VERNON, Ala. — The playoffs are a chance to shine. Lamar County’s Marcquis Plant was the latest Bulldog to have his night in the spotlight, and it came at the right time.
There’s something magical about the fourth quarter for Jaquez Johnson and Chuck Tillery when the Starkville High School football team plays Columbus. A year ago, Johnson connected with Tillery for two touchdown passes to help the Yellow Jackets score 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in a come-from-behind victory. On Friday, there was more riding on the outcome, which made the fourth-quarter heroics even sweeter.
VERNON, Ala. — Undefeated Lamar County High School had posted back-to-back shutouts entering its game against Red Bay in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs. Coach Ken Adams said he wasn’t worried about getting a third shutout in a row Friday night as long as Lamar County won. Adams didn’t have much to worry about as the Bulldogs rolled to a 42-0 victory.
REFORM, Ala. — Top-seeded Pickens County needed to re-establish itself in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs coming off its first loss of the season to rival Gordo in its regular-season finale. The Tornadoes did just that, lighting up the scoreboard for 43 first-half points in a 57-24 victory against Keith..
MACON — It wasn’t the prettiest game in the history of the Noxubee County High School football program, but coach M.C. Miller will take it. The Tigers surrendered their second-most points in a game this season, had more 100 yards in penalties, and committed three turnovers, but mustered enough offense to defeat New Albany 36-17 Friday night in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A North Half State playoffs.
WEST POINT — After routing its fourth opponent in a row, the West Point High School football team is ready for its first challenge of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs. “We just want to take care of business each week, regardless what the competition is,” West Point coach Chris Chambless said West Point completed a 7-0 district march Friday night with a 37-7 victory against Hernando.
LOUISVILLE — There was some question going into the Louisville High School football team’s first-round Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A North Half State playoff matchup as to whether sophomore wide receiver C.J. Bates would play. The Warriors of Pontotoc High School left the turf of Louisville’s R.E. Hinze Stadium on Friday night wishing he had not. Bates caught seven passes, including one for a touchdown that led to LHS tying the game late, and intercepted a pass on the last play of the game to spark the Wildcats to a 28-21 double-overtime win.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –– Winning football championships has become contagious at Victory Christian Academy. Victory Christian won its second-consecutive title, and third in four years, Friday by beating Tuscaloosa Christian 49-6 in the Christian Football Association championship game. Parker Eaves completed 9 of 11 passes for 320 yards and threw four touchdown passes to lead Victory Christian (10-0) to its second consecutive undefeated season.
INDIANOLA — Terrance Dentry rushed for 155 yards and scored both of his team’s touchdowns Friday night to lead the New Hope High School football team past Gentry 14-0 in its final game of the regular season. New Hope (9-1, 6-1 Class 5A, Region 1) scored all its points in the first half as Dentry scored on a 24-yard run in the first quarter and on a 3-yard run in the second quarter. Dentry finished the regular season with 1,010 yards.
The timing is right for East Mississippi Community College. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the No. 7 EMCC football team will take on two-time defending state champion and No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. for the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field. If EMCC President Dr. Rick Young’s dream comes true, the Lions would be able to play host to playoff games and future state title games at a new multi-sport stadium on campus.
Bubba Davis and Bill Lee have playoffs on their minds. Unfortunately, only one man’s team could get to realize those dreams. That will be the storyline at 7 tonight when Davis’ Columbus High football team plays host to Lee’s Starkville Yellow Jackets. Starkville and Columbus enter the game at 3-7, but the Yellow Jackets are 3-3 in Class 6A, Region 1, District 2 and the Falcons are 2-4. All Starkville has to do is win and it’s in the playoffs.
WEST POINT — Tommy Keys and his defensive linemates don’t need an elaborate answer to explain their success. Like their counterparts on the offensive line, Keys and the rest of the West Point High School defensive linemen have a one-track mind and they explode from there. “You’ve got to want to first,” Keys said. “Everybody else relies on us because if we get blown back everybody else is going to get blown back.”
ABERDEEN — Fred Ward and Channing Ward don’t want people to forget about the Aberdeen High School football team. At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs were the talk of the area and the state. Many people thought they were going to run the table and secure an easy road to the Class 3A state title game in Jackson. An injury to starting quarterback Aaron Andrews played a role in an opening-season loss to Class 6A Columbus and a loss to Class 4A Pontotoc in week three, but the Bulldogs have regrouped and are ready to make their playoff run.
CALEDONIA — Everything came together last season for Morgan Mansfield and the Caledonia High School boys soccer team. The first-year coach needed time to mold a senior-laden team into form, but things took off when the pieces solidified. This season, the Confederates will have to find a way to replace six seniors who played key roles in a 14-5 school-best season and a trip to the Class 4A North Half State title game. Even though Caledonia won’t be as experienced as it was last season, Mansfield is excited about what his team can accomplish this season.
Bruce Allsup likes his mix of players. Sometimes coaches have the luxury of dealing with senior-laden teams that can adjust to nearly every situation. Other years, coaches have to take a step back and start fresh with inexperienced squads. This season, Allsup figures to have a mix of both with his Heritage Academy girls basketball team. Seniors Madison Ford, Morgan Lott, and Carolina Borland will lead a 12-player team that features four juniors and five sophomores.
Everything came together Friday night for Trevor Eaves. It was motivation enough that Eaves and the Central Academy football team had to face archrival Kemper Academy on Senior Night in their regular-season finale. The game carried added motivation because Kemper Academy knocked Central Academy out of the playoffs last season. To make matters even bigger, the Vikings needed a victory to help force a tie atop the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools eight-man District I standings.
A variety of weapons has helped the Victory Christian football team overcome an assortment of obstacles this season. Like many of the other teams in the state of Mississippi, the Eagles have dealt with enough rain to last five seasons. The rain has left Victory Christian’s home field — as well as many of its opponents’ fields — a soggy mess.
Lamar County High School football coach Ken Adams thinks it’s an accomplishment that his team made it through the regular season with an undefeated record. But Adams and the Bulldogs want more.
Central Academy, Veritas, and Calvary Christian decided to Monday to settle things on the field. Tied atop Mississippi Association of Independent Schools eight-man District I standings with 4-1 records, the teams had planned to use a coin flip Monday to decide the two teams that would advance to the playoffs. But the teams instead will play a three-way tiebreaker at 5 p.m. today at East Central Community College to decide which teams will represent the district in the playoffs.
Toughness and commitment are one to Seth Stillman. It’s something he thinks about when he is on the field and in pain Friday nights with his “brothers” on the New Hope High School football team. As difficult as it is for Stillman, a senior linebacker, to describe the intensity of that pain, he is somehow able to compartmentalize that feeling and allow his leadership skills to take over. At no time did Stillman’s presence on the field mean more than it did on Friday night in New Hope’s game against Hernando at Trojan Field.
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