Bobby Berry hopes to make it two in a row this week. A week ago, the West Lowndes High School football team went on the road and defeated Class 4A Caledonia. The Class 2A Panthers improved to 3-0 with the victory and set the stage for this week’s game against Class 3A Philadelphia (3-0). And while Berry credits Boykin and the Confederates, he believes tonight’s (7:30) home game should be a bigger test against another higher classification opponent.
Brad Butler and Mac Barnes agree on one thing: Their teams will face their toughest tests of the season tonight. The coaches are eager to find out which team’s strength will win out tonight (7) when Heritage Academy (3-0) goes on the road to take on The Lamar School (3-0). The size and the experience of the Patriots’ line play figures to be a strength Butler’s team will try to exploit against an opponent that has only one player who weighs more than 200 pounds on its defensive line and one two who tip the scales at more than 200 pounds on the offensive line.
The matchup between the Starkville and West Point High School football teams pits friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and brother against brother. That will be the case at 7:30 tonight when Starkville offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Rob Morgan and West Point wide receiver coach Brett Morgan stand on opposite sidelines. Brett, who has been on the Green Wave staff since January, anticipates a fun night and hopes to enjoy it more than his big brother.
Ken Adams isn’t going to allow the Lamar County High School football team to get overconfident. Adams wants his players to forget the team’s 2-0 start to the season and focus on each day leading up to the next game.
Landon Ellis was a little embarrassed. The Victory Christian junior was enjoying one of the best games of his career Friday night against New Life Academy, but he felt bad his teammates weren’t getting in on the fun. Ellis rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns, returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Parker Eaves to help the Eagles improve to 2-0. For his accomplishments, Ellis is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
MACON — Kylie Lockhart didn’t want to be late. She also didn’t want to give the Central Academy fast-pitch softball team an opportunity to send Tuesday’s game into extra innings. So the Starkville Academy center fielder took care of two problems at the same time. Lockhart’s running catch in right-center field to open the bottom of the seventh inning helped snuff out a potential rally and allowed Starkville Academy to hold on for a 4-3 victory in a non-district game.
WEST POINT — The West Point High School football team had two weeks to think about letting its opening-week game against Shannon slip away in the final minute. The Green Wave had a bye in week two, used the time to correct their mistakes, and went out Friday and got back on track with a 24-6 victory against Columbus.
Zak Thrasher looks different. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Thrasher appears physically to be the same quarterback who helped lead the New Hope High School football team to the third round of the Class 4A North Half state playoffs.
Heritage Academy football coach Brad Butler trusts senior quarterback Will Swedenburg. That trust was rewarded Friday night as Swedenburg ran an efficient offense and rushed for two touchdowns in the second quarter in a 46-23 victory against Starkville Academy at C.L. Mitchell Field.
CALEDONIA — The West Lowndes High School football team capitalized on three first-half turnovers to build a big halftime lead en route to a 34-9 victory Friday night.
STARKVILLE — It was not the prototypical game for the defending state champion Meridian Wildcats, but they’ll take a victory anytime they can get one. Despite 11 penalties and four turnovers, the Wildcats did enough to defeat the Starkville Yellow Jackets 27-10 on Friday night.
When the lights went up Friday, Landon Ellis never expected he would double his personal touchdown record. But Ellis did just that as he scored six touchdowns to lead the Victory Christian football team to a 69-16 victory against New Life Academy.
WEST POINT — Any thoughts the Oak Hill Academy football team might have had about exploiting the one team they beat last year disappeared in the first 10 minutes of Friday night. The Indianola Academy Colonels used a blocked punt by Dalton Deloach in the Raiders’ end zone as a spark and went on to a 28-6 victory.
PHEBA — The homestanding Hebron Christian Eagles picked up their first win of the season Friday night with a 35-30 victory against the West Memphis Black Knights.
QUITMAN — All eyes were on Markese Triplett on Friday night. Many believed the Louisville High School senior wide receiver would be the playmaker to watch against Quitman High. Perhaps a couple of those eyes should have been watching speedy Quitman junior wideout Dyar Ealie.
Volleyball is a lot more than a recreational sport to Lauren Love and Shay Ashford. But it takes time to change the culture at schools that don’t have the tradition in sports like volleyball, which is still relatively new in the state of Mississippi. That challenge doesn’t faze Lauren Love or Shay Ashford. The first-year coaches both have played sports in college and now are focused on bringing their love for volleyball to Starkville and Columbus high schools.
Meridian High School coach Larry Weems believes he could use the services of quarterback Tyler Russell and wide receiver Chris Smith in Starkville tonight. Although that’s not possible, that’s how much respect Weems has for the Yellow Jackets. Russell and Smith, two Mississippi State freshmen, told Weems they would be available if needed at 7:30 tonight when Meridian plays Starkville. MSU plays host to Jackson State on Saturday.
Rivalry games always are intense. But as much as Heritage Academy football coach Brad Butler is looking forward to tonight’s matchup (7) against Starkville Academy, he is more excited that the game will be the Class AAA, District 1 opener for both teams. To Butler, that fact is crucial for the Patriots (2-0), who will try to build on the momentum they earned last week in a come-from-behind 13-12 victory at Winston County.
Coaches can prepare for spread offenses or dart-quick running backs. They also can devise schemes to frustrate even the strongest pass rush. But New Hope High School football coach Michael Bradley discovered another opponent this week that is even tougher: Sickness. The Trojans (1-0) had 24 players miss practice at some point this week as they prepared to take on Amory (0-2) at 7:30 tonight. The flu bug that is affecting the state played a role in more than 100 students being absent Thursday from New Hope High.
David Boykin admits his football team doesn’t have anything to gain tonight. If the Class 4A Caledonia High School Confederates beat the Class 2A West Lowndes Panthers, no one will raise an eyebrow because it is what is expected. But if the Panthers travel to Caledonia and earn the victory, people will be surprised. Boykin hopes his players will be ready to prevent that from happening.
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