STARKVILLE -- The football offseason brought nothing but good news for Starkville Academy. The Volunteers gained 10 more players and will open spring practice Monday with 37 players. The addition of former Columbus High head coach Bubba Davis bolstered the conditioning program and gives Starkville Academy an experienced and successful defensive coach.
STARKVILLE -- Harrison Warren went 4-5 as the No. 1 singles player on Starkville Academy's tennis team this season. Even though he made tremendous strides as a player and won more matches in a single season than he had before, he was shocked when Meridian Community College offered him a scholarship.
Austin Braddock wasn't perfect on the mound Thursday afternoon in the Heritage Academy baseball team's 9-1 win against Jackson Academy. The senior right-hander gave up hits to start his first few innings. Yet it's how Braddock handled his pitches after those hits that made his performance a memorable one for Patriots fans at Trip Carson Field. Three days after his baseball team lost 10-0 at Jackson Academy, he returned the favor at home, scattering seven hits in six innings to help Heritage Academy secure the top seed in Class AAA, Division II by winning the first game of a doubleheader.
Landon Boyd grew up at Trojan Field. Not only did the future New Hope High School baseball player learn the ins and outs of the sport watching his brothers Lee and Russ at the park, he also enjoyed countless rides on the "gator," or the mower coaches used to drag the infield before and after games. Peyton Lee gleaned the same tradition-rich habits watching former Trojans, including his brother, Davis, who was a senior on the 2010 New Hope High baseball team.
Brandi Brantley and Anna Holley have spent their high school careers immersed in tradition. Their senior softball season started the same way: with another state title. The New Hope High School slow-pitch team won its fourth championship in a row, and second in a row in Class 5A, in October, closing an illustrious chapter in their career.
STARKVILLE -- Meridian Community College women's basketball coach Hilary Allen describes his team's fast-paced playing tempo as "chaotic." He feels he added two ideal fits for that system Thursday when Starkville High School seniors Courtney Moore and Chelsey Johnson-Weaver signed with MCC.
STARKVILLE -- Experience and knowledge of the game won't be a problem for Starkville Academy's new softball coach Kayla Mosley. The former University of Mississippi outfielder was announced Wednesday as Starkville Academy's varsity softball coach and assistant girls basketball coach.
WEST POINT -- Two weeks before the West Point High School baseball team earned its first playoff berth in a decade, coach Buddy Wyers watched his team continue to make mental errors that threatened to transform another promising season into just another losing campaign.
HAMILTON -- Parker Rye has tried to gain weight. He really has. Rye increased his eating habits, including a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before bedtime. During the fall, he lifted weights with his father at the local wellness center. Still, his metabolism is winning this competition, keeping his 5-foot-5 frame around 140 pounds
Jeffrey Cook didn't think the idea was crazy. After all, Hunter Mullis had just delivered a performance beyond his wildest expectations to help keep the Columbus High School baseball team's season alive.
Now the real fun begins. Judging from its performance Monday, the New Hope High School baseball team appears ready to make some noise. Taylor Stafford and Kameron Bryan hit home runs to back the pitching of Dillon Hawkins in a 16-1 victory against Jackson Lanier in game two of the opening-round Class 5A North State playoff series at Trojan Field.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Chase Davidson is used to the silent treatment. The Pickens Academy senior typically likes to be to himself in the dugout when he pitches, and his teammates usually oblige by giving him a wide berth. Last week, the Pirates went out of their way to make Davidson feel alone. Davidson didn't notice, though, just like he didn't realize he was throwing a no-hitter against Southern Academy.
VICKSBURG -- The Columbus High School baseball team was two innings from an improbable comeback Saturday before Warren Central rallied for a 9-4 victory in the deciding game of its best-of-three Class 6A playoff series. Columbus (13-15), which lost game one 6-5 on Friday in Columbus, won game two 5-2 and led 2-1 in the fifth inning before Warren Central rallied. The Falcons cut the lead to 6-3 but had a runner called out at first base for interference that helped snuff out a potential rally.
First, the good news. The Columbus High School football team has ended the past two seasons within reach of the playoffs. Now, the not-so-good news.
STARKVILLE -- The memories of losing five of six games by a touchdown or less doesn't go away easily. Losing 23 seniors from a breakout season is another thing.
Michael Bradley has been coaching long enough to know the terms. Rebuilding. Reloading. Both words mean essentially the same thing, just with a different slant.
How do you want to be remembered? That's one of the many messages West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless is delivering in the offseason. His job title also makes him a de facto psychologist.
The Aberdeen High School football team needs a motto for the 2011 season. The motto will be utilized this summer as the Bulldogs prepare mentally for fall drills, and will continue through the fall.
STARKVILLE -- Disappointment is an obvious way to describe Starkville High School's baseball season. But a closer look from outside observers -- a view players and coaches are trying to accept -- reveals a team on the cusp of a winning record, a playoff spot, and, quite possibly, a successful playoff run.
There was a time when Caleb Westmoreland's game would have blown away in conditions like the ones players faced Tuesday at Columbus Country Club. A double bogey on No. 8 and another on No. 9 had the Heritage Academy senior golfer at 5-over and reeling as he searched for ways to regroup on the back nine. Wind gusts of 20-25 mph didn't help settle Westmoreland's mind.
1. MSU's Jordan ready to have impact on young team COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Harris, Heritage Academy will count on seniors to lead way HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Howland likes MSU's non-conference schedule COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Central Academy hopes to contend for state title HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS