STARKVILLE -- The doubt is gone. Mallory Eubanks wondered how she would fit in when she participated in the United States Under-20 National Team Camp in January in Sanford, Florida. As a newcomer, Eubanks was one of 28 players (18 college soccer) vying for the attention of head coach Michelle French and the rest of USA Soccer.
MACON -- Qendarrion Barnett's laugh -- a quick "Heh-heh" -- gets you thinking. A few minutes later, as you watch the Noxubee County High school senior stroke his burgeoning goatee, a smile comes across your face and you see why the nickname fits him so well. No, not the moniker "June bug" that was given to Barnett by his mother, Lakeisha Hunt, and probably is more recognizable. The one you're thinking of is "old man," which is the one members of the Noxubee County High football team are more apt to use around one of the veterans of the reigning 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state champions.
STARKVILLE -- A.J. Brown is on the cusp of starting his senior year in football. But the multi-sport standout had business to take care on the diamond before he and his football teammates hit the field Friday night. The Starkville High School wide receiver and center fielder played in the Under Armour All-America baseball game Saturday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He also will play in the Under Armour All-America football game in January, becoming just the second player to play in both games.
STARKVILLE -- Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond enter their senior years at Mississippi State as two of the football team's most experienced players. The cornerbacks have been on the field at the same time for the past two seasons and have developed a chemistry that has solidified the back of MSU's defense.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State supporters can meet the school's 2015 football, soccer, and volleyball teams Saturday at the annual Fan Day celebration at the Palmeiro Center. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Autograph availability will run from 2-4 p.m. Fans are asked to enter through the southeast entrance of the Palmeiro Center. The football, soccer, and volleyball teams will arrive at 2 p.m.
The New Hope Jamboree again proved a huge success Friday and Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium. One can't read too much into the results on the field. Only one half of varsity ball was played. A lot of coaches experimented with new players in new positions. When the games count for real, you will see different mind-sets and philosophies from just about everyone. However, with any type of physical activity, some observations can be made.
Sherri Coale has been around basketball long enough to know how to spot a future coach. The Oklahoma women's basketball coach said it doesn't matter whether a player is a point guard, forward, or center. She said the key to spotting a player who looks like she will have an ability become a coach is finding an individual who can convey what they know about the game to their peers. Coale didn't have to watch Dionnah Jackson long to figure out she had a future coach in the making.
April Reese and Abigail Wise knew they were going to have to step into bigger roles this year on the Starkville High School volleyball team. Coming off the program's best season in history and losing several key performers, including seniors Khris Carr and Vicky Vo, Reese and Wise realize they are going to have to make their presence known at the net if Starkville is going to return to the playoffs and build on its first playoff victories and a trip to the Class III North State title match.
The significance didn't hit DJ Sanders until she heard the national anthem. Up until that point, Sanders enjoyed her opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world as a member of the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team, but the enormity of the moment didn't sink in until "The Star Spangled Banner" started to play. That's when the fact that she had just won a gold medal representing her country hit her.
STARKVILLE -- When Gus Walley arrived at Mississippi State, wide receiver looked like the position for him. The junior played wideout at Green County High School in Richton and was recruited as that position. He capped his prep career by catching 43 passes for 566 yards and three touchdowns as a senior.
STARKVILLE -- Ben Howland continues to bring in some of the best recruits in the nation. The first-year Mississippi State men's basketball coach added another big-time guard to his 2016 recruiting class Monday when four-star prospect Eli Wright committed to MSU.
SCOOBA -- D.J. Law didn't grasp the concept of perfection when he arrived at East Mississippi Community College. Now he understands. "It's all about perfection," said Law, a sophomore running back and a native of Haines City, Florida. "We may stop a drill at noon and come back at 9:30 that night and do the same thing. We do everything in this program the right way. We will do something over and over and over until we find perfection. Great is not good enough. It's perfection."
STARKVILLE -- Chris Jones burst onto the college football scene as a freshman in 2013. The Mississippi State defensive lineman had 32 tackles (seven for loss) and three sacks to earn freshman All-America honors. That performance suggested Jones could have an even better season in 2014. But the Houston native's statistics in his sophomore season -- 26 tackles (3.5 for loss) and three sacks -- didn't match the numbers he posted as a freshman, but his name was mentioned as often as it was in his first year.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- D.J. Sanders has accomplished a lot in her athletic career. Now the former New Hope High School standout has a gold medal to add to her collection of awards and hardware. On Saturday, Sanders went 1-for-4 in the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team's 8-1 victory against Japan in the Gold Medal Game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women's World Championship.
STARKVILLE -- The New Hope High School football team found its offensive rhythm late Friday night in the New Hope Jamboree. New Hope scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 38 seconds to rally past Amory 14-10 in the opening game of the two-day, seven-game event at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium. Each game included the varsity squads playing a regulation half and junior varsity squads playing a 20-minute half with a running clock.
STARKVILLE -- West Point High School sophomore Marcus Murphy admitted he was a little nervous before making his first start at quarterback Saturday night. The offensive line then did its job, Murphy found the end zone, and the nerves went away. Murphy rushed for two touchdowns and finished with 160 rushing yards as West Point rallied past Kosciusko 21-14 at the New Hope Jamboree at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium.
Eric Spann felt pretty good Saturday afternoon. The Aberdeen High School first-year head football coach had just experienced a series of emotions in his debut with the Bulldogs. Aberdeen played well offensively, even though a couple of turnovers stopped critical drives. On defense, Aberdeen excelled with a pair of goal-line stands in the final quarter with the game on the line. In the end, it was still a tie.
STARKVILLE -- New Hope's High School preseason football jamboree has become one of the best in the state of Mississippi. The Trojans played host to the event for the sixth year in a row Friday and Saturday, and for the fifth time it was at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium. New Hope second-year coach Kris Pickle heard good things about the jamboree when he took over the program prior to last season, and this year's 14-team event might have been the best.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was pleased with what he saw from his team Thursday night. Two weeks into fall camp, the Bulldogs had their first scrimmage three nights ago at Davis Wade Stadium. Many of the older players saw few repetitions, including senior quarterback Dak Prescott.
Jimmy Simmons can add the Possum Town Triathlon to the top of his personal list of competitive performances. Simmons, a Columbus native who resides in Atlanta, won the fourth-annual race Saturday with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 22 seconds. Simmons made the top 15 last year and said he improved his time and splits from last year's race.
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