REFORM, Ala. -- Pickens County High School football coach Patrick Plott hopes he is home for good. In his first season in his second stint as coach of the PCHS football team, Plott led the Tornadoes to an 11-2 record and a second-place finish in Class 1A, Region 4. The season ended with a 38-36 loss at defending state champion Sweet Water in the third round of the playoffs.
REFORM, Ala. -- Time away from the sport taught Pickens County High School senior running back De'Marko Hall how much the game of football means to him. After missing his ninth and 10th grade years due to discipline issues, Hall returned to the field with a vengeance. This season, Hall ran for more than 1,400 yards, topped 1,200 yards receiving, and scored 43 all-purpose touchdowns. The touchdown total was 15 better than the previous school record.
ALICEVILLE, Ala. -- Aliceville High School senior middle linebacker Terry Mayhew admits he once was "an angry person." Mayhew credits new Aliceville coach Charles Moody with being the influence that helped him channel his emotion and energy and mature into a fine young man.
STARKVILLE -- Tyler Russell is learning how to play with pain in preparation for the 2011 Music City Bowl. Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen confirmed Monday that Russell has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and is expected to play against Wake Forest at 5:40 p.m. Dec. 30 (ESPN) in Nashville, Tenn.
STARKVILLE -- A year ago, Wheeler Richardson found her voice as a leader of the Starkville High School volleyball team. Richardson also continued her do-everything role for the Lady Yellow Jackets, moving from setting to digging to hitting without missing a beat. But what Richardson did last season was easy compared to the responsibilities she had to juggle this season.
The New Hope High School girls basketball team will carry a lot of momentum into its Christmas holiday break. However, the Lady Trojans won't carry a winning streak with them. Behind a 30-point night from senior guard Tynesha Mickens, Noxubee County erased a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to earn a 48-44 victory Tuesday night and hand New Hope its first defeat of the season. In the nightcap, New Hope salvaged the split as the boys posted a 64-60 victory.
STARKVILLE -- Former West Lowndes High School basketball coach Herman Peters is excited about his new vocation. Peters assumed his duties as sports program coordinator for the city of Starkville Parks and Recreation Department earlier this month. He is pleased because of the unique opportunity this new job allows to embrace his passion of basketball.
OXFORD -- Despite an offer to remain at the University of Mississippi, associate head coach Gunter Brewer has decided to leave the school and to try to get a job as coach at another school.
STARKVILLE -- Despite strong objections by Mississippi State, the NCAA released the rationale for its suspension of forward Kristers Zeidaks for this season and 11 games next season. NCAA Eligibility Center ruled Nov. 3, Zeidaks, who is from Latvia, will be suspended for this season and 11 games next season for participating in a league that saw him play with and against professional players in his home country.
STARKVILLE -- Every Southeastern Conference baseball coach had the same question earlier this year when the NCAA tournament selection show ended: "Where's LSU?" LSU finished 36-20 (13-17 in the SEC) and 26th in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), but didn't receive an invitation in large part for failing to make the conference tournament.
OXFORD -- Hugh Freeze has spent his first weeks as the University of Mississippi's football coach playing catch-up, constantly on the road or on the phone trying to convince prospects to give the Rebels a chance. He said it has been encouraging experience. It also has been a humbling one.
STARKVILLE -- Ashley Brown has earned a reputation as a rebounder. In her second year with the program, the 5-foot-11 transfer from Jefferson College (Mo.) has shown a nose for the ball and a willingness to mix it up in the paint like no other member of the Mississippi State women's basketball team. When given a chance, Brown also can make an impact in the scoring column.
It's one thing to be poised when you have an experienced group of teammates behind you. A pitcher can relax a little be more and trust her teammates are going to make the plays behind her and get the team out of sticky situations. It's another thing to maintain a even keel when your team has lost three All-Area players.
Kiandria Patterson and Maggie Proffitt don't care how the Columbus High School girls basketball team beats you. The Lady Falcons can go outside-inside, or they can attack you inside and then kick the basketball back outside. The strategies may change game to game, but the Columbus High juniors likely will be the ones leading the charge. Patterson and Proffitt showed last weekend at the 15th annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic they and the Lady Falcons may have all of the pieces they will need to make a run at a state title.
After going without a field goal in the opening minutes Saturday night, the Columbus High School girls basketball team found its rhythm at the free-throw line. Eleven of the Lady Falcons' first 19 points came at the charity stripe before guard Kiandria Patterson took over to lead Columbus to a 64-38 victory against Lawrence County on Saturday on the second day of the 15th annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic.
MABEN -- One of the most difficult plays to complete in basketball is a three-point play when a team makes a free throw, misses a free throw, secures the rebounds, and scores on the putback. When the Aberdeen High School boys basketball team completed the rare feat three times in the first half Saturday night, New Hope had to feel it may not be its night.
The Starkville High School girls basketball team didn't have an answer for one of the best front-court players in the state of Mississippi on Saturday afternoon. Junior Jazmine Spears scored 24 points to lead New Albany to a 45-42 victory against Starkville on the second day of the Joe Horne Christmas Classic at Columbus High.
Softball has been a part of Lauren Holifield's life ever since she can remember. She watched her mother, Connie Sharpe, coach at Caledonia High School and play the sport. She also grew up seeing her sister, Tori Harris, play for New Hope High and imagined the day she would wear the black and gold and help the program build on its tradition.
Tabitha Beard has found the perfect phrase: As long as you're doing something you love, it never will get old. She smiles when asked if being coach of the New Hope High School softball program gets old, especially on the heels of the slow-pitch team's fifth consecutive state title in October. The title pushed the program's number of championships to 14.
HATTIESBURG -- Southern Mississippi coach Larry Eustachy would have preferred that Neil Watson cut the fast break short, milking some clock in the final minute of a tight game against in-state rival Mississippi. The precocious point guard had other ideas. Watson flipped a pass to Torye Pelham, who was streaking down the lane and finished with a powerful, one-handed jam that sealed Southern Miss' 86-82 victory against the University of Mississippi on Saturday night.
1. Starkville beats Callaway; Kemper County edges Noxubee County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Kemper County takes it to Noxubee County in second half HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Non-conference schedule has right mix for MSU women LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Caledonia rebounds from loss with big win HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Columbus sets new scoring standard for Montgomery era HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS