FULTON — The East Mississippi Community College football team has nothing to hide concerning eligibility issues surrounding punt returner and backup wide receiver British Footman. As far as the Lions are concerned, questions about Footman never were an issue. “Not for us,” EMCC coach Buddy Stephens said. “We understood the rules, and if there ever was a question, I promise you we would never risk a season to play one kid.” Footman played Saturday for the Lions in a 28-6 victory against Itawamba C.C.
JACKSON — The question whispered Saturday morning at the V.A. Fields was a good one. Could a Hamilton High School slow-pitch softball team that used so many home runs to get to the state title series generate enough offense on a field with a fence 300 feet away? Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest wondered the same thing as his team warmed up to face Enterprise.
JACKSON — Tabitha Beard was concerned. After watching her New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team blitz Brookhaven 10-0 in game one of its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title series, Beard and the Lady Trojans had to wait 50 minutes before the start of game two. Beard grew a little more anxious as she watched New Hope struggle at the plate and fall behind by three runs midway through the second game. While Beard’s concern was justified, it proved to be unnecessary.
Louisiana Tech University announced the addition of former Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Richard Williams to its men’s basketball staff. Williams will be the director of basketball administration and program coordinator on a volunteer basis at Louisiana Tech. He served as the director of basketball operations at UAB in 2008. During his tenure (1986-98) at MSU, Williams helped coach the Bulldogs to the NCAA Final Four in 1996 and he was chosen Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year twice. Williams is the second-winningest coach in MSU history with a mark of 191-163.
ABERDEEN — The dreams come a little slower to Don Loftis these days. The landscape around town has changed some, too, but the memories remain. It’s easy to recall many of them when Loftis thinks about former Aberdeen High School football coach Thomas Pierce’s name affixed to the wall of the football team’s dressing room/weight room.
One week isn’t enough to satisfy Michael Bradley. Yes, the New Hope High School coach was pleased that the Trojans blocked better Saturday in a 32-21 Class 5A Region 1 victory at Lake Cormorant. Bradley also enjoyed watching his team overcome less than ideal playing conditions to execute a game plan that helped the Trojans improve to 5-1 and 2-1 in the region. But Bradley has been fond of saying this year that “no win is more important than another.”
Bubba Davis knows the time is coming. Unfortunately, the Columbus High School football coach can’t give his players and all of the school’s fans the exact date. The “date” in this instance is when the Columbus High football program will reverse its fortunes. The Falcons’ losing streak stretched to six last week with a 53-7 loss to South Panola. The loss generated a little more negativity on Internet chat rooms from people who don’t think the Columbus High football program is on the right track.
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.
1. Collins leaves MSU to take same position at Florida COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Nicholson takes over for Terrill at Starkville Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. McKinney leads MSU's All-America honorees COLLEGE SPORTS