Their jerseys are old school. The big, bold green numbers 30 and 66 on white jerseys stare down opponents. It’s simple and clean, even without the players’ names on the back of the jerseys. On Friday night, Jamal Petty and Vontarrius Dora made a statement wearing those numbers.
It took about half a quarter for the Magnolia Heights football team to find the rhythm it last displayed in a 3-0 start to the season. After that, the Chiefs marched all over the Heritage Academy Patriots 45-14 to snap a three-game losing streak.
HAMILTON — The West Lowndes High School football team stopped a late surge by Hamilton Friday night en route to a 26-20 victory in its Class 2A, Region 2, District 4 opener. The Panthers (5-1) also snapped the Lions’ three-game winning streak.
AMORY — Forest Williams used something Friday night he didn’t know he had. When the Amory High School sophomore quarterback broke through the line of scrimmage in the third quarter, he outran the Caledonia High School defense on his way to a 55-yard touchdown.
ABERDEEN — It might be simplistic, but it all starts with the serve for the Aberdeen High School volleyball team. But when the Lady Bulldogs serve as well as they did Saturday, they’re bound to have success.
CARROLLTON, Ala. — When Sam Pearson took over as head football coach at Pickens Academy, his goal was to return the program to its winning ways. The Pirates won five undefeated state championships in the late 90s but haven’t earned a title in 10 years, which is something Pearson hopes to change.
STARKVILLE -- Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt isn’t known for his passing ability. Yet Nesbitt torched the Mississippi State secondary for 266 yards in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 42-31 victory Saturday night. Case Keenum, the signal caller at the University of Houston, does have a reputation for throwing the football with success. On Saturday, Keenum was 51 of 76 for 536 yards and five touchdowns in Houston’s 58-41 loss to Texas-El Paso.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State was supposed to begin fall baseball practice Friday. The mounds of dirt and the absence of sod at Dudy Noble Field altered those plans. As of Thursday, the work to cover the new and improved drainage and irrigation system at the home field of the Bulldogs hadn’t been completed.
STARKVILLE — Splishing, splashing, and sploshing aren’t typical ingredients of a soccer match. But Rachel Wannek has experienced enough of those moments to feel right at home playing in inclement weather. The freshman showed Sunday just how comfortable she is in bad weather and on soggy fields when she scored on a 25-yard free kick in the second half to help the Mississippi State women’s soccer team earn a 1-1 overtime tie against No. 8 South Carolina at the MSU Soccer Field.
Jamerson Love didn’t need another game to help him make his decision. The Aberdeen High School senior running back had already decided on a college before attending Mississippi State’s game against No. 25 Georgia Tech in Starkville on Saturday. All Love had to do then was wait to make his announcement. Georgia Tech’s 42-31 victory didn’t deter Love from informing MSU coach Dan Mullen that he wanted to make a verbal commitment to become a Bulldog.
HAMILTON — Change doesn’t faze Robert Herman Tucker. Whether it has been as a teacher, coach, or parent, Tucker has seen offenses and defense come and go. He has worked his share of jobs, including stints in the auto parts manufacturing business and in the insurance industry. He also has had his share of health issues, including a quintuple-bypass heart surgery last February.
MACON — Marion Colvin didn’t back down. After playing four games at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A State tournament, Colvin didn’t have time to be tired — or nervous. The only thing Colvin thought about was beating Delta Academy. “Mr. Pres (Dawkins) said, ‘You have got the mound this game. Are you ready? I told him, ‘Yes sir,’ ” Colvin said. “I told him I was going to pitch my best and get us to state.”
CALEDONIA — Kara Von Kanel and Sunnie Rushing wondered if all of the work was worth it. Through the start of preseason in the summer and a season filled with long practices and work on fundamentals, the members of the Caledonia High School volleyball never really considered the payoff that would result from all of their hard work. But when the Lady Confederates started having fun and piling up the victories, they soon discovered why coach Samantha Brooks had put them through the paces earlier in the season.
STARKVILLE — Some high school football teams hate to practice in the rain. But the poor weather last week motivated the Starkville High School football team. Junior linebacker D.J. Jordan said it was hard to explain, but when it started raining the Yellow Jackets worked harder. “It hyped us up,” Jordan said. “We knew it was going to be wet on Friday, so we just went out and got the job done.”
Each step is a learning process for the Columbus High School football team. Last week, the Falcons experienced an especially painful lesson in a 10-6 home loss to Tupelo in their Class 6A, Region 1, District 2 season opener. Columbus coach Bubba Davis said the loss hurt his players so much because he felt they went into the game thinking they were good enough to win and that they should win. Things didn’t turn out that way.
The “thug” life was the life for Jeremy Wells. As a freshman at New Hope High School, trouble found Wells much too often. Without his brother, Jonquez, a running back on the New Hope High football team, around to help look after him, Jeremy admitted to falling in with the wrong group. It wasn’t until his sophomore year when Wells discovered he was academically ineligible to play football that he realized he needed to change.
Mississippi State linebacker Jamar Chaney watched helplessly in Starkville last season as Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense dominated the Bulldogs. Chaney was recovering from a broken leg and didn’t make the trip to Atlanta for MSU’s 38-7 loss. Things got so bad for the Bulldogs, who surrendered 438 yards rushing, that Chaney turned off the television at halftime.
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