Pat Byrd enjoyed his 19 years being a football coach at Amory High School. When Lee County School Superintendent Mike Scott first contacted Byrd about coaching the Saltillo High School football team a few days before Thanksgiving, Byrd wasn’t ready to leave Amory. Scott called him again a few days later during the Thanksgiving break and the persistence paid off. Byrd felt he owed it to himself to give it some thought. He came to the conclusion that a change wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Johnathan Brandon scored 20 points Saturday to help the New Hope High School boys basketball team beat Madison Central 65-45 at home and remain undefeated. Hank Washington scored 12 points and Jeremy Byrd, Davis Lee and Raymond Walters scored eight points each for New Hope (9-0). The next game for New Hope is against Kosciusko at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Ackerman Tournament.
Ground Taylor (Davis), Ground Chuck, Ground Allen, Ground Chambless. If you were going to build a timeline to trace the development of West Point High School’s love for running the football, it would have to date to the 1960s when Bubba Davis and Skip Taylor were players for the Green Wave. As a junior offensive lineman in 1963, Davis recalls a game against New Albany or Pontotoc when West Point ran the same running play nine consecutive times.
JACKSON — Winning a state championship is a lot like assembling a puzzle. From offense to defense to special teams, coaches have to tinker with and fine tune parts of the game plan to maximize their squad’s chances for success. Developing a dominant offensive line is just another piece to that puzzle.
JACKSON — Through three games, the Aberdeen High School offense hardly looked like a juggernaut. Injuries to the quarterback have a way of slowing things down. But once senior quarterback Aaron Andrews got healthy he quickly discovered how good the Bulldogs’ offense could be. Not only did he have a talented duo of Jamerson Love and Victor Hodges at running back, but he also had senior wide receivers Erik Buchanan, Mario Lucas, and Rashad Pargo and junior Jalen Devauld to throw to.
STARKVILLE — Sometimes there comes a time when a coach has to give up something he loves. That time has come for Starkville High School football coach Bill Lee. After 30 years of coaching on the high school and junior college levels, Lee has decided to retire effective at the end of the school year. Lee said opportunity to spend more time in ministry and with his family motivated him to make the decision.
MACON — Hebron Christian School girls basketball coach Greg Watkins wondered if the Lady Eagles could handle the pressure of going into overtime. That question was answered Thursday night. Tied at 39 at the end of regulation, the Lady Eagles used a 15-point overtime to earn a 54-47 victory against Central Academy. Watkins wasn’t only concerned about playing an extra quarter, he was worried about dealing with the Lady Vikings’ defense. He was pleased his players responded.
The Sulligent High School basketball coaches have visions of grandeur when it comes to the Blue Devil Classic. Sulligent boys coach Tommy Chism and girls coach Ronnie Hubbert would like to expand the one-day classic and have teams from Alabama play teams from Mississippi. The inaugural Blue Devil Classic will tip off Saturday with the Caledonia and Baldwyn boys from Mississippi, and Sulligent, Curry, Dora, and Hamilton boys and girls from Alabama.
Leaders look past the present and to the future. Marcus Hinton didn’t intend for his Aberdeen High School football career to end last season with a loss to Louisville in the Class 3A North Half State title game. But as the reality of the Bulldogs’ 41-21 loss to the eventual state champions sunk in, Hinton looked around and saw the potential through a lot of disappointed faces. He wanted to erase that sentiment and help his teammates re-focus on another goal.
JACKSON — Decedrick Quinn doesn’t mince words. As a linebacker on the Aberdeen High School defense, Quinn has watched as opponents have rushed through, around, and over it en route to the end zone. Quinn vowed his senior year was going to be different.
It’s all about serving others to Shaun Taylor. Whether it’s working in game management at Mississippi State or helping as a volunteer football coach at West Point High School, Taylor welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the communities and schools he loves.
JACKSON — As a Junior, it was natural for Curtis Virges’ mother to pick out the nickname “Jun Jun” for her son. Opponents on the football field likely have a different set of names they call the West Point High School senior defensive lineman. “The Beast” is one that comes to mind, especially after Virges stood Monday at the front of the conference room in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and towered over teammate and senior running back Xavier Hogan. Virges usually has that kind of dominating presence on the football field, too.
JACKSON — Walter Denton hopes to experience a championship feeling this weekend. Last season, the Tylertown High School football coach left Mississippi Memorial Stadium wondering what could have been. Tylertown and Louisville played to a virtual statistical dead heat on paper in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A state title game. But Chris Wraggs’ 11-yard pass to Jordan Christion in the fourth quarter erased a one-point deficit and helped give Louisville a 26-21 victory.
Typically, Johnathan Brandon terrorizes defenses with his long-range marksmanship. A proficient spot-up shooter, the New Hope High School senior guard has a smooth stroke that remains in form well beyond the 3-point arc. But something felt wrong Tuesday night. Brandon sensed it in warmups when his shooting touch seemed cold. But scorers find other ways to beat you. Brandon shook off the effects a weight lifting session had on his shooting stroke and still scored a team-high 20 points to lead a balanced scoring effort in a 65-57 victory against Caledonia.
STARKVILLE — Heritage Academy basketball coach Bruce Allsup learns more and more about his boys team each game it plays. With four games in five days this week, he should find out quite a bit. The Patriots had played only three games prior to Tuesday night’s matchup at Starkville Academy. Heritage Academy made sure it began the week on a positive note by recording a 65-37 victory.
ABERDEEN— The third quarter proved to be the difference here Tuesday evening, as Aberdeen and Noxubee County high schools split a varsity basketball doubleheader. Leading 30-27 at halftime, the unbeaten Lady Bulldogs (5-0) outscored Noxubee County 25-15 in the third period en route to a 74-63 win against the Tigerettes (4-2). In the boys game, Aberdeen (1-4) had a surprising 35-26 halftime lead against Noxubee (5-2), but the Tigers lit the board for 38 third-quarter points in what turned out to be an 84-62 win for coach T.J. Billups.
JACKSON — Xavier Hogan had doubts. After seeing his junior football season at West Point High School end in disappointment with a first-round loss in the Class 4A North Half State playoffs last year, Hogan wanted to make a stand in his final season. To do that, though, Hogan and his classmates knew the Green Wave needed to find a dependable quarterback.
The game plan is simple. On one side of the football, the West Point High School football team lines up, fires off the line of scrimmage, and dares you to stand in its way. Its style of play is its brand: West Point football. On the other side, the Green Wave delight in bringing pressure and flooding to the ball to stop any and all playmakers. The strategy is straight-forward — old school, if you will — but it has helped West Point control games and dominate opponents.
BOONEVILLE — The Booneville High School football team had all of the so-called advantages entering Friday’s Class 3A North State championship football game. The Blue Devils (13-0) were playing at home against a team with two losses and were coached by legendary Jim Drewry, a 50-year coaching veteran who is the winningest high school coach in Mississippi history with 346 career wins, three state titles (1990, 1999, and 2000) and a 7-0 record in North State title games at Booneville. Individually, the Blue Devils featured a quarterback who had thrown for more than 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns and had completed 52 percent of his passes, a running back who had gained more than 1,200 yards and scored 22 touchdowns, and a pair of receivers who had combined for 1,940 receiving yards and 13 scores.
You misjudge Justin Cox at your own peril. If you don’t think the junior quarterback can beat a defender in a footrace, try him. If you doubt the first-year starter can make enough passes to wide receiver Michael Carr or tight end Michael Bush to keep defenses honest, pack the box and he will make you pay. Cox showcased both facets of his game Friday night on the biggest stage of the season to help the West Point High School football team reach an even bigger venue.