Starkville Academy hopes Shane Bazzell can bring some of his state championship magic to its baseball program. Bazzell, who played baseball at New Hope High School from 1993-98 and helped the Trojans win state titles in 1996 and ’98, was named Monday the new head baseball coach at Starkville Academy. “He played at one of the best high school programs in the state and has obviously learned the game,” Starkville Academy Athletic Director Glenn Schmidt said. “He has a passion for baseball.”
Madison Ford’s busy schedule is making national news. The Heritage Academy senior learned a few weeks ago from classmate Morgan Lamb that she is one of 20 of scholar-athletes from the state of Mississippi who is a finalist for the 2009 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award program. More than 50,000 seniors applied nationwide and from that group, 10,848 school winners were selected. The 20 Mississippi state finalists were chosen from these winners.
The Golden Triangle was well represented Sunday at the 40th edition of the New York City Marathon. Six local athletes competed and finished the 26.2-mile event that featured a field of nearly 44,000 competitors that ran through New York’s five boroughs — Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Columbus’ Brad Atkins and his wife, Melissa, posted the best finishes of any local runners. Brad finished 807th with a time of 2 hours, 58.01 seconds, while Melissa had a personal-best time of 3:56.15.
STARKVILLE — Anthony Dixon still has some unfinished business. Even after the Mississippi State senior running back had become the school’s all-time leading rusher and then rushed for a new single-game record 252 yards Saturday in a 31-24 victory against the University of Kentucky, there’s more on his mind. Dixon, who has 3,604 rushing yards, wants to help the Bulldogs make it to a postseason bowl. To do that, MSU (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) has to win two of its last three regular-season games, and Dixon wants to win all three.
Championship programs are made of this. The New Hope High School football team still has work to do before it earns a title, but it showed Saturday night it just might have the mettle to be a state contender. Terrance Dentry scored on a 1-yard plunge on fourth down in overtime and the Trojans’ defense swarmed Brandon Dennis on the final play to seal a 35-27 victory at Trojan Field.
OLIVE BRANCH — Olive Branch High School football coach Scott Samsel hadn’t called a swinging gate play in three years. He did so at just the right time Saturday afternoon. With the Conquistadors nursing a seven-point lead against Columbus with 84 seconds left in the first half, the play sprang running back Keyshun Shipp for a 41-yard gain that turned the momentum of the game at Leslie Pool Field.
The Victory Christian football field was marshy Friday night, so coach Chris Hamm didn’t expect the passing game to have much of an impact. Yet every time the rain increased, Parker Eaves connected with Tyler Jones for another long touchdown pass. Eaves hooked up with Jones for three of his four touchdown passes on the night to lead Victory Christian to a 46-6 victory against Victory Millbrook in the semifinals of the Christian Football Association playoffs.
The East Webster High School football team shut out West Lowndes on Friday night in more ways than one. Not only did the Wolverines blank the Panthers 24-0, but they also held them without a yard on offense. The Wolverines (5-6, 1-4 Class 2A, Region 2, District 4) allowed negative-21 yards total offense in a dominating victory that put them in position to earn a playoff victory.
WEST POINT — It was worth the wait for Winston Academy football team and Rob Moffitt. Poor weather postponed the Patriots’ matchup against Oak Hill Academy from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. When the game was finally played, Moffitt had to wait nearly three quarters before he touched the football. But Winston Academy coach Wyatt Rogers decided to give Moffitt a carry with 26.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
AMORY –– The Amory High School football team scored all of its points in the second half Friday night and rallied to beat Louisville 19-14 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 4 game on Friday. Amory (3-8, 3-2 region) rallied in the second half after trailing 14-0 at halftime. Joreel Freeman scored the winning touchdown on a 5-yard run with 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
A slow course wasn’t enough to prevent McGee Ledbetter from earning All-State honors. The Heritage Academy junior cross country runner finished fourth Monday with a time of 19 minutes, 3 seconds at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA boys 5-Kilometer run at the Choctaw Trails course used by Mississippi College. Starkville Academy’s Joseph MacGown was second in the Class AAA meet with a time of 18:52. Jackson Prep’s Daniel Lang won the race in 18:29.
STARKVILLE — Justin Brewer thought about the opportunity and decided it was too good to pass up. After putting off Copiah-Lincoln Community College at first when a job as assistant baseball coach came open, Brewer decided to take the job after one season as the head baseball coach at Starkville Academy. Brewer was also an assistant football coach for the Volunteers. He wrapped up his responsibilities Friday in a 31-14 loss to Pillow Academy.
SCOOBA — The No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team secured its first trip to the MACJC state football championship game with a 26-16 semifinal-round victory against No. 19 Jones County on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan-Windham Field. EMCC (9-1) will try to avenge its only loss of the season when it plays host to No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. next week in Scooba. MGCCC defeated Coahoma 58-21 in the other semifinal. The Bulldogs beat the Lions 43-26 on Sept. 17.
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.
1. New Hope's Sartori to join Lee University for volleyball COLLEGE SPORTS