STARKVILLE — Mississippi State freshman safety Johnthan Banks wasn’t going to be intimidated Saturday night by the University of Florida. Even though the Bulldogs lost a 29-19 decision to the No. 2 Gators, Banks showed he belonged on the field. The former East Webster High School standout intercepted senior quarterback Tim Tebow twice and returned both for touchdowns. He returned the first one 100 yards with 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter to pull MSU (3-5, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) within 13-10 at halftime.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen asked for it and he got it Saturday night. Mullen wanted fans to fill Davis Wade Stadium and make it a tough environment when No. 2 University of Florida came to town. The largest crowd in MSU history of 57,178 looked on as the Bulldogs lost to the Gators 29-19.
Apprehension and shock were the common denominators that linked coaches Bubba Davis and John Cooley before and after the Columbus High School football team’s 28-0 win against Horn Lake here Friday evening.
CLARKSDALE –– The New Hope High School football team registered its second consecutive shutout Friday to clinch a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoff berth.
The Heritage Academy football team’s bid for an upset against No. 9 Washington School ended quickly after the Generals used an 18-point second quarter to earn a 26-7 victory.
STARKVILLE — The Starkville High School football team needed a victory Friday night to clinch a berth in the Class 6A North Half playoffs. But Olive Branch turned four Starkville High turnovers into 13 points that proved to be the difference in a 23-13 win in their Class 6A, Region 1, District 2 game.
MACON — The Noxubee County High School football team’s defense might not have eye-popping size, but the results it is producing are larger than life.
CALEDONIA — One play can affect an entire game. If you execute, one play can keep a drive alive and lead to a momentum-building effort. If you fail to execute, that one play can lead to a spiraling confluence of events that can sap any team’s spirit.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury preaches defending and rebounding to his team. But he has yet to run a shot-blocking drill in practice. Stansbury discovered early Jarvis Varnado didn’t need it. He already had that skill.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two things excite Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive about the upcoming basketball season.
STARKVILLE –– Anthony Dixon doesn’t shy away from a challenge. That’s just what Mississippi State’s new all-time leading rusher will get against the University of Florida. Something will have to give at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN) when one of the nation’s top defenses takes on one of the country’s top rushing attacks. Dixon expects a “grind it out game,” and that’s the type he likes.
SCOOBA — The No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team extended its MACJC North Division winning streak to 15 on Thursday by beating Mississippi Delta 28-10 at Sullivan-Windham Field. With its top-rated offense not clicking on all cylinders in the regular-season finale, EMCC (8-1) got a huge special teams boost from freshman wide receiver British Footman, who had 215 return yards on two kickoff returns and a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. Entering the contest ranked first nationally with an average of 513.9 yards of total offense per game, EMCC failed to score in the first quarter for the first time this season.
The “practice” jerseys survived. More importantly, the New Hope High School football team escaped Saltillo last week with a 6-0 victory. The win in conditions New Hope High coach Michael Bradley likened to the “worst pigpen” he had ever seen helped the Trojans continue their march toward a No. 2 seed in Class 5A, Region 1 and the opportunity to play a first-round North State playoff game at home. New Hope (6-1, 3-1 region) will try to take another step closer to securing its postseason fate at 7 tonight when it travels to Clarksdale (3-5, 2-2).
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School football coach Bill Lee believed his team missed a great opportunity this past Friday. Lee said all the Yellow Jackets had to do was beat Southaven to make the Class 6A state playoffs. That didn’t happen as Starkville lost 27-16. A victory would have made things a lot easier on the Yellow Jackets, but now the playoff picture in Class 6A, Region 1 is clouded.
So much for being rusty. After four weeks of practicing, watching, and waiting to get back on the field for a Friday night game, the Victory Christian football team returned to action last week with a 66-16 victory against North River Christian in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The victory pushed the Eagles to 7-0 and set the stage for their homecoming game at 7 tonight against Tuscaloosa Christian. That game likely will determine the top seeds for the Christian Football Association playoffs, which will begin next week.
MACON — The Noxubee County High School football team’s defense never rests. At practice last season, the Tigers’ defense had to find ways to stop quarterback Termarcus Conner and a high-octane offense that featured wide receivers Patrick Patterson, Teddy Young, Vincent Sanders and others and a host of other weapons. This year, Patterson has moved on to the University of Mississippi and a number of the Tigers’ 2008 stalwarts on offense and defense are now playing football in college.
MABEN — You gotta believe. The tears on Dwight Quinn’s face Thursday night showed just how much he and his West Oktibbeha High School football teammates believe. Trailing by 18 points early in the third quarter, the Timberwolves used a punt return for a touchdown by Quinn to change the momentum. From there, West Oktibbeha dominated the rest of the second half and carried that energy into the first overtime.
Bubba Davis hopes last week was just the beginning. The Columbus High School football coach will find out Friday if the Falcons have started a trend when they play host to Horn Lake at 7 p.m. in a Class 6A, Region 1 game at Columbus Stadium. Columbus (2-6, 1-3 region) is coming off a 12-7 victory against DeSoto Central that snapped its 10-game losing streak in region games. Sophomore running back Damian Baker rushed for a career high 224 yards and two touchdowns to help keep the Falcons in contention for one of the top four spots in the region and a playoff berth.
Josh Harper credits Rusty Funk with helping him advance through the ranks to become a head football coach. Harper was an assistant to Funk at Columbus High School and at South Lamar High School in Millport, Ala. Harper will get a chance Friday to show his mentor what he learned when he coaches against Funk. Harper, who replaced Funk as the coach at South Lamar, will coach against his mentor at 7 p.m. Friday when the Stallions travel to Marion County in Guin, Ala., for an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Region 7 game.
Region championships will be at stake Friday night when the Lamar County Bulldogs and Pickens County Tornadoes take the field. Lamar County will claim the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Region 7 championship and Pickens County will capture the Class 2A, Region 4 title with victories. Both have the task of trying to win region championships on the road, with Lamar County playing at Winston County and Pickens County traveling to Fultondale.
1. Bulldogs make changes in the baseball clubhouse COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Bulldogs add depth by signing Zuppardo COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Heritage Academy's Phillips signs with Birmingham Southern HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope's Calmes signs with West Alabama HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS