WEST POINT -- The tallest building starts with a strong foundation. As much as any championship program relies on skill position players to deliver highlight-reel performances, the blue collar work in the trenches often goes overlooked. That's not the case with the West Point High School football team.
Faced with the prospect of stopping Brookhaven on a fourth-and-1 to start the fourth quarter, the Green Wave instead re-took possession after a punt and did what they do best: Play West Point football.
akenderic Thomas' 12-yard run in the first quarter was far from the biggest gainer of the evening, but it showed West Point wasn't going to be denied its seventh state title in program history. Led by 165 rushing yards by Thomas and 138 more by senior quarterback Justin Cox, West Point rolled to a 21-3 victory against Brookhaven in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
There were plenty of things -- two fumbles, an interception, dropped passes -- that didn't go Aberdeen's way Saturday through three quarters of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A title game against Forest.
Greg Carter wanted to see his Starkville Yellow Jackets take a step forward in developing their offensive game against rival Columbus High.
Turnovers and missed opportunities typically spell the difference in games as evenly matched as these, and that's how the story played out at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Forest capitalized on two lost fumbles by Aberdeen in the first half, turning one into a touchdown, and then delivered a key defensive stand in the fourth quarter to preserve a 10-8 victory in the Class 3A championship.
Neither lengthy bus rides, injuries, nor weighty expectations prevented the West Point High School football team from making its appointed rounds this season. At 7 p.m. Saturday, the Green Wave hope to complete the journey to the ultimate prize: A state championship.
It's all about respect for the Aberdeen High School football team. Last year, many in the state thought the Bulldogs were good enough to get to Jackson to play for a state title.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association reclassification for football and basketball in 2011-13 has left area teams largely in place -- with two major exceptions. Starkville High School will move from Class 6A, Region 1 to Class 5A, Region 2 and West Lowndes will move from Class 2A, Region 2 to Class 1A, Region 3.
For every explosive run from midfield, there has to be someone to cover the empty spaces. One lane left open or one man left unmarked could turn into a defensive nightmare and a goal for the opposition. To play fluid, attacking soccer, a team must have a strong midfield.
Yvette Hairston wants the Columbus High School girls' basketball team to be mentioned in the same breath with the state's best.
The basketball teams of Columbus High School and Starkville High will face each other for the first of their two final games as district opponents tonight at The Beehive.
JACKSON -- Losing a 20-point halftime lead can destroy a season. Justin Cox helped make sure that didn't happen to the West Point High School football team. Flying high with a 20-0 lead against rival Starkville High, the Green Wave hurt themselves with mistakes and eventually suffered a 21-20 home loss.
JACKSON -- Fred Ward knew he had to intervene. He watched last week as Channing Ward stalked off the field and then got into a heated exchange with Aberdeen High School football coach Chris Duncan during their game against Winona in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A North State championship.
Listed at 6-foot, 210 pounds, Stance Henderson isn't one of the biggest players in Clinton this week preparing for the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools All-Star game. But All-Stars are more than just statistics and numbers on a page.
PHEBA -- Numbers say a lot about Chloe Tapley. Five no-hitters, three one-hitters, 293 strikeouts. Those eye-popping achievements were part of a dominating season that helped Tapley and the Hebron Christian fast-pitch softball team finish as third in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A tournament.
South Lamar High School boys and girls basketball coach Tony Seals got a surprise earlier this year when the Alabama High School Athletics Association realigned the state's athletic boundaries. Seals' teams picked up a new district opponent when Pickens County dropped from Class 2A into Class 1A, South Lamar's classification.
As Victory Hodges and the Aberdeen High School football team had more success with each game, he discovered the spring in his step had a little less bounce.
There is always something you can improve on. The West Point High School football coaches drive that point home to their players every day.
WEST POINT -- Some players fit a system perfectly. Every since Lakenderic Thomas can remember, he has been a bruising running back who prefers to run through defenders than to run around them. Nowhere in the state is that quality cherished more than at West Point High School.
1. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Ole Miss gearing up for improved LSU COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope softball escapes quicksand at Warren Central HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS