Greg Knox has plenty of weapons at Mississippi State. As the running backs coach, Knox has a reason to smile with three seniors and one sophomore at his position. “We’ve got good depth at running back,” Knox said. “Our talent is good there. We try to use all of those guys because they can do different things.” Knox, who was an assistant coach at Auburn University from 1999-2008, said production from the running backs will be key Saturday when MSU takes on Auburn at 6 p.m. (FOX Sports Net South) at Auburn.
STARKVILLE — Dan Mullen finds it interesting that the spread offense has caught on across the country. The Mississippi State football coach has watched as numerous high schools, colleges, and nearly every NFL team has adopted an offense he discovered when he was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 1999.
Like Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik sees room for improvement for his team from week one. Chizik doesn’t know if the Tigers are ready to enter a Southeastern Conference game yet, but he’s anxious to find out how they play against the Bulldogs.
Phillip Dimino and Brett Spencer are used to battling the stopwatch. While their East Mississippi Community College teammates face off against 300-pound linemen or blitzing linebackers, time is the toughest adversary for Dimino and Spencer. When you kick the football in college, one or two tenths of a second can be the difference between getting off a successful punt or converting a field goal or extra point.
Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph promises his players if they stay in the program he’ll find a place for them to play. Demarcus Brooks is a believer. Brooks, a 2004 graduate of West Lowndes High School, has found a home on the offensive line as a his senior at Mississippi College.
STARKVILLE — It doesn’t surprise Chuck Friend or Bracky Brett that Travis Macon went into coaching. While Friend and Brett were coaching at Starkville High School, they got to watch Macon mature as a football player.
Ken Adams isn’t going to allow the Lamar County High School football team to get overconfident. Adams wants his players to forget the team’s 2-0 start to the season and focus on each day leading up to the next game.
Landon Ellis was a little embarrassed. The Victory Christian junior was enjoying one of the best games of his career Friday night against New Life Academy, but he felt bad his teammates weren’t getting in on the fun. Ellis rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns, returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Parker Eaves to help the Eagles improve to 2-0. For his accomplishments, Ellis is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
MACON — Kylie Lockhart didn’t want to be late. She also didn’t want to give the Central Academy fast-pitch softball team an opportunity to send Tuesday’s game into extra innings. So the Starkville Academy center fielder took care of two problems at the same time. Lockhart’s running catch in right-center field to open the bottom of the seventh inning helped snuff out a potential rally and allowed Starkville Academy to hold on for a 4-3 victory in a non-district game.
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.
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5. West Point finds huge challenge in region opponent New Hope HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS