TUPELO -- Turnovers and big plays never are the right mixture. The New Hope High School football team discovered that Friday night in a painful season-opening lesson.
A "communication problem" turned out to be something good for Lowndes County. That's how West Point School District Superintendent Steve Montgomery referred to the situation West Point High School faced after the Mississippi High School Activities Association informed it late last week that it had to cancel one of its 12 regular-season games.
The injuries are starting to pile up for the Columbus and Noxubee County high school football teams. That's bad news for Columbus coach Tony Stanford and Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter considering their teams will meet at 7:30 tonight in Columbus in the second game of the season. Columbus is coming off an 8-6 victory against Aberdeen, while Noxubee County defeated Starkville 14-7. The victories didn't come without losses.
Jamie Mitchell figuratively relates his job to pulling teeth when four years have passed and it's time for a new project. Because for all the work that goes into tactically rebuilding a struggling football team, just as much effort is rightfully devoted to changing habits, attitudes and work routine. Starkville High School's head football coach has enjoyed a successful run of rebuilding programs into division-winning teams, but for the hours, days and months spent "getting people to buy in" there's a significant amount of stress levied on the boss.
Finally. The New Hope High School football team knew it would have to wait a week to kick off its 2010 season. Knowing didn't make the wait any easier. But at 7:30 tonight the Trojans will hit kick off one of the most anticipated football seasons in school history. The first step won't be easy. New Hope will take on Class 6A Tupelo five weeks after opening practice on July 26.
STARKVILLE -- Belief is an armor and Starkville Academy's painful loss to Ackerman has only strengthened the Volunteers' assurance they're a better team. Losing to the Indians on a fourth-down play was heartbreaking as was losing in overtime to a team that ran roughshod over the Volunteers on their home field the previous season. But there's no substitute for matching another team's intensity on the road in the first game of the season. For Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill that is exactly what he needed to see in his debut last week.
Chris Chambless and the West Point High School football team are eager to show the state of Florida they're up for the challenge. The Green Wave will be one of eight teams that will participate in The Gridiron Challenge, or what is being billed as a series of matchups pitting teams from Florida against teams from the rest of the United States. West Point, the Mississippi High School Activities Association defending Class 5A champion, will kick off the event at 7:30 tonight against Mainland (Fla.) High, the No. 8 team in Class 6A, according to the Associated Press' preseason poll of Florida teams.
The ping often gives it away. But home run hitters don't need to listen because they have a knack for hitting the ball on the sweet spot on the bat. When they do, a wonderful noise follows -- only for hitters -- that signals a ball is taking off and it won't be coming back. Jasmine Butler and Shanique Ousley discovered the beauty of that sound Thursday night and, in the process, joined the home run hitters club. Butler had a grand slam and five RBIs, while Ousley had a two-run home run to lead the Columbus High School slow-pitch softball team to a 19-3 victory against Starkville High in a Class 6A, Region 1 game.
CRAWFORD -- Forgive East Oktibbeha County High School football coach Randy Brooks if he's still trying to catch up in Week 2 of the season. Officially, he has been on the job for only three weeks and he's calling plays on both sides of the ball.
Ray Weeks has heard the talk. But the veteran head coach would prefer to hear the conversations about his Hamilton High School football team in November.
Lamar County High School football coach Ken Adams didn't get a scouting report from South Lamar High's jamboree against Pickens County like he wanted.
The 2010 Victory Christian football team will try to take ownership of the streak. The two-time defending Christian Football Association champions kick off the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Ellwood Christian Academy, which was known as Central Christian Academy last year, of Selma, Ala. Living up to back-to-back conference titles is one thing. Maintaining a 22-game winning streak that spans the past two seasons should add to the expectations the Eagles face this year.
The numbers should even out this week. This also should be one of the few weeks this season when the Immanuel Christian football team has more bodies on the sidelines than its opponent. That fact, coupled with the Rams' moving from 11- to eight-man, should make for intriguing storylines when they take on Central Academy at 7 p.m. Friday in Macon.
CALEDONIA -- A little emotion can go a long way. Inserted at the proper time in a match, that energy can help make for a very long evening or it can erase any surge of momentum. The Starkville High School volleyball team picked the right time Tuesday night to deliver a shock to the system. Sparked by an impromptu players-only scream-fest in front of coach Lauren Love, the Yellow Jackets rallied to score the final five points in game four to clinch the game and the match against Caledonia, 3-1. Game scores were 25-19, 25-12, 18-25, 25-20.
This time it counts. After playing a jamboree like a regular season game this past Thursday, the Sulligent Blue Devils tee it up for good this Thursday. Sulligent kicks off its regular season at home against the Hamilton Aggies after beating the Smithville Seminoles 27-18 in a jamboree. Sulligent (of Alabama) had to play the jamboree like a regular season game because Smithville (of Mississippi) scheduled it as its season opener. Alabama schools don't begin their season until this week whereas Mississippi schools started this past week.
STARKVILLE -- The first words Jessica Dickens delivered in her post-game interview were said with a sense of relief. "How about that hitting from Bailey Wofford?" the Starkville Academy head coach asked. Indeed, her most experienced player enjoyed an all-star caliber day against opening-day spoiler Hebron Christian, putting the team a game above .500 following two wins on the bounce.
MACON -- Cole Newman knows what it takes to be "The Man." A year ago, he watched teammates Hunter Campbell and Trevor Eaves do their best to lead the Central Academy football team's rushing attack. But when Campbell went down with a season-ending injury, Eaves assumed a bigger role and Newman earned an opportunity to contribute.
ABERDEEN -- In the opener of the 2009 season it took two overtimes to decide the outcome of Columbus and Aberdeen This year's rematch also went down as an instant classic as the Falcons' defensive heroics were again enough to hold off the Bulldogs 8-6 and give first-year head coach Tony Stanford the victory in his debut. "It's so important for our program," Stanford said. "We've struggled over the last couple of years winning some so we need to get as much confidence as we can. Our kids don't have a lot (of confidence) but wins is the only way you can get it and we'll take them any way we can get them. It was sweet."
WEST POINT -- Sophomore Miller Puckett took the opening kickoff return 82 yards untouched to help Heritage Academy lead from the start Friday night en route to a 28-14 victory against Oak Hill Academy in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools season opener for both teams. "It is always good to win that first one," Heritage Academy second-year coach Brad Butler said. "Miller Puckett played well. We have to make sure we find ways to get the ball in his hands more. "We had too many penalties, but we overcame those with some big plays, but we still have to get mentally tougher so we can overcome these penalties."
It takes a lot to be a Timberwolf. With depleted numbers in recent years, the West Oktibbeha High School football team has learned how not to make excuses. Instead, the Timberwolves rely on faith, family, and heart to get them through difficult situations. The belief the Timberwolves have in themselves and in their teammates came through in shining fashion Friday night.
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