STARKVILLE –– Ravern Johnson’s 23 points sparked a convincing 82-54 win by the 18th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs against the Oklahoma City Stars on Saturday afternoon in the exhibition opener for both teams at Humphrey Coliseum. Johnson, a junior, drained 6-of-10 three-pointers, shot 8 of 15 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds. “I started out slow, but I knew eventually if I kept shooting they would fall,” Johnson said. “Most of our shots today were wide-open shots, and we were very fortunate to not rush any.”
The Columbus High School football team’s game at Olive Branch High School has been moved to 2 p.m. Saturday due to expected inclement weather in the state. The game was originally scheduled to be played at 7 tonight.
STARKVILLE — Marcus Washington has pleasant memories of Mississippi State’s game at the University of Kentucky two years ago. The defensive back had an interception to help the Bulldogs defeat the Wildcats 31-14. The victory helped carry them to a winning season (8-5) and Liberty Bowl berth. “It’s something I always think about,” Washington said. “I remember that game like it was yesterday. They were a ranked team and had a high-powered offense. We just came in with a mind-set to get the win.”
STARKVILLE — Dee Bost has noticed a change. As a freshman, Bost averaged more than 31 minutes a game and started all 36 games for the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. And while he was fourth on the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game, Bost didn’t always like how he felt on the court. “I used to get pushed around,” Bost said. “(Opponents would) give me a little nudge and throw me off track.” Opponents will see a different Dee Bost this season thanks to strength and conditioning coach Richard Akins.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s men’s basketball players and coaches say their focus is between the white lines. The program has received a lot of attention in the preseason for things that have happened outside those lines. The Bulldogs learned Thursday they are ranked in the top 20 of both preseason polls (18th by The Associated Press, 19th by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches).
MACON — The Noxubee County High School football team is ready for the postseason. Judging from the left right side of the scoring column, the defense is primed and raring to go. The Tigers secured a perfect record in Class 4A, Region 4, District 4 on Thursday night with a 42-0 victory against Caledonia at Tiger Stadium.
GORDO, Ala. — Thursday night was proof that when county rivals get together you can disregard records. The Pickens County High School football team entered its game Thursday night against Gordon 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, while Gordo came in at 5-4. Led by a stellar night of punt returns by Demario Lanier, the Green Wave snapped the Tornadoes’ winning streak with a 28-7 victory. The victory was the fourth in a row for Gordo, which will enter the Class 3A state playoffs next week at Montgomery Academy.
STARKVILLE — Jaquez Johnson understands what he must do to move forward. The Starkville High School junior quarterback wants to settle down and rely on his teammates more to make plays. That’s something Johnson doesn’t think he’s done well enough in the past two weeks with five interceptions. Johnson believes he’s making the right reads, but says he has tried to force some things.
WEST POINT — It’s all about a mind-set for the West Point High School football team. While some teams revel in the precision pass routes of a spread offense, the Green Wave prefer the direct approach. It might not be elaborate, but you better may sure your helmet is on tight because the first thing your defense will see when you play West Point is a fast-charging, hard hitting offensive line that is focused on clearing running lanes.
ABERDEEN — The regular-season finale Thursday night between the Aberdeen and Nettleton High School football teams for the Class 3A, Region 2, District 1 championship featured a classic teacher-pupil matchup that pitted a pair of coordinators — Mike Hathcock of the Tigers and the Bulldogs’ Kris Pickle — against each other. As often happens, the pupil emerged victorious, as Aberdeen topped Nettleton 30-6. The game was moved to Thursday night in anticipation of tonight’s predicted inclement weather.
MACON — The toothpick and straw hat have become his trademarks. Noxubee County High School football coach M.C. Miller can roll a toothpick in his mouth as he shouts instructions to his players or as he talks to a reporter. The straw hat usually remains atop his head to cover his graying hair and his salt-and-pepper beard.
There is something special about offensive linemen. Typically, the behemoths up front toil in the trenches to clear paths for darting running backs and scampering quarterbacks and seldom receive any accolades. There is something even more special about offensive linemen in eight-man football.
WEST POINT — Doss Miller didn’t have time to think. On one play, Jake Orman was in his usual spot as running back. The next play, Orman was on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury. A change of possession gave Miller time to process the fact he now was the Oak Hill Academy’s go-to running back, but it didn’t make the thought of taking on that role any easier.
University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks knows sophomore Ronnie Sneed can play linebacker. He just didn’t know he’d have to ask him to prove it this quickly. With the potential of not having senior All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Micah Johnson available at 6 p.m. Saturday for his team’s game against Mississippi State (Fox SportsNet South), Brooks might turn to Sneed.
The Lamar County and Pickens County high school football teams will try to finish the regular season undefeated when they take the field this week.
The fire has been burning inside Chris Jackson for a number of years. Eighth grade. Losing season. Ninth grade. Losing season. Eleventh grade losing season. This year was supposed to be different for the Columbus High School football team. The Falcons were a year older and a year wiser and were more comfortable with the ways of veteran coach Buddy Davis and his assistants. The season started fast with an overtime victory against Aberdeen in Columbus, but the Falcons couldn’t maintain that momentum.
Service and commitment are important words to Ben Porter. Growing up in a family with a proud history of military service for this country, Porter hopes to follow that path by joining the United States Naval Academy. Before gets to that crossroads in his life, Porter and the New Hope High School football team have some unfinished business to take care of this season. Porter and the Trojans will play host to Hernando (7-2, 4-1 Class 5A, Region 1, District 2) at 7 p.m. Friday in their final home game of the regular season.
STARKVILLE — David Turner has benefited from relationships established during his coaching career. One of those relationships helped him earn his first NCAA Division I job as a defensive ends coach at Kentucky in 1993. The bonds continue to help him as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State. Turner will return to Lexington, Ky., at 6 p.m. Saturday when Mississippi State plays at the Kentucky Wildcats (FOX SportsNet South).
During spring football drills, University of West Alabama sophomore Ricky Bell was moved from wide receiver to free safety. Bell has adjusted to the change and has found a home in the secondary at the school in Livingston, Ala. Bell, a 2008 graduate of Aberdeen High School, has earned a starting position after making the switch.
STARKVILLE — Johnthan Banks had two teeth removed last week ago, one for each of the interceptions he returned for touchdowns Saturday night in a 29-19 loss to the University of Florida.
1. Epiphany helps Holman return to New Hope HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Lady Trojans fall a little short HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Ray looks to newcomers to improve depth COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Thomas' development gives MSU positive for future COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Defense does job for South Jones HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS