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.
Georgia Tech doesn’t have a monopoly on the option offense. There are times when Mississippi State uses the scheme in its spread offense.
It’s not all about the option game for Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Although he’s a key in what the Yellow Jackets try to do running the triple option primarily out of the wishbone, opponents also know Nesbitt can throw the football.
WEST POINT — West Point High School has what senior running back Xavier Hogan calls the three-headed monster. “You stop one head and you still have the other two to deal with,” Hogan said. “It is really hard to stop that.”
HAMILTON — Chase Reeves didn’t have a plan in mind last weekend. The Hamilton High School junior was content to visit Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi and to listen to what the coaches had to say about their schools and their baseball programs. But after shaking off the initial surprise of receiving a scholarship offer, Reeves’ plan changed immediately.
Robin Tyra’s goal as coach of the Aliceville High School football team is to win region and state championships. Aliceville can take a step toward winning the Alabama High School Activities Association Class 3A, Region 4 championship Friday when it travels to Cordova.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior quarterback Tyson Lee is glad junior wide receiver Leon Berry joined the Bulldogs. On the field, Berry is a go-to player in coach Dan Mullen’s spread offense. Berry is equally valuable off the field because he can grill a pretty good steak. Lee has dined at Berry’s house and said his steaks are the best he has had in a while.
CLEVELAND — It took nearly 12 hours and five consecutive games, but the Central Academy fast-pitch softball team earned a spot in the Mississippi Association of Independent School Class AA State tournament. Central Academy rebounded from a loss in its second game of the North Half State tournament Tuesday to win three games in a row before losing 8-0 to Bayou Academy. That game ended shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 12 hours before the Lady Vikings took the field against Tri-County for their first game of the day at 10:30 a.m.
Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State men’s basketball signee Renardo Sidney, has taken his fight to Capitol Hill. In an attempt to get his client eligible to play for the Bulldogs, Jackson has requested intervention from the United State’s House of Representatives and Senate to investigate a pattern of racially selective conduct by the NCAA Enforcement Staff and Eligibility Center. Those concerns have been raised as Jackson attempts to clear up Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete.
Through four games this seasson, the only direction the Kentucky Wesleyan football team can go is up. That’s because the Panthers have lost their first four games by a combined score of 177-58. But Kentucky Wesleyan senior linebacker Kevin Baldwin isn’t letting his team’s slow start get him down. Baldwin, a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School and a transfer from Itawamba Community College in Fulton, believes the Panthers are capable of salvaging what’s left of the season.
STARKVILLE — The timing was perfect for Todd Bramble. Facing the prospect of playing three matches in six days, the University of Alabama women’s soccer coach wanted to substitute liberally Tuesday night against Mississippi State. The return of junior forward Kelly King from a high ankle sprain couldn’t have come at a better time. In her first game of the 2009 season, King proved her timing was pretty good, too.
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