HAMILTON — While the Hamilton High School slow-pitch softball team was gleefully chanting “Going to the ’ship, going to the ’ship” after its impressive sweep Thursday in the Class 2A North State, championship series, Baldwyn softball coach Jessica Taylor and her Lady Bearcats couldn’t help but wonder why the Lady Lions have proven to be such a formidable roadblock in their quest to reach the state championship series in Jackson. Hamilton took the series with 12-3 and 12-1 victories.
STARKVILLE — No one can convince Starkville High School senior linebacker Craig Armstead the offseason doesn’t make a difference. It wasn’t always that way. Starkville High’s coaches pushed Armstead to get better, but he wasn’t always open to their suggestions. Frustrated he wasn’t getting the playing time he wanted, Armstead decided to do something about it. He dedicated himself to football in January and he has become the strong arm of the Starkville High defense.
ABERDEEN — All Aaron Andrews hears now is applause. It wasn’t always that way for the Aberdeen High School senior quarterback. After suffering an ankle injury in the Bulldogs’ season-opening loss to Columbus High, Andrews jumped right back into the fray against Pontotoc in week three of the season. A 21-14 loss to Class 4A Pontotoc didn’t sit well with the people of Aberdeen, who had dreamed in the preseason of a possible undefeated run and a march to a Class 3A state title.
Greg Watkins isn’t going to hide the truth from his players. Instead, the Hebron Christian football coach has been upfront with the Eagles and told them they have to beat Immanuel Christian at 7:30 tonight in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools A District 3 game if they want to make the playoffs. The Eagles’ job still wouldn’t be done if they accomplish that goal. Hebron Christian (2-5, 0-1) then would have to beat Winona Christian, which is 2-0 in the district, to force a possible three-way tie atop the district with Central Holmes.
STARKVILLE — The football programs at Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State have had their share of adversity. MSU coach Dan Mullen suspended sophomore quarterback Chris Relf for last Saturday’s game against Houston due to an unspecified violation of team policy. As of Thursday, Relf’s availability for the teams’ game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (ESPNU) in Murfreesboro, Tenn., remained uncertain.
C.J. Foster is delivering on his promise. Months before the start of his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, Foster said he knew it wasn’t “play time anymore,” and that he was focused on making an impact at linebacker. Foster went on to say he was going to “clock in and clock out” and go to work every day to help the Indians have a successful season. Even though ICC (2-5) has struggled to put everything together this year, Foster has been a stalwart on defense. The former West Point High School standout is fourth on the team with 39 total tackles and second on the team with six tackles for loss.
STARKVILLE — It’s time for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to face its expectations. The anticipation for the 2009-10 season has been building at Mississippi State since March when the Lady Bulldogs ended a 23-10 season with a loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament appearance was the program’s first since the 2002-03 season, and its 23 victories were the third most in a season.
Alvin Ellis was accustomed to running over and past defenders in high school. While he spent some time playing free safety, Ellis spent the most of his career at Columbus High School as a running back who used his speed to give opponents fits.
The New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team has picked the right time of the season to break out the big bats. Now the Lady Trojans have to find a way to keep it going for two more series.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury will return to his comfort zone Friday. Stansbury, who will begin his 12th season with the Bulldogs, has the most fun when the players and coaches get together for the start of practice.
Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill likes what his team has accomplished. Although Stockstill was disappointed MTSU didn’t play better in a 31-7 loss at Troy on Oct. 6, he likes to brag about the Blue Raiders’ 3-2 record.
The Lamar County Bulldogs can do their part at 7 p.m. Friday to set up a showdown for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Region 7 championship when they play host to the Oakman Wildcats.
The season isn’t over for the Heritage Academy football team. A five-game losing streak has erased a lot of the optimism from the Patriots’ 3-0 start, but coach Brad Butler doesn’t want his players to pack up the gear just yet.
LOUISVILLE — Even before the season kicked off, Louisville High School head football coach Brad Peterson said his team was looking for its identity, especially on defense. Now, nine weeks into the season, the 6-2 Wildcats may finally be finding themselves. “We knew we were gong to have a young defense,” Peterson said. “We only had three true starters coming back and a lot of those guys back there are so young.”
STARKVILLE -- Jamie Jones knows how difficult a matchup sophomore tight end Marcus Green can be for opposing teams. As a sophomore linebacker at Mississippi State, it’s often Jones’ responsibility in practice to keep an eye on what Green is doing. Green’s ability to block and go out for a pass keeps Jones and the rest of the Bulldogs on their toes.
STARKVILLE -- Radka Ferancova was happy to learn that Mississippi State was bringing women’s tennis coach Daryl Greenan back to the Golden Triangle. Ferancova believes Greenan has the experience necessary to lead the Lady Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference and looks forward to playing for him as a senior. Greenan, who got his first head coaching job at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, was an assistant at the University of Alabama for three years (2002-04).
For the past six years, the East Mississippi Community College men’s soccer program has gotten contributions from a trio of Chisolm brothers. First there was Matt from 2004-05 and he was followed by Todd from 2006-07. The latest of the Chisolms, who are from Caledonia, to contribute is Taylor, who is a freshman forward on this year’s squad.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn’t going to play a freshman until he’s ready. Bulldogs like safety Johnthan Banks, of East Webster High School in Maben, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox have been good enough to play, and in Banks’ case, start this season. Quarterback Tyler Russell isn’t ready.
STARKVILLE — Jaquez Johnson knew the Starkville High School football team’s first four games this season were going to be a challenge. Johnson never imagined, though, that he and the Yellow Jackets would be as frustrated as they were after losses to Noxubee County, Louisville, Meridian, and West Point.
STARKVILLE — It appears Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne will get what he wanted this week for men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
1. Defense delivers dominating effort for MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Starkville rolls past Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Defense answers call for Noxubee County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Hughes returns for Bulldogs in style COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope takes advantage of uninspired Aberdeen HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS