibbeha. The Falcons made sure to lead when it counted the most. A steal and fast-break layup by C.J. Scott helped Columbus rally past West Oktibbeha 53-51 in double overtime at Morgan Gym. In the first game, the Columbus High girls rolled to a 77-34 victory.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team used a ton of offense Tuesday night to beat Louisville 94-49. In the first game, the Starkville High girls used defense as their weapon in a 62-46 victory. Jacolby Mobley lead the Jackets with 26 points, while Mississippi State commitment Gavin Ware had 23 for the state's top team. Starkville High coach Greg Carter was pleased with how his team worked to get high-percentage shots.
SCOOBA -- Skill positions are crucial in a high-octane offense. But there's plenty of credit to go around when a team scores 41 or more points in its last nine games on the way to an undefeated 11-0 mark and a shot at a national championship.
JACKSON -- Once a walk-on, Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis has been recognized as the state of Mississippi's top college football player.
STARKVILLE -- Jack and Mary Lott weren't about to let a little rain spoil their party. The Lotts have attended the past 15 football games between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State.
STARKVILLE -- The Golden Egg Trophy will stay in Starkville. The Mississippi State football team won the annual in-state rivalry for the third straight year for the first time since World War II with a 31-3 victory against the University of Mississippi on Saturday night.
1. MSU's Collins transitions from catcher to third base COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Tigers' Sunday best adds to special day LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Oak Hill Academy boys beat Columbus Christian for district title HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Schaefer wants Bulldogs to maintain attacking mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope boys beat Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS