The bull’s eye on the back of the East Mississippi Community College football team grew even bigger Tuesday. Coming off season-opening victories against Copiah-Lincoln and Jones County, EMCC (2-0) moved up four places to No. 2 in the latest NJCAA/JC Football.com regular-season poll. The ranking is the program’s highest in National Junior College Athletic Association football in school history. EMCC, which plays host to Holmes C.C. (0-2) at 7 Thursday night at Sullivan-Windham Field, moved up in the poll after the first four teams lost.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s football program can be thankful for a high school field trip. Otherwise, Mississippi State might not have been able to sign quarterback Chris Relf. Relf grew up in Montgomery, Ala., a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He grew up 45 minutes away from Auburn, but the Tigers never recruited Relf.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State football team went back to business on Labor Day. Following a 45-7 victory against the Jackson State on Saturday, the Bulldogs practiced for one hour Monday morning. Even though it was considered a light day, practicing only in helmets, the Bulldogs addressed several areas.
STARKVILLE -- There were times all Mississippi State freshman wide receiver Chad Bumphis could do in preseason practice was jog. With a sprained foot, Bumphis wasn’t able to go full speed. But Bumphis was healthy and ready to go for the Bulldogs on Saturday. He showed Mississippi State coaches and fans what could be in store for the future with a pair of touchdown receptions in a 45-7 victory against Jackson State.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen likes the dimension sophomore quarterback Chris Relf’s running ability gives the spread offense. That’s why Mullen had no problem calling a running play for Relf at a critical moment of the first half of Saturday’s game against Jackson State.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State played Jackson State without senior running back Anthony Dixon on Saturday. Dixon served a one-game suspension as part of discipline for his arrest on a driving under the influence charge in July. He pled guilty in August to avoid a court date.
WEST POINT — The West Point High School football team had two weeks to think about letting its opening-week game against Shannon slip away in the final minute. The Green Wave had a bye in week two, used the time to correct their mistakes, and went out Friday and got back on track with a 24-6 victory against Columbus.
Zak Thrasher looks different. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Thrasher appears physically to be the same quarterback who helped lead the New Hope High School football team to the third round of the Class 4A North Half state playoffs.
Heritage Academy football coach Brad Butler trusts senior quarterback Will Swedenburg. That trust was rewarded Friday night as Swedenburg ran an efficient offense and rushed for two touchdowns in the second quarter in a 46-23 victory against Starkville Academy at C.L. Mitchell Field.
CALEDONIA — The West Lowndes High School football team capitalized on three first-half turnovers to build a big halftime lead en route to a 34-9 victory Friday night.
STARKVILLE — It was not the prototypical game for the defending state champion Meridian Wildcats, but they’ll take a victory anytime they can get one. Despite 11 penalties and four turnovers, the Wildcats did enough to defeat the Starkville Yellow Jackets 27-10 on Friday night.
When the lights went up Friday, Landon Ellis never expected he would double his personal touchdown record. But Ellis did just that as he scored six touchdowns to lead the Victory Christian football team to a 69-16 victory against New Life Academy.
WEST POINT — Any thoughts the Oak Hill Academy football team might have had about exploiting the one team they beat last year disappeared in the first 10 minutes of Friday night. The Indianola Academy Colonels used a blocked punt by Dalton Deloach in the Raiders’ end zone as a spark and went on to a 28-6 victory.
PHEBA — The homestanding Hebron Christian Eagles picked up their first win of the season Friday night with a 35-30 victory against the West Memphis Black Knights.
QUITMAN — All eyes were on Markese Triplett on Friday night. Many believed the Louisville High School senior wide receiver would be the playmaker to watch against Quitman High. Perhaps a couple of those eyes should have been watching speedy Quitman junior wideout Dyar Ealie.
Volleyball is a lot more than a recreational sport to Lauren Love and Shay Ashford. But it takes time to change the culture at schools that don’t have the tradition in sports like volleyball, which is still relatively new in the state of Mississippi. That challenge doesn’t faze Lauren Love or Shay Ashford. The first-year coaches both have played sports in college and now are focused on bringing their love for volleyball to Starkville and Columbus high schools.
Meridian High School coach Larry Weems believes he could use the services of quarterback Tyler Russell and wide receiver Chris Smith in Starkville tonight. Although that’s not possible, that’s how much respect Weems has for the Yellow Jackets. Russell and Smith, two Mississippi State freshmen, told Weems they would be available if needed at 7:30 tonight when Meridian plays Starkville. MSU plays host to Jackson State on Saturday.
Rivalry games always are intense. But as much as Heritage Academy football coach Brad Butler is looking forward to tonight’s matchup (7) against Starkville Academy, he is more excited that the game will be the Class AAA, District 1 opener for both teams. To Butler, that fact is crucial for the Patriots (2-0), who will try to build on the momentum they earned last week in a come-from-behind 13-12 victory at Winston County.
Coaches can prepare for spread offenses or dart-quick running backs. They also can devise schemes to frustrate even the strongest pass rush. But New Hope High School football coach Michael Bradley discovered another opponent this week that is even tougher: Sickness. The Trojans (1-0) had 24 players miss practice at some point this week as they prepared to take on Amory (0-2) at 7:30 tonight. The flu bug that is affecting the state played a role in more than 100 students being absent Thursday from New Hope High.
David Boykin admits his football team doesn’t have anything to gain tonight. If the Class 4A Caledonia High School Confederates beat the Class 2A West Lowndes Panthers, no one will raise an eyebrow because it is what is expected. But if the Panthers travel to Caledonia and earn the victory, people will be surprised. Boykin hopes his players will be ready to prevent that from happening.
1. New Hope's Taylor excited about chance to play at Gulf Coast C.C. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. New Hope looks to bounce back from first loss HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU women's golf cruises to victory at Old Waverly COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Noxubee County can clinch region title against Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS