KC Cunningham has a plethora of plays to choose from when it comes to assembling a highlight tape. Whether it's rushing, receiving, or playing defense, Cunningham had his pick of accomplishments to catch the attention of college coaches. There's one play Cunningham didn't have access to that he would like to put on that tape. It didn't have him scoring a touchdown or making a sack. Instead, the play involved Cunningham delivering a block for Kimarri Whitfield so he could gain a first down against DeSoto (Ark.) School in the Columbus Christian Academy football team's first home playoff game in 11-man football.
Anthony Sharp likes the championship taste. It has been nearly two months since the Victory Christian Academy football team defeated Tuscaloosa Christian 44-8 to win the Christian Football Association championship. For a senior like Sharp, who hadn't won a title in football, the experience was sweet. That it came against an archrival and that he had a chance to savor it with classmates Cody Bolton, Shane Bradford, Burkley Jernigan, and Bo McCrary made it doubly special.
Displeased with his team's offensive performance in the first half against Olive Branch on Saturday, Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter turned in a curious direction to ignite his offense. "I knew we had to start playing our style of defense," Carter said. "Once we did that, the points would follow." Once Starkville clamped down on Olive Branch to start the third quarter, the points followed.
As Ecurb Forest gets better, so does West Point High's boys basketball team. Forest, West Point's senior shooting guard, set a career-high in points for the third time in the past six games with a 31-point effort in a 72-62 victory against West Lowndes at New Hope High's Trojan Classic.
With seven players on his roster, West Point High School girls basketball coach Dashmond Daniel was worried about his team's conditioning Saturday against South Panola in the New Hope High Trojan Classic. Daniel had reason to be concerned.
For most football teams, leadership is expected immediately from the quarterback. For Aberdeen High School, the dynamics made that even more important. With as many as six sophomores starting some games on offense, the Bulldogs had to rely on the savvy veteran leadership of Josh Williams almost every snap.
For New Hope High School girls basketball coach Laura Lee Holman, the switch came on at practice about two weeks ago. "The girls are buying in," Holman said. "They know what we can do. A couple of weeks ago, a couple of older players were showing the younger players what to do. There was a buy-in. You could see they were beginning to believe. Once you get the belief, that is a huge step forward." For the Lady Trojans, the next step is learning how to win.
Glenn Schmidt knows a little about what motivated Stan Hughey. Over the years, Schmidt's Starkville Academy girls basketball teams tangled many times with Hughey's Oak Hill Academy squads. Every time, Schmidt found Hughey's Lady Raiders well prepared, tenacious, and hungry for a win -- just like their coach. After the games, Schmidt and Hughey didn't need to talk for hours to catch up or to exchange stories because they took comfort in the fact that they shared a special bond only coaches can appreciate. That's why Schmidt was just one of the people saddened Sunday to learn of Hughey's death.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School sophomore center Kelsey Jones has always enjoyed scoring points. Now Jones is drawing the same sense of satisfaction from rebounds, blocking out, and getting assists. As Jones adds more dimensions to her game, the Lady Jackets are quickly becoming a complete team.
MACON -- Jeffery Simmons was looking for only one. Minutes after the Noxubee County High School football team defeated St. Stanislaus 48-27 to win the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state title, the junior defensive lineman was surrounded by a three reporters.
MACON -- Tyrone Shorter fits the description of a Type A personality. From cutting the grass on the Noxubee County High School football field, to marking the numbers on the field for a home game, to preparing the right mixture of Gatorade and water, Shorter has grown accustomed to doing things his way. His thinking fits that of many Type A people who believe if they do it, the task will be done the way they want it.
If you didn't know any better, you would think silent assassin would be an ideal nickname for Demyis Mayberry. After all, the New Hope High School senior eschews trash talking. He prefers to let his silky-smooth game do the talking for him. New Hope High coach Drew McBrayer knows that all too well.
The Dispatch's Large Schools All-Area Football team
WEST POINT -- This time, Ecurb Forest brought a friend. In the West Point High School boys basketball team's first meeting against Houston on Dec. 16, Forest scored a career-high 18 points in an easy victory. In Saturday night's finale of the West Point Holiday Invitational, the Green Wave again won easily, this time behind Forest and guard Dason Thomas, who combined for 39 points in a 73-59 win.
WEST POINT -- For three quarters, it was anything but pretty. For the final eight minutes, though, the West Point High School girls basketball team put on a show. In doing so, it escaped with a 66-54 victory against Houston on Saturday night in the West Point Holiday Invitational.
STARKVILLE -- While the Aberdeen High School boys basketball team continues its quest for consistency, first-year coach Jaworski Rankin is pleased the Bulldogs are winning while learning. "It's about consistency and playing for four quarters," Rankin said. "The players are still learning me and I am learning them. The fact we are showing flashes is a good thing. The kids know where we are and where we can go."
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior Brady Davis understands the role of leadership at the quarterback position. For Davis, the challenge of becoming his team's leader took on an unusual twist this season. After transferring from New Hope High, Davis was faced with the challenge of learning a new set of coaches, players, and plays. While it proved daunting, the good news for the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder was his new teammates were gifted and his team was one of the best in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A ranks.
For the New Hope High School baseball team, the expectations for the 2014 season were extremely high. The reward was even greater.
The Dispatch's Top 10 Prep Sports Stories of 2014
STARKVILLE -- Any bitterly contested overtime defeat usually leaves a basketball coach lamenting one missed shot on offense or one made basket allowed on defense. Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter didn't long for one more shot Friday night. He wanted another rebound.
1. MSU's Stricklin says cost of attendance right way to go COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Columbus Christian boys beat rival Hebron Christian HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Georgia's Frazier knocks out MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope boys, West Point girls earn wins HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS