STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State’s secondary did a decent job against the pass last season. The unit ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference and 17th in the country in pass defense, only allowing 176.6 yards per game. The Bulldogs had a veteran presence in the secondary with the safety trio of Derek Pegues, Keith Fitzhugh and De’mon Glanton, and cornerback Jasper O’Quinn. The problem for MSU is they were all seniors last season. Senior cornerback Marcus Washington is MSU’s most experienced returning player in the secondary with 19 career starts. The rest of the unit has a grand total of two starts. Both of those belong to junior safety Zach Smith.
STARKVILLE — Dorey Gray thought she knew how to set a volleyball. The Mississippi State senior didn’t think she was perfect, by any means, but after seven or eight years she believed she was proficient as a setter. In less than a year, MSU first-year coach Jenny Hazelwood has introduced Gray to a new way of playing her position.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State sophomore offensive guard Quentin Saulsberry knows it will be important for the Bulldogs to establish a running game this season. Even though MSU is set to run a spread offense with coach Dan Mullen, Saulsberry said that doesn’t mean there will be more pass than run.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn’t releasing details on two key issues about his team as he enters his first game week. Mullen has chosen not to discuss what, if any, suspension he plans for senior running back Anthony Dixon.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State has looked into the possibility of playing in-state schools more often as its athletic department looks for ways to make trips closer to home and to save money. MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne said Monday the school is open to playing opponents in Mississippi as long as it fits what it’s trying to do competitively and financially and the game meets its scheduling philosophy.
ABERDEEN — Jamerson Love knew something needed to be done. The Aberdeen High School football team’s dream of a perfect season ended in week one at Columbus, but Love knew the season wasn’t over. Still, the senior running back realized the Bulldogs needed someone to provide a spark to help get the team rolling again.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State basketball team spokesman Gregg Ellis said Monday that All-Southeastern Conference forward Jarvis Varnado became ill during an individual workout and was taken to the hospital. Varnado first went to the Oktibbeha County Hospital for evaluation. He then was sent to the Northeast Mississippi Medical Center for further tests as a precautionary measure.
Mississippi has some of the best fishing waters anywhere in the South. If you ask most weekend anglers, they stick with the water areas close to home. The fact is an angler can plan a day trip and fish most any body of water Mississippi offers.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State defensive coordinator Carl Torbush believes the defensive line is the most improved part of his unit. The Bulldogs struggled in that area last season, especially when it came to stopping the run. MSU’s defense allowed opponents to rush for an average of 150.9 yards per game last year, which was 11th out of the 12 programs in the Southeastern Conference.
STEENS — Immanuel Christian football coach Shawn Gates said he noticed some positives in Friday night’s 36-22 loss to the Central Academy Vikings. The biggest positive, Gates said, is sophomore running back Michael Tate. “There was a lot of courage out of Michael Tate,” he said. “When he was hurt he stepped it up and went back in.” Tate, who scored one touchdown, was instrumental in setting up all three of the Rams’ scores.
MABEN — Timakis Bell had 66 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Demetrius Obriant added 16 yards with two touchdowns Friday night to help the East Webster High School football team defeat West Oktibbeha 40-0. East Webster’s defense sparked the victory. The Wolverines had four interceptions — two by Miguel Graham and one each by Obriant, and Ryan Johnson. Brennan Sparks and Obriant also helped East Webster recover two fumbles to give it excellent field position.
GREENWOOD –– The Oak Hill Academy Raiders rallied in the second half, but lost to Pillow Academy 48-21 on Friday night. Oak Hill Academy outscored Pillow Academy 21-7 in the second half after trailing 41-0 at halftime. Quarterback Davis Clayton got the Raiders (0-2) on the scoreboard in the third quarter when he scored on a 10-yard run. Jake Orman scored twice for the Raiders in the final quarter on runs of 12 and 15 yards.
REFORM, Ala. –– The Pickens County Tornadoes made a winner of Scott Marchant in his debut as head coach Friday night by doubling up Greensboro 48-24. The victory helped Pickens County atone for a 26-21 loss to Greensboro in its season opener last season. “It’s thrilling,” Marchant said of his getting his first win as a head coach. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way. I feel blessed. We’ve got a lot of good kids, a lot of good football players, and a great football staff helping me. I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
ABERDEEN — Valentine’s Day is still months away, but Ray Brooks’ defense left Lester Miley Stadium with ‘Love’ on their minds. Aberdeen senior running back Jamerson Love accumulated 316 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns Friday night in the Bulldogs’ 52-14 blowout. “I knew the team was depending on me, so I just put them on my back,” Love said. “I just try to practice hard and play hard. That’s the best game I have ever had since I’ve played at Aberdeen High School.” Love, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, picked up 238 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns. He caught a pair of passes for 78 yards and another score.
VERNON, Ala. — Lance Bobbitt, Carson Chiquito, and Marquis Plant are going to try to bring the mohawk back to Lamar County High School. The seniors didn’t have much luck in the preseason convincing their teammates the hairdo was the way to go. Things just might change after Friday night. Plant caught two touchdown passes from Michael Bradford, Bobbitt rushed for another score, and Chiquito played a key role up front to help the Lamar County football team defeat South Lamar 61-20 in the season opener for both teams at George Bell Stadium.
LOUISVILLE — It was a double dose of déja vu for the Winston Academy Patriots and their fans Friday night. When Heritage Academy backup fullback Stance Henderson broke three tackles and raced 54 yards for a game-winning touchdown with 3 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the game, Winston Academy fans had to think back to memories of Henderson’s father, Joey, who starred at running back for the school’s undefeated 1975 state championship team and also wore No. 5. Winston Academy’s 13-12 loss to Heritage Academy also was eerily similar to its last-minute meltdown last week against Leake Academy, when it dominated the first half but surrendered the lead late in the second half.
The final statistics Friday night indicated the West Lowndes High School football team’s game against East Oktibbeha was a close one. But the score, 26-0 in favor of the Panthers, told a different story. Subplot A was the four interceptions the Panthers made against quarterback Chris Hunter. Subplot B was the Titans’ ability to move the football between the 20s, racking up 173 total rushing yards to West Lowndes’ 159, before seeing their drives stall or end in turnovers.
STARKVILLE — Senior wide receiver Markese Triplett caught five passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Louisville High School football team to a 26-21 victory against the Starkville Yellow Jackets. The 6-foot-4 receiver and University of Southern Mississippi commitment had an 87-yard touchdown reception on the second play from scrimmage to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. He added a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter. “He’s just a playmaker,” Starkville coach Bill Lee said. “Louisville did a great job coaching tonight and getting the ball to the right guys.”
MACON — Noxubee County High School football coach M.C. Miller still has some offensive weapons to put on the field while quarterback/wide receiver/free safety Vincent Sanders recovers from a fractured jaw. Running backs Patreon Hopkins and Jontae Skinner each scored a touchdown Friday night to help the defending Class 4A state champions beat Columbus 23-12. The Tigers (2-0) prefer the passing game, but Miller has no problem going to the running game while sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson gets used to the system.
Football coaches drill the importance of the fourth-quarter effort into their teams. Many will pace the sidelines holding up four fingers and shouting “fourth quarter.” The last 12 minutes sometimes involves a team blowing a lead due to exhaustion or sloppy play or players emerging to make a big play. The latter happened Friday night for the New Hope High School football team in a 28-17 victory against Tupelo in the season opener for both teams.
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2. Myles fills needed role without Lewis COLLEGE SPORTS
3. New Hope's Taylor excited about chance to play at Gulf Coast C.C. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
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