MABEN — You gotta believe. The tears on Dwight Quinn’s face Thursday night showed just how much he and his West Oktibbeha High School football teammates believe. Trailing by 18 points early in the third quarter, the Timberwolves used a punt return for a touchdown by Quinn to change the momentum. From there, West Oktibbeha dominated the rest of the second half and carried that energy into the first overtime.
Bubba Davis hopes last week was just the beginning. The Columbus High School football coach will find out Friday if the Falcons have started a trend when they play host to Horn Lake at 7 p.m. in a Class 6A, Region 1 game at Columbus Stadium. Columbus (2-6, 1-3 region) is coming off a 12-7 victory against DeSoto Central that snapped its 10-game losing streak in region games. Sophomore running back Damian Baker rushed for a career high 224 yards and two touchdowns to help keep the Falcons in contention for one of the top four spots in the region and a playoff berth.
Josh Harper credits Rusty Funk with helping him advance through the ranks to become a head football coach. Harper was an assistant to Funk at Columbus High School and at South Lamar High School in Millport, Ala. Harper will get a chance Friday to show his mentor what he learned when he coaches against Funk. Harper, who replaced Funk as the coach at South Lamar, will coach against his mentor at 7 p.m. Friday when the Stallions travel to Marion County in Guin, Ala., for an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Region 7 game.
Region championships will be at stake Friday night when the Lamar County Bulldogs and Pickens County Tornadoes take the field. Lamar County will claim the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Region 7 championship and Pickens County will capture the Class 2A, Region 4 title with victories. Both have the task of trying to win region championships on the road, with Lamar County playing at Winston County and Pickens County traveling to Fultondale.
MABEN — Numbers don’t tell the whole story at East and West Oktibbeha high schools. If they did, the schools’ football teams would be doomed for failure.
Damian Baker hoped he could make an impact. A year ago, Baker was a go-to player on the Columbus High School freshman team. But the step up to the varsity level requires a faster step and a stronger step.
WEST POINT — The West Point High School football team new Class 5A, Region 1 rival Lake Cormorant played their game Friday in ankle-deep mud. And the Gators were positively stuck in it.
PHEBA — Effective running back tandems should have nicknames. Hebron Christian’s Ryan Pinnix and Marques Robinson are no different. You likely could add J.D. Edwards to the mix and create a three-headed monster that is even more dangerous.
The West Lowndes High School football team made several mistakes in the first half Friday night errors that allowed Ackerman to leave Panther Field undefeated. Ackerman (9-0) capitalized on poor execution by West Lowndes to gain the momentum early and keep it in a dominating 27-0 victory.
STARKVILLE — Senior running back Devyn Shing had 166 yards and three touchdowns Friday night to lead the Clarksdale-Lee Academy football team to a 33-14 victory against Starkville Academy.
MABEN — The mud that collected on the back of Hamilton High School senior receiver Kevin McCartney might have obscured the jersey number so it couldn’t be seen. That didn’t keep sophomore quarterback Austin Welch from finding McCartney at a critical part of Friday night’s 12-6 victory against East Webster.
ABERDEEN — A tradition that dates back nearly a century, homecoming is an annual event designed to be a joyous occasion that brings a town or community together as they welcome back friends and former students.
JACKSON — The question whispered Saturday morning at the V.A. Fields was a good one. Could a Hamilton High School slow-pitch softball team that used so many home runs to get to the state title series generate enough offense on a field with a fence 300 feet away? Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest wondered the same thing as his team warmed up to face Enterprise.
JACKSON — Tabitha Beard was concerned. After watching her New Hope High School slow-pitch softball team blitz Brookhaven 10-0 in game one of its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title series, Beard and the Lady Trojans had to wait 50 minutes before the start of game two. Beard grew a little more anxious as she watched New Hope struggle at the plate and fall behind by three runs midway through the second game. While Beard’s concern was justified, it proved to be unnecessary.
ABERDEEN — The dreams come a little slower to Don Loftis these days. The landscape around town has changed some, too, but the memories remain. It’s easy to recall many of them when Loftis thinks about former Aberdeen High School football coach Thomas Pierce’s name affixed to the wall of the football team’s dressing room/weight room.
One week isn’t enough to satisfy Michael Bradley. Yes, the New Hope High School coach was pleased that the Trojans blocked better Saturday in a 32-21 Class 5A Region 1 victory at Lake Cormorant. Bradley also enjoyed watching his team overcome less than ideal playing conditions to execute a game plan that helped the Trojans improve to 5-1 and 2-1 in the region. But Bradley has been fond of saying this year that “no win is more important than another.”
Bubba Davis knows the time is coming. Unfortunately, the Columbus High School football coach can’t give his players and all of the school’s fans the exact date. The “date” in this instance is when the Columbus High football program will reverse its fortunes. The Falcons’ losing streak stretched to six last week with a 53-7 loss to South Panola. The loss generated a little more negativity on Internet chat rooms from people who don’t think the Columbus High football program is on the right track.
HAMILTON — While the Hamilton High School slow-pitch softball team was gleefully chanting “Going to the ’ship, going to the ’ship” after its impressive sweep Thursday in the Class 2A North State, championship series, Baldwyn softball coach Jessica Taylor and her Lady Bearcats couldn’t help but wonder why the Lady Lions have proven to be such a formidable roadblock in their quest to reach the state championship series in Jackson. Hamilton took the series with 12-3 and 12-1 victories.
STARKVILLE — No one can convince Starkville High School senior linebacker Craig Armstead the offseason doesn’t make a difference. It wasn’t always that way. Starkville High’s coaches pushed Armstead to get better, but he wasn’t always open to their suggestions. Frustrated he wasn’t getting the playing time he wanted, Armstead decided to do something about it. He dedicated himself to football in January and he has become the strong arm of the Starkville High defense.
ABERDEEN — All Aaron Andrews hears now is applause. It wasn’t always that way for the Aberdeen High School senior quarterback. After suffering an ankle injury in the Bulldogs’ season-opening loss to Columbus High, Andrews jumped right back into the fray against Pontotoc in week three of the season. A 21-14 loss to Class 4A Pontotoc didn’t sit well with the people of Aberdeen, who had dreamed in the preseason of a possible undefeated run and a march to a Class 3A state title.
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