STARKVILLE -- Derek Sherrod has always had a family member available to encourage him at Mississippi State. He just didn’t always realize it. One of the reasons Sherrod chose to play at Mississippi State was because his older brother, Dezmond, was already there as a tight end in Sylvester Croom’s West Coast offense. After Dezmond graduated and signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Derek missed having a family member around. That’s until Sherrod found out he had a cousin also with the Bulldogs in Tobias Smith.
WEST POINT –– The Heritage Academy Lady Patriots had a run taken off the scoreboard Thursday afternoon, but didn’t need it to claim a 5-3 victory against Oak Hill Academy. The Lady Patriots (2-1) scored three runs in the second inning and would have scored four if one hadn’t been taken away. The Lady Patriots thought they tied the score 2-2 in the second when Logan Waggoner crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice and the home plate umpire extended his arms to signal safe.
STARKVILLE –– The girls who make up the Starkville Academy soccer team weren’t born when Artie Cosby was a record-breaking kicker at Mississippi State. All they know is he one day he could lead them to a championship. Cosby takes over the reins as soccer coach at Starkville Academy, and he’s enjoyed preparing for the season.
The championship feeling still lingers in Krisi Boren’s mind. A year ago, the Heritage Academy girls soccer team had a season to remember, falling to River Oaks (Monroe, La.) in its first appearance in a Mississippi Private School Association (now MAIS) state title match. The landscape will be different this season for the Lady Patriots. Heritage Academy, which finished 11-4 last season, will move from Division II to Division I this season. The transition means tougher divisional games against the likes of Starkville Academy, Pillow Academy,Washington School, and Magnolia Heights.
STARKVILLE — The intensity seemed to rise with the temperatures Thursday morning at the Mississippi State football practice fields. The Bulldogs seemed to take things a little more seriously in their second day in pads. “They came out better than (Wednesday),” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “They weren’t really used to being in pads, but this was what we expect our normal practices to look like.”
Josh Carothers and Kendall Jackson have learned to trust Sammy Smith. The Columbus High School boys basketball players believed their coach when he said he would do his best to find them a college where they could continue their careers. The only thing Smith asked his players to do was to stay patient and to believe. The wait ended Wednesday afternoon.
STARKVILLE — Jenny Hazelwood knows how to surprise people. In coaching stops at Centenary College (La.) and at Austin Peay, the former Mississippi State volleyball player has exceeded expectations and helped her programs reach new levels of success. Hazelwood believes she can follow that same formula at MSU.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville Academy’s Lyndsey Haynes mixed her pitches to mix up the Central Academy Lady Vikings at the plate. Haynes scattered four hits Tuesday afternoon to lead Starkville Academy to a 9-1 victory at home. “I didn’t throw one pitch in the same place the whole time,” said Haynes, who allowed three bunt singles. “If I threw outside and she’d foul it off, I’d go inside and high. Every pitch changed completely. It messed them up. The game (against Kemper Academy on Monday) I threw too much in the same place and I messed up and they would hit it.”
There’s something to be said for sure-handedness. For Heritage Academy’s Kristyn Atkins, all it took Tuesday was a rosin bag to help her feel more comfortable. The senior pitcher used rosin to keep her right hand dry en route to a complete-game three-hitter in an 8-1 victory against Hebron Christian. Atkins (1-1) struck out four, walked one, and never was in any serious trouble.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen’s face lit up when he heard the news. Mississippi State announced Tuesday it has set a school record in season-ticket sales, and finished the day at 38,469. That total includes 10,000 student tickets that will go on sale when classes begin on Aug. 17. Although Mullen is pleased about the new record, he won’t be satisfied until his goal of 40,000 season tickets sold has been met. He plans to keep promoting until it happens.
STARKVILLE — It’s too early to tell about Tyler Russell. That’s the impression most people had about the Mississippi State freshman quarterback after his first practice Tuesday with the full squad. The freshmen and varsity held separate workouts to open preseason drills Monday. Russell seemed to hold his own with the other quarterbacks in the near three-hour session that lasted into the night.
STARKVILLE — It was in with the old and the new Monday at Mississippi State as the football team opened preseason practice with two sessions. The freshmen and newcomers worked out for an hour and a half in the morning, while the varsity team members spent nearly three hours in the afternoon brushing up on what they learned in the spring.
STARKVILLE —Randy Haynes likes robust boxscores. The Starkville Academy fast-pitch softball coach would prefer to have his players swing away and pile up the doubles, triples, or home runs. Sometimes, though, you need to switch gears.
The NCAA notified Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney, by an e-mail Monday morning that he wouldn’t be permitted to participate in interviews of third parties unless he signed a statement of confidentiality.
SAN FRANCISCO — Former Mississippi State pitcher Brandon Medders of the San Francisco Giants enjoys it when an opposing team has a player from his alma mater and he gets a chance to reminisce about old times. Medders was afforded such an opportunity this past week when the Giants played host to the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park.
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen appears to have left the door open for a quarterback controversy. Although senior Tyson Lee, of Columbus, appears to be the front-runner Monday entering the start of preseason football practice, there are indications Mullen isn’t completely satisfied with the position.
CALEDONIA — Andi Franklin and Michael Eade hope their work as soccer ambassadors helps the United States produce World Cup caliber talent. Franklin and Eade joined Matthew Foster and Rachel Smythe in Caledonia last week as coaches with the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State is approaching a record for season-ticket sales. A little more than a month before MSU faces Jackson State on Sept. 5 in Starkville, the school’s ticket office announced it has sold 37,523 season tickets.
Brad Butler knows the Heritage Academy football program can accomplish big things. He was a member of the football team’s coaching staff in 2005 when it advanced to the Class AAA Division II title game. Now it’s Butler’s job to help the Patriots get back to that level.
STARKVILLE — Starkville Academy believes it’s getting just the boost its athletic program needs to be competitive. A $300,000 on-campus locker room and training facility is under construction and is excepted to provide something that is considered to be overdue.
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2. Lady Trojans fall a little short HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Ray looks to newcomers to improve depth COLLEGE SPORTS
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5. Defense does job for South Jones HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS