Cathy Nixon knows about transitions. While it’s common for NCAA Division II programs to make the jump to Division I, a junior college never had tried to leap from the NJCAA ranks to Division I competition. So when Utah Valley University women’s basketball coach Cathy Nixon uses words like “amazing” and “remarkable” to describe the school’s journey, they don’t come close to illustrating what she and the program have overcome to reach the highest level of NCAA play.
Surframe Gilleylan had waited patiently for an opportunity. The senior linebacker on the University of West Alabama footballl team got an opportunity Saturday and made the most of it. Gilleylan had a season-high and team-leading seven tackles to help West Alabama beat Albany State 24-22 in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
STARKVILLE — Linebacker Jamar Chaney and wide receiver Brian McRae wanted the same thing for their senior season at Mississippi State. After seeing their junior seasons end due to injuries, they returned hoping to win a Southeastern Conference championship. It didn’t happen.
STARKVILLE — The pieces continue to come together for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. An unexpected one was added to the mix Monday when MSU landed at No. 25 in the first Associated Press Top 25 ranking of the regular season.
ABERDEEN — One, two, three — Release. It sounds simple, and it doesn’t always go according to plan, but Aaron Andrews is all about being on time. When you’re the quarterback of a high-scoring offense like the Aberdeen High School football team, you have to be precise with your movements and read and deliver the football at the right times.
RIPLEY — All season long, Aberdeen High School football coach Chris Duncan has been looking for a “complete” game from his Bulldogs. Although his team had compiled an impressive 10-2 mark heading into Friday’s 3A playoff matchup at Ripley, the Bulldogs, according to Duncan, had failed to click on all cylinders through their first 12 outings.
Michael Bradley seldom is speechless when he talks about football. But the nature of his team’s come-from-behind 34-33 victory against Callaway on Friday night in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs had the fourth-year coach searching for words. When Bradley got going, though, his words did the game — and his players — justice.
MACON — In high school football, as with any sport, winning can be so contagious that it takes a heavy dose of reality — a loss — to stop the momentum. Facing a 9-2 Senatobia team in the second round of the Class 4A North Half State playoffs, Noxubee County knew the Warriors’ potent passing attack could stop their bid to repeat as state champions.
WEST POINT — After a couple bad experiences with the passing game Friday, the West Point High School football team opted to go with what it knows. The result was 371 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the Green Wave shared its knowledge with Canton in a 36-0 victory in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs.
VERNON, Ala. — On Friday, George Bell Stadium was packed with a crowd that generated noise that rivaled a college football game. That crowd all but erupted after a play that many people take for granted. Tanner High School’s Mark Adams extra-point attempt in overtime sailed low and to the right, enabling Lamar County to escape with a 28-27 victory in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A second-round playoff game.
REFORM, Ala. — Pickens County High School’s Jematric Curry was looking to make a play. When that didn’t come as the quarterback early against Goshen High in Friday’s second round game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs, he turned to the other side of the football. Curry’s second-quarter interception of running back Reginald Foster on a halfback pass attempt sparked the Tornadoes. Once Pickens County got rolling, it recorded a 48-14 victory against the Eagles.
MABEN — The East Webster High School football team avenged a loss in the playoffs last season by beating Calhoun City 28-14 Friday in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state playoffs. East Webster (7-6) won its third game in a row and atoned for a 14-7 loss to Calhoun City last season. “We’re playing pretty well,” East Webster coach Jimmy Carden said. “I thought my kids played the hardest they’ve played all season. Not that Calhoun City didn’t play hard, but my kids played better than they have all year.”
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School senior basketball player Rashad Perkins can get back to business. After signing a national letter of intent Friday to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, Perkins is ready to concentrate on the rest of his high school season. “It feels good to get it out of the way,” Perkins said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of me because I don’t have to worry about people asking me where I’m going. I can focus on what I need to be doing.”
TUPELO — Matthew Esquivel scored four goals in three games this weekend to help the Columbus High School boys soccer team win two of three games in the Tupelo Tournament. Esquivel scored both goals in a 2-1 victory against Saltillo on Friday, scored the only goal in a 6-1 loss to Corinth on Saturday and scored scored a goal in a 3-0 victory against Center Hill on Saturday. Sevascian Vasquez led Columbus (3-2-1) with two goals against Center Hill.
STARKVILLE — The University of Alabama offense chose to change its approach during an open date earlier this season. Coach Nick Saban thought his offense showed balance, but was looking forward to the day when it could open things up. That time came Saturday night in a 31-3 victory against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium. Wide receiver Darius Hanks started it for the Crimson Tide with a 45-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Greg McElroy in the second quarter.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State football team endured its most lopsided loss of the season Saturday night in a 31-3 loss to No. 3 Alabama. The Bulldogs (4-6) will need to put that disappointment out of their minds quickly if they want to qualify for a postseason bowl. To do that, MSU must win its final two games. MSU coach Dan Mullen wants to get that accomplished for the seniors.
STARKVILLE — Diamber Johnson was ready for a different role this season. After playing a larger than expected role as a freshman last season, Johnson knew the return of senior guard Marneshia Richard was going to change things. Johnson realized she probably was going to see fewer minutes, but Richard’s return also was going to give her a chance to earn some valuable on-the-job training in practice against an experienced guard. But point guards always have to be ready because circumstances can change in an instant.
Women’s basketball fans can rejoice. ESPN and its family of networks will kick off a schedule of 250 women’s basketball games at 4 p.m. today (ESPN2) when Baylor plays at Tennessee in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic. The game will be the first of a season filled with women’s basketball on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360.com and ESPN Full Court. The schedule will be the biggest ever by the family of networks.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State tailback Anthony Dixon might want to consider wearing extra padding Saturday. It’s not because he will face the University of Alabama defense, but it’s because of teammate Patrick Hanrahan. Dixon could find running against the No. 3 Crimson Tide to be tough at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN) when the teams meet in a Southeastern Conference Western Division game. He also better be ready to face a pumped up Hanrahan during the game.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury hopes junior forward Kodi Augustus stays hungry. Augustus started the first nine games last season before hitting a stretch where he didn’t play in 11 games due to a coaching decision. During that time, Stansbury was trying to get Augustus to understand the importance of defense. Augustus started to grasp what Stansbury wanted and his playing time increased late in the season. He averaged 9.8 points and three rebounds per game and hit 6 of 12 3-pointers to help the Bulldogs win the Southeastern Conference tournament. He then had nine points and eight rebounds in a loss to the University of Washington in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
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