ABERDEEN — Perry Liles knows the football programs at Charleston and Aberdeen high schools have plenty of similarities. As a former coach at both schools, Liles had plenty of talented players on both teams. He also grew to be accustomed to a hard-charging style of play at each school. Given Charleston and Aberdeen have so many things in common, don’t ask Liles to tell you which team will win at 7 tonight when they meet in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A North Half state semifinal at Lester Miley Stadium.
WEST POINT — Noxubee County and Aberdeen should feel special. The 2009 edition of Mississippi Sports Magazine singled out the Tigers in Class 4A and the Bulldogs in Class 3A as top teams in each classification in its preseason issue. In Class 5A, Pearl and Oxford join Wayne County, West Jones, D’Iberville, and Brookhaven, a team to keep an eye on, were listed as the state’s top teams.
If things go according to plan for Sammy Smith, Michael Hall will play a key role this season in helping the Columbus High School boys basketball team come together. Hall showed again Tuesday night how he can be a ring leader, scoring a game-high 22 points in a 71-44 victory against East Oktibbeha. Chy Cunningham earned game-high scoring honors with 26 points to lead the Columbus High girls to a 62-48 victory against East Oktibbeha.
STARKVILLE -- Raevonne Shoemaker takes her role as goalkeeper seriously. The Starkville High School junior knows she has to be focused on a match at all times and has to know what her teammates are doing on the field. “(Goalkeepers) have to be the strong foundation,” Shoemaker said. Shoemaker has only allowed one goal this season for the Lady Yellow Jackets and has recorded three shutouts, including Tuesday’s 2-0 home victory against New Hope High School.
ABERDEEN — The smile on Jameika Hoskins’ face Tuesday equaled relief. Hoskins wasn’t as relaxed last Thursday, and Aberdeen High School girls basketball coach Latorrence Bivens could see it in her eyes. After Hoskins scored 22 points in a victory against Baldwyn, she admitted to Bivens she “had purple and gold on her mind.” Those colors helped spell relief five days later.
ABERDEEN — One, two, three — Release. It sounds simple, and it doesn’t always go according to plan, but Aaron Andrews is all about being on time. When you’re the quarterback of a high-scoring offense like the Aberdeen High School football team, you have to be precise with your movements and read and deliver the football at the right times.
RIPLEY — All season long, Aberdeen High School football coach Chris Duncan has been looking for a “complete” game from his Bulldogs. Although his team had compiled an impressive 10-2 mark heading into Friday’s 3A playoff matchup at Ripley, the Bulldogs, according to Duncan, had failed to click on all cylinders through their first 12 outings.
Michael Bradley seldom is speechless when he talks about football. But the nature of his team’s come-from-behind 34-33 victory against Callaway on Friday night in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs had the fourth-year coach searching for words. When Bradley got going, though, his words did the game — and his players — justice.
MACON — In high school football, as with any sport, winning can be so contagious that it takes a heavy dose of reality — a loss — to stop the momentum. Facing a 9-2 Senatobia team in the second round of the Class 4A North Half State playoffs, Noxubee County knew the Warriors’ potent passing attack could stop their bid to repeat as state champions.
WEST POINT — After a couple bad experiences with the passing game Friday, the West Point High School football team opted to go with what it knows. The result was 371 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the Green Wave shared its knowledge with Canton in a 36-0 victory in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs.
VERNON, Ala. — On Friday, George Bell Stadium was packed with a crowd that generated noise that rivaled a college football game. That crowd all but erupted after a play that many people take for granted. Tanner High School’s Mark Adams extra-point attempt in overtime sailed low and to the right, enabling Lamar County to escape with a 28-27 victory in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A second-round playoff game.
REFORM, Ala. — Pickens County High School’s Jematric Curry was looking to make a play. When that didn’t come as the quarterback early against Goshen High in Friday’s second round game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs, he turned to the other side of the football. Curry’s second-quarter interception of running back Reginald Foster on a halfback pass attempt sparked the Tornadoes. Once Pickens County got rolling, it recorded a 48-14 victory against the Eagles.
MABEN — The East Webster High School football team avenged a loss in the playoffs last season by beating Calhoun City 28-14 Friday in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state playoffs. East Webster (7-6) won its third game in a row and atoned for a 14-7 loss to Calhoun City last season. “We’re playing pretty well,” East Webster coach Jimmy Carden said. “I thought my kids played the hardest they’ve played all season. Not that Calhoun City didn’t play hard, but my kids played better than they have all year.”
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School senior basketball player Rashad Perkins can get back to business. After signing a national letter of intent Friday to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, Perkins is ready to concentrate on the rest of his high school season. “It feels good to get it out of the way,” Perkins said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of me because I don’t have to worry about people asking me where I’m going. I can focus on what I need to be doing.”
TUPELO — Matthew Esquivel scored four goals in three games this weekend to help the Columbus High School boys soccer team win two of three games in the Tupelo Tournament. Esquivel scored both goals in a 2-1 victory against Saltillo on Friday, scored the only goal in a 6-1 loss to Corinth on Saturday and scored scored a goal in a 3-0 victory against Center Hill on Saturday. Sevascian Vasquez led Columbus (3-2-1) with two goals against Center Hill.
STARKVILLE — Offensive lineman Jarrod Atterberry likes the future of Starkville High School football. That doesn’t mean he’s ready for this season to end. Atterberry believes the Yellow Jackets have momentum going into the Class 6A playoffs after defeating Columbus High 29-28 this past Friday.
Ever since the start of practice in August, the Green Wave have been focused on winning a state title. The championship would be the program’s first since 2005, and it would give seniors like Xavier Hogan and Jeremy Cannon a chance to leave a permanent mark — not one left in magic marker — on the program. Hogan, Cannon, and the rest of the Green Wave will begin that journey at 7 tonight when they play host to Canton (4-7) in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoffs.
ABERDEEN — A 100-plus yard effort last week wasn’t what Victor Hodges expected. It’s not that the Aberdeen High School junior is hard on himself, it’s just that he knows an “OK” effort isn’t going to help get the job done at playoff time. “I could have had two touchdowns, but I tripped on one,” Hodges said. Hodges will try to help Aberdeen (10-2) push its winning streak to 10 at 7 tonight when it plays at Ripley (6-5) in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A North Half State playoffs.
Ahmad Williams might not want to admit it, but his journey from a football novice to starter on the New Hope High School football team makes for a good story. Williams, though, isn’t one to boast about his accomplishments, and he is currently writing a book about a battle in a fantasy world, so it will be a while before he takes the time to tell his story in his words.
MACON — Patrick Patterson and Vincent Sanders have attracted a lot of attention the past two seasons. A lot of publicity about the Noxubee County High School football team has accompanied the attention the standout wide receivers have generated.
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