STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State basketball program has had another preseason blow due to injury at the guard position. After sophomore point guard Twany Beckham was lost for the season because of hip surgery in August, it was confirmed by MSU team spokesman Gregg Ellis last week that junior guard Riley Benock will miss up to six weeks following a procedure to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle. Benock, who averaged 2.3 points and 11.4 minutes per game last season, may be recovered enough in time to join the Bulldogs for practice by late October.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State receiver Leon Berry knows he and his teammates need to have short memories. With another road game coming up for Mississippi State on Saturday at Vanderbilt, Berry said the Bulldogs need to put a 49-24 loss to Auburn behind them quickly. “We have to forget about this,” Berry said. “We have to get a win (at Vanderbilt).”
STARKVILLE — Black, blue, and green. If West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless had his way, he would rely on a handful of plays and his offensive line and pound away on opponents. When you have a stable of running backs and a shifty quarterback, it’s easy to keep the ball on the ground. On Friday night, West Point used a bruising first-half effort and rolled up 269 yards rushing en route to a 33-13 victory against Starkville.
CALEDONIA — The Nettleton High School football team approached its game Friday against Caledonia with a game plan. Coach Jack Clark knew coming in that the Tigers to wear out the Confederates up front before they could run the football. He said he drilled his team harder on being physical to help his players move the Confederates up front. The strategy paid off in the third quarter as the Tigers shut down the Confederates’ momentum en route to a 29-7 victory.
WEST POINT — The Oak Hill Academy football team held its own against Leake Academy on Friday night, trailing by 12 points at halftime. But the Rebels exploded in the third quarter to quell any thoughts of a Raider comeback and went on to a 38-7 victory. “We came out and played with a sense of urgency,” said Leake Academy coach Billy Pickens, who felt his team was satisfied with a two-touchdown lead. “That’s what we talked about at halftime, coming out with urgency and the impact play.”
MERIDIAN — Heritage Academy first-year football coach Brad Butler walked up to a fan after Friday night’s game against the Lamar School and said, “Mama said there were going to be days like this.” Friday night was a day Butler would just as soon forget, as the Patriots suffered a 49-12 thrashing at the hands of top-ranked Lamar School at Grey Cobb Field. Senior quarterback Witt Haggard and wide receiver Bo Bidgood combined for four touchdown passes to hand the Patriots their first loss in four games this season.
AMORY — There’s nothing like a blowout against a traditional county rival to silence the boo birds. That was the case here Friday as the Class 3A Aberdeen Bulldogs rolled to an impressive 36-3 victory against the Class 4A Amory Panthers. Coming off a 10-3 finish a year ago and ranked No. 3 in The Clarion-Ledger Class 3A preseason poll, Bulldog fans had visions of an unbeaten season and the school’s first state championship.
If the Philadelphia High School football team keeps this up, it might have to change its mascot. The Tornadoes came to Lowndes County for a battle of undefeated teams, but it felt more like a Category-5 hurricane hit the area after they took a 48-0 halftime lead en route to a 48-16 victory against West Lowndes. It took Philadelphia (4-0) 18 seconds to find the end zone, as junior Tyriq Patrick returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to give the Tornadoes a 7-0 lead.
The New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team remains a work in progress. But if the Lady Trojans play defense like they did Saturday afternoon, they just might get another opportunity to play for another state title. Even with only three players getting more than one hit on the day, New Hope still earned 1-0 and 5-2 victories against Quitman in a doubleheader at Lady Trojan Field.
AUBURN, Ala. — One loss shouldn’t keep Mississippi State from reaching its goal, according to senior running back Anthony Dixon. Dixon, who returned from a one-game suspension, to lead the Bulldogs with 92 yards on 20 carries, still has hopes for this season despite a 49-24 loss to Auburn University on Saturday night. “We are still trying to get to the Southeastern Conference championship game this year,” Dixon said. “Today didn’t change that. We are going to come up with a new plan for next week.”
AUBURN, Ala. — It didn’t matter whether it was on the ground or in the air. Mississippi State had no answer for the Auburn University offense Saturday night. After only allowing 194 yards to Jackson State in the season opener, the Bulldogs gave up 589 yards to Auburn in a 49-24 loss in front of 85,269 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. MSU coach Dan Mullen was bothered by an effort that resulted in the Tigers getting 199 yards passing and 390 rushing.
ABERDEEN — With go-to player Jameika Hoskins slowed by a knee injury, senior Sommer Burnett picked up the slack and led the host Aberdeen High School volleyball team to a 3-1 win against Caledonia here Thursday evening. Burnett, who also is the sister of Aberdeen High coach Marquis Burnett, turned in an outstanding performance in a matchup of unbeaten (4-0) division rivals.
STEENS — There are no timeouts in soccer. The fluidity in the action forces coaches to rely on players to adjust tactics and styles of play in the flow of a match. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t hurt to receive a little assistance. Mother Nature provided just the respite the Heritage Academy girls soccer team needed Thursday night. A stoppage of play due to lightning in the area late in the first half gave the Lady Patriots a chance to regroup.
MACON — The defense doesn’t rest at Noxubee County High School. After losing seven starters to graduation from a unit that played a key role in a run to the Class 4A state title, the Tigers’ 2009 defense is out to show it can build a resume that is even more impressive. Noxubee County (3-0) is coming off a 28-0 shutout against Murrah last week. The shutout was the Tigers’ second this season. They will try for No. 3 at 7:30 tonight when they to Greenville Weston.
MACON — Ronnie Sciple didn’t plan on having a week off this early in the season. But after a less than scintillating performance in a season-opening victory against Immanuel Christian, Sciple found plenty for his Central Academy football team to do last week in an off week. The Vikings will try to implement what they worked on in that off week at 7 tonight when they play host to The Veritas School.
After soaring to victory the first three games of the season, the Victory Christian Eagles anticipate their first challenge of the season tonight (7) when they travel to Gardendale, Ala., to play Tabernacle Christian Victory Christian coach Chris Hamm expects Tabernacle Christian to be the Eagles’ first test of the season after beating Flint Hill Christian (57-16), Central Christian Academy (62-6), and New Life Christian (69-16). “I expect it to be a tough game,” Hamm said. “That’s always a tough place to play. I know they beat Tuscaloosa Christian the first week of the season, and Tuscaloosa has a pretty good team this year. “We need a tough game. We’re going to see what we’re made of this week. We’ve won some games already, but we’ve played young and inexperienced teams, so we look forward to the challenge.”
Bobby Berry hopes to make it two in a row this week. A week ago, the West Lowndes High School football team went on the road and defeated Class 4A Caledonia. The Class 2A Panthers improved to 3-0 with the victory and set the stage for this week’s game against Class 3A Philadelphia (3-0). And while Berry credits Boykin and the Confederates, he believes tonight’s (7:30) home game should be a bigger test against another higher classification opponent.
Brad Butler and Mac Barnes agree on one thing: Their teams will face their toughest tests of the season tonight. The coaches are eager to find out which team’s strength will win out tonight (7) when Heritage Academy (3-0) goes on the road to take on The Lamar School (3-0). The size and the experience of the Patriots’ line play figures to be a strength Butler’s team will try to exploit against an opponent that has only one player who weighs more than 200 pounds on its defensive line and one two who tip the scales at more than 200 pounds on the offensive line.
The matchup between the Starkville and West Point High School football teams pits friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and brother against brother. That will be the case at 7:30 tonight when Starkville offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Rob Morgan and West Point wide receiver coach Brett Morgan stand on opposite sidelines. Brett, who has been on the Green Wave staff since January, anticipates a fun night and hopes to enjoy it more than his big brother.
Neil Macdonald knows there aren’t any guarantees in soccer. But Macdonald has seen plenty of positives and improvement in the first two weekends of the season to believe his Mississippi State women’s soccer team can maintain its success. The Lady Bulldogs (4-0) will try to continue their winning streak at 7 tonight when they play host to Troy University in their home opener at the MSU Soccer Field MSU will close the weekend with a 1 p.m. match Sunday against East Tennessee State.
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