The stretch run to the playoffs begins in earnest tonight. For Class 6A Columbus High School and for Class 5A New Hope and West Point, that journey will take them through two of the state's toughest regions.
Jessica Dickens has believed in her team from the start of the season. The first-year Starkville Academy head fast-pitch softball coach said in the preseason and in the beginning and the middle of the regular season that the Lady Volunteers had the potential to be one of the state's best teams if they stayed focused on offense, defense, and in the circle.
East Oktibbeha High School's football team didn't envision being 0-5 at this point in the season.
For Starkville High's football team, particularly its offense, it was necessary a receiver step up to the challenge of leading a young and depleted receiver group. Against West Point, the Yellow Jackets (2-2) found the answer in senior Shaquille Hill, who scored the game-winner on a diving, 23-yard score. He had four catches for 66 yards in Starkville's 21-20 win.
Certain responsibilities at the varsity level rarely fall on the shoulders of an eighth-grader, but Starkville Academy's Anna McKell has handled her role well in her first season as a full-time starter.
Brad Butler has prepared the Heritage Academy football team. Now it is up to the Patriots to take on the adversity they have faced in the first half of the 2010 season head on.
West Alabama high school football teams will take a breather from regional play Friday night, but their opponents won't be strangers.
Good habits are passed down in successful programs. Whether it is on offense or on defense, players pick up tendencies and techniques from upperclassmen and learn to set a championship tempo.
Kasey Stanfield knows good things don't usually happen when hitters reach for pitches. But sometimes power can help a batter make up for swinging at a pitcher's pitch.
LOUISVILLE -- Big plays nearly proved to be too much for the Louisville High School football team to overcome. But the Wildcats used a key turnover in the fourth quarter and a strong running game to regain their focus and beat Columbus 36-28 Friday night.
CALEDONIA -- The New Hope High School football team rode a balanced offensive attack Friday night to a 40-0 win against Caledonia. New Hope quarterback Zak Thrasher completed 10 of 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, and the Trojans rushed for 237 yards to bounce back from their home loss to Columbus.
Myres Virden rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns Friday to lead the Madison-Ridgeland Academy football team to a 34-6 victory against Heritage Academy on what turned out to be a somber evening. News that 17-year-old Heritage Academy student Spencer Perkins, who shot himself earlier in the week in a hunting accident in Noxubee County, died Friday night in Jackson, spread throughout the field and left many in the Patriots' family shaken.
WEST POINT -- If the flags were legitimate, the Noxubee County football team had some of the best players on the West Point High team Friday night. In a 28-13 loss to the defending Class 5A state champions, Noxubee County was penalized 18 times for 111 yards. First-year head coach Tyrone Shorter stopped short of blaming the referees afterward and conceded his team needs to mature.
PHEBA -- You don't often see quarterbacks receiving punts or kicks. But Oak Hill Academy football coach Leroy Gregg doesn't have the same luxuries as most coaches in the state of Mississippi. But Gregg also doesn't have a player who is as versatile as Jeb Stevens.
STARKVILLE -- Records and final scores don't tell the whole story about the Starkville Academy football team. On Friday night, the winless Volunteers didn't back down against defending state champion Jackson Academy. Even though the final score -- 42-14 in favor of the Raiders -- didn't go their way, the Volunteers eliminated their opponent's big-play ability and kept the score within reach before a costly fumble late in third quarter.
ABERDEEN -- After starting the season with a disappointing loss to Class 6A Columbus, all is well with Aberdeen High School football coach Chris Duncan. The Bulldogs, who have outscored their last four opponents 219-24, dropped 61 points on outmanned Okolona here Friday in a 61-6 rout -- the third time this season they have topped the 60-point mark.
MABEN -- Ledrick Patterson and Demetrius O'Briant had more than 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns each Friday night to lead the unbeaten East Webster High School football team to a 53-15 victory against Bruce.
MILLBROOK, Ala. -- The Victory Christian football team extended unbeaten streak to 26 games Friday night thanks to four touchdowns from Ben Williams and three from Landon Ellis in a 44-7 victory against Victory Baptist (Ala.).
REFORM -- Senior quarterback Deion Curry threw for two touchdowns and ran for another one Friday night to lead the Pickens County High School football team to a 55-16 victory against John Essex.
1. No. 11 MSU finds way to beat No. 21 Missouri COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Dillingham sparks MSU's victory with key defensive plays COLLEGE SPORTS
4. New Hope rolls past West Point to complete region play HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Player of Week: Rogers helps fuel success for Columbus Lady Falcons HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS