REFORM, Ala. –– The Pickens County Tornadoes made a winner of Scott Marchant in his debut as head coach Friday night by doubling up Greensboro 48-24. The victory helped Pickens County atone for a 26-21 loss to Greensboro in its season opener last season. “It’s thrilling,” Marchant said of his getting his first win as a head coach. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way. I feel blessed. We’ve got a lot of good kids, a lot of good football players, and a great football staff helping me. I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
ABERDEEN — Valentine’s Day is still months away, but Ray Brooks’ defense left Lester Miley Stadium with ‘Love’ on their minds. Aberdeen senior running back Jamerson Love accumulated 316 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns Friday night in the Bulldogs’ 52-14 blowout. “I knew the team was depending on me, so I just put them on my back,” Love said. “I just try to practice hard and play hard. That’s the best game I have ever had since I’ve played at Aberdeen High School.” Love, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, picked up 238 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns. He caught a pair of passes for 78 yards and another score.
VERNON, Ala. — Lance Bobbitt, Carson Chiquito, and Marquis Plant are going to try to bring the mohawk back to Lamar County High School. The seniors didn’t have much luck in the preseason convincing their teammates the hairdo was the way to go. Things just might change after Friday night. Plant caught two touchdown passes from Michael Bradford, Bobbitt rushed for another score, and Chiquito played a key role up front to help the Lamar County football team defeat South Lamar 61-20 in the season opener for both teams at George Bell Stadium.
LOUISVILLE — It was a double dose of déja vu for the Winston Academy Patriots and their fans Friday night. When Heritage Academy backup fullback Stance Henderson broke three tackles and raced 54 yards for a game-winning touchdown with 3 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the game, Winston Academy fans had to think back to memories of Henderson’s father, Joey, who starred at running back for the school’s undefeated 1975 state championship team and also wore No. 5. Winston Academy’s 13-12 loss to Heritage Academy also was eerily similar to its last-minute meltdown last week against Leake Academy, when it dominated the first half but surrendered the lead late in the second half.
The final statistics Friday night indicated the West Lowndes High School football team’s game against East Oktibbeha was a close one. But the score, 26-0 in favor of the Panthers, told a different story. Subplot A was the four interceptions the Panthers made against quarterback Chris Hunter. Subplot B was the Titans’ ability to move the football between the 20s, racking up 173 total rushing yards to West Lowndes’ 159, before seeing their drives stall or end in turnovers.
STARKVILLE — Senior wide receiver Markese Triplett caught five passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Louisville High School football team to a 26-21 victory against the Starkville Yellow Jackets. The 6-foot-4 receiver and University of Southern Mississippi commitment had an 87-yard touchdown reception on the second play from scrimmage to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. He added a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter. “He’s just a playmaker,” Starkville coach Bill Lee said. “Louisville did a great job coaching tonight and getting the ball to the right guys.”
MACON — Noxubee County High School football coach M.C. Miller still has some offensive weapons to put on the field while quarterback/wide receiver/free safety Vincent Sanders recovers from a fractured jaw. Running backs Patreon Hopkins and Jontae Skinner each scored a touchdown Friday night to help the defending Class 4A state champions beat Columbus 23-12. The Tigers (2-0) prefer the passing game, but Miller has no problem going to the running game while sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson gets used to the system.
Football coaches drill the importance of the fourth-quarter effort into their teams. Many will pace the sidelines holding up four fingers and shouting “fourth quarter.” The last 12 minutes sometimes involves a team blowing a lead due to exhaustion or sloppy play or players emerging to make a big play. The latter happened Friday night for the New Hope High School football team in a 28-17 victory against Tupelo in the season opener for both teams.
STARKVILLE — Records sometimes don’t tell the entire story. Artie Cosby has been around sports long enough to know that. Now his goal is to help the Starkville Academy girls soccer team put a few more victories on the left side of the ledger. Haley Jenkins, Jessica Dennis, and Sallie Kate Richardson each scored two goals Saturday to help the Starkville Academy girls soccer team defeat Heritage Academy 8-0.
HAMILTON — Brandon Bell admits he is still figuring everything out. You can’t blame the Caledonia High School sophomore. He has had to move to a new position, he has had to adjust to a new coach and a new offense, and he had had to shoulder the expectations and the responsibility for being a team leader. That’s a lot to digest, even for the most experienced player.
If the first week of the season is any indication, it will be a game of contrasting styles when Heritage Academy plays at Winston Academy on Friday.
MACON — Programs don’t win state championships with one player. Standouts can play key roles, but the labors of one player will take a team only so far. The Noxubee County High School football team intends to show people in the state of Mississippi it is more than one player.
A program develops constants in winning 11 state titles. Defense has been one of the benchmarks for the New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team. But as stingy as the Lady Trojans have been defensively, their hitting has adapted to the strengths of the players from title to title. Some years New Hope has relied on its power hitters to fuel the offense. In other seasons — like in 2008 — it has blended line drive hitters with speed to deliver a consistent attack.
Josh Harper has a lot on his mind. The South Lamar High School football coach is about to embark on his first season as a head coach at his alma mater, and he’s faced with the task of preparing for the team’s archrival his first game. The Harper era at South Lamar begins at 7 p.m. Friday when the Stallions kick off their season at Lamar County in Vernon, Ala.
The Noxubee County High School football team stayed relatively healthy last season in its run to the Class 4A state title. Things will be a little tougher this season in the Tigers’ quest to repeat. Noxubee County High coach M.C Miller said Monday that senior wide receiver/quarterback/free safety Vincent Sanders will be out an undetermined length of time with a fractured jaw.
CARROLTON, Ala. — Jacob Acker doesn’t have a preference. He doesn’t even have to have the ball in his hands. When you’re running an offense that is as much fun as the spread option, the points just have a way of piling up on the scoreboard. It also helps to have a versatile array of players.
Columbus High School junior defensive lineman Ian Williams was thankful to be in the right place at the right time. Even though it took a while to determine who blocked the extra point that enabled Columbus beat Aberdeen 27-26 in double overtime Friday night, Williams was glad he could be a difference maker.
The soggy conditions Friday night couldn’t stop Heritage Academy’s Will West from discovering where his passion on the football field lies. Heritage Academy coach Brad Butler said West has played nearly every position but has finally found his role as a senior. “I asked him earlier in the fall, ‘Do you like being a wide receiver or do you feel like a tight end?’ ” Butler said. “(Will) said, ‘Well, I feel weird about it, but coach, I like being a wide receiver.’ ”
MACON — The Noxubee County High School football team picked up where it left off last season. The Tigers pitched seven shutouts in 2008 en route to the Class 4A State championship. On Friday night, the Tigers notched their first shutout of 2009 with a 30-0 victory against Starkville in the season opener for both teams.
SHANNON — Someone had to make one more play. Michael Carr appeared to have what the West Point High School football team needed. But Keon McGaughy snatched what Carr couldn’t hold to give Shannon High exactly what it wanted. McGaughy caught a ball that tipped off Carr’s hands for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining to lift Shannon to a 27-20 victory in the season opener for both teams.
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