Dennis Johnson is out a dream. The former Amory High School defensive lineman could have remained at Itawamba Community College to complete his two years of eligibility, but he saw the opportunity to be a part of the LSU football program.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen had one priority when he was hired. Not long after Mullen took the MSU job on Dec. 10, 2008, he visited defensive lineman Pernell McPhee and punter Heath Hutchins at Itawamba Community College.
Terrance Dentry is trying to find himself. The New Hope High School junior running back isn’t experiencing an identity crisis. Instead, he is attempting to return to the form that helped him rush for more than 1,000 yards and nearly score 20 touchdowns.
Roy Hazzle is synonymous with Aberdeen High School. He graduated from the school in 1971 and returned there six years later to work as a teacher. Hazzle has impacted the lives of thousands of teenagers in his more than 30 years at Aberdeen High.
PHEBA — Cass Tapley was at a loss for words a month ago. The Hebron Christian fast-pitch softball team had just lost to Heritage Academy 8-1 in a lackluster effort that left Tapley wondering if his players would realize their potential.
STARKVILLE –– Sean Brauchle is finding his range at Mississippi State. The confidence for the placekicker is rising as he makes field goals for the Bulldogs. In Saturday’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt, Brauchle made three field goals and he’s starting to make them from long distances.. Brauchle, a transfer from Itawamba Community College, made field goals from 44 and 27 yards in the second quarter and a season-long of 49 yards in the third to give MSU a 9-3 lead.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Mississippi State football team’s defense wasn’t going to let the play of the offense and special teams go to waste Saturday night against Vanderbilt University. After not taking advantage of a blocked punt return for a touchdown by Robert Elliott last week in a loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs were again put in a position to win with solid special teams play and timely offense.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tyson Lee picked a good time to score the second rushing touchdown of his Mississippi State career. With the Bulldogs clinging to a 9-3 lead late in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback from Columbus broke loose on a keeper and scored from 22 yards. The run on fourth-and-1 provided the finishing touches on MSU’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
On most Friday night football games between county rivals New Hope and Caledonia high schools, the stadium exudes excitement and features packed bleachers, the aroma of charcoal grills permeating the air, bands playing fight songs, and cheerleaders keeping the spirit and enthusiasm alive. The 2009 version of this contest was anything but normal.
Louisville High School quarterback Chris Wraggs said his team’s game Friday night against Columbus was exciting because it was sloppy. Wraggs meant the playing field, as rain delayed the start of the game an hour due to the rain, and continued through the first half. The field wasn’t the only aspect of the game that was sloppy.
MADISON — It’s called “The Blind Side.” The book has been made into a soon-to-be-released movie about former University of Mississippi left tackle Michael Oher. The left tackle position is one of the highest paid in the NFL because he protects the quarterback’s blind side. On Friday night late in the third quarter, Heritage Academy senior quarterback Will Swedenburg had the Patriots on the move trailing Madison-Ridgeland Academy 21-3.
MACON — Michael Carr couldn’t look up. With teammate Curtis Virges pensively looking on by his side, standing guard to prevent anyone from entering their space, Carr stared at the turf at Shannon High School. Around him, members of the West Point High School football team tried to digest a 27-20 loss in their season opener Aug. 21.
It is a football game that no West Lowndes player will soon forget. The Panthers won’t forget their 20-0 victory against Wheeler on Friday night not because there were so many storylines. Rain forced the school’s homecoming festivities to be moved into the gym. Then, a two-hour rain delay forced West Lowndes and Wheeler to wait it out and to wonder if they would play.
OKOLONA — Despite a 24-0 lead, Aberdeen High School football team offensive coordinator Kris Pickle had a spirited meeting with his offense late in the third quarter Friday night. Unhappy with his offensive line in particular after three unproductive offensive possessions in the quarter, Pickle didn’t mince words with his charges.
WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team finally found someone it could push around, and it just happened to be the other private school in Clay County. After rain forced Oak Hill Academy to hold its homecoming ceremonies in its gym, the Raiders defeated Hebron Christian 14-0 Friday night in sopping conditions.
The defending Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state champions have survived every test this season against teamss that are in higher classifications. The Noxubee County High School football team will get another chance to extend that streak at 7:30 tonight against Class 5A West Point High School. The Tigers (4-0) have swept Class 6A schools Starkville, Columbus, Jackson Murrah, and Greenville-Weston.
Coming off big wins last week, the Immanuel Christian and Victory Christian football teams will try to keep their momentum going tonight. Immanuel (1-3) will play host to Winona Christian, while Victory Christian (4-0) will play host to Victory Baptist. Both games will start at 7 p.m. Immanuel coach Shawn Gates, who earned his first career victory as a head coach last week, said everybody on the team, including the coaches, has been doing their part to try to help the team continue its winning ways.
Bobby Berry and Brad Butler had nights they would like to forget last Friday. The Philadelphia High School football team broke out to a 48-0 halftime lead en route to a 48-16 victory against West Lowndes, while the Lamar School used its passing attack to torch Heritage Academy 49-12. Both coaches will try to get their programs back on track tonight. The West Lowndes Panthers (3-1) will play host to Wheeler at 7:30, while the Heritage Academy Patriots travels to Madison Ridgeland Academy (7).
The New Hope High School football team will get back to work tonight against an opponent that is sure to get it primed for the start of district play. The Trojans (2-0) return from a bye week at 7:30 tonight looking to extend a winning streak when they take on county rival Caledonia (0-3). New Hope has won the past four meetings in the series. Caledonia’s 14-10 victory in 2004 is the program’s only victory in the series, dating back to 1995.
SULLIGENT, Ala. — Jimmy Lann delivered his best effort on one of the best nights to be a Lamar County Bulldog. The senior had a sack that led to a touchdown and two more key defensive plays in the final five minutes Friday night to help Lamar County defeat Sulligent 21-20 in a Class 2A, Region 7 matchup at Brown Stadium. The victory was the first for the Bulldogs (4-0) against the Blue Devils (2-2) since a 45-20 victory in 2005. It also marks the program’s best start in more than 15 years.
3. Heritage Academy softball will try to take next step HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Mixed reaction to decision to move MHSAA football title games HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS