The growth in the Columbus High School football team continues. Buoyed by the signing of Kylin Hill (Mississippi State) and Tahj Sykes (Southern Mississippi) to Division I scholarship offers, coach Randal Montgomery's Falcons sent seven players to college as part of a National Signing Day ceremony in the school's library Wednesday morning.
Tae-Kion Reed didn't give the bystanders any warning. If the New Hope High School senior had, those people sitting across from the signing table would have known to sit back and wait for him to throw the Mississippi State hat.
MACON -- Noxubee County High School football coach Tyrone Shorter is quick with the statistics. "We are No. 3 in the state with the number of former players we have playing junior college and senior college ball around the state," Shorter said. "These young men receive a free education, and if you don't make the National Football League, you have a degree to fall back on. My message has always been the same: Use football and don't let football use you."
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School signing Class of 2017 was a lot more than Willie Gay. In addition to the four-star linebacker who signed with Mississippi State, five other Yellow Jackets signed National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day to play football at the next level.
Potential is perfect word to use for someone like Tyrese Wells. At 6-foot-1 1/2, 260 pounds, Wells has room to grow into his frame. Considering Wells is only 17 years old, the explosiveness he showcased as a senior with the West Lowndes High School football team made college coaches notice.
STARKVILLE -- On Sunday night, four-star linebacker Willie Gay sat down and looked at a Mississippi State hat, a LSU hat, and a Michigan hat. He thought hard about where he thought he be most comfortable and then made a decision. On Monday night, Gay sent LSU coach Ed Orgeron and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh text messages and told them the news: He was staying home to play at Mississippi State.
WEST POINT -- West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless had two favorite days this season. "Winning a state championship is always special," Chambless said. "My favorite day each year is signing day because it is an opportunity to see some young men have a chance at a free education and to continue playing the game they love. We have been fortunate to have a good number of players sign. We take pride in that as a program. This day ranks right up there with championship day."
CALEDONIA -- The Itawamba Community College football program found Caledonia High School to be an ideal one-stop recruiting destination. As a result, four of the 29 seniors on the Caledonia High football team will get a chance to continue their careers at the next level. On Wednesday, quarterback Spencer Unruh, running back Zion Ford, wide receiver Jamel Thomas, and kicker Caleb Comer joiner linebacker Kody White (Lyon College) and tight end/H-back/linebacker Russ Smither (Delta State) in signing National Letters of Intent as part of National Signing Day.
Team leaders bring people together. Meredith Woolbright doesn't know exactly how she does it, but she acknowledges she has a knack for making friends and relating to teammates. Whether it is with a smile or with a little constructive criticism or motivation, Woolbright can find the right way to deliver a message that helps an individual or her team.
STARKVILLE -- Jariyah Covington has a good memory. The Starkville High School junior has plenty of good ones she can call on when she wants to reflect on the girls basketball team's back-to-back runs to the Final Four of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A State tournament.
CALEDONIA -- Garrett Parish remembers the Caledonia High School boys soccer team talking about making the playoffs before the 2016-17 season started. It didn't matter to Parish or co-captain and senior classmate Quaid Phillips -- or any of the other Confederates for that matter -- that the team had a new coach, Louis Alexander, who was bound to change some things. That didn't bother Parish, Phillips, and the team's other four seniors because they wanted to close their careers in style, so their hope was to help the team advance as far in the postseason as possible.
WEST POINT -- Greg Watkins couldn't remember the last time his team earned a victory at Oak Hill Academy before Thursday night. The Columbus Christian Academy boys basketball coach doesn't have to worry about that anymore after RJ DeLoach scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the team to a 70-47 victory on Oak Hill Academy's Senior Night.
Kelsie Gerhart has realized her dream. Although she had a feeling for several months where she would end up, the New Hope High School senior made her plans official Wednesday morning when she signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.
STARKVILLE -- It has been a while since Blake Rogers has been as hot as he was Tuesday night. The junior guard drilled seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 27 points in the Starkville High School boys basketball team's 88-56 victory against West Point.
STARKVILLE -- In his second game since returning from a back injury, Moak Griffin scored 10 points in the second half, including five in the final two minutes, to give the Heritage Academy boys basketball team a 60-57 victory against Starkville Academy.
Even when things don't go well for a large stretch of time, Columbus High School sophomore Hannah White never loses faith in her basketball team. "We feel like we will always find a way to get it done," White said. "The chemistry on this team is so outstanding. With each win, we get a little more confidence. Being on a winning streak is what allows us to think we can win on any night against any opponent." Columbus ran its winning streak to 11 with a 53-49 victory against No. 10 Tupelo in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A, Region 2 game Tuesday night at the Falcon Lair.
New Hope High School boys basketball coach Drew McBrayer spent a little more than three minutes with his team in the locker room at halftime. After building a 14-point lead in the first quarter, McBrayer saw his team slack off in the second quarter, which allowed West Lowndes High to cut the lead to eight at halftime.
The hype for Bryan Vogel and his fellow New Hope senior soccer players began in the seventh grade.
Heritage Academy boys' basketball senior point guard Dalton Ford hit the floor hard twice in the fourth quarter.
HERNANDO -- The Columbus High School basketball teams continued their winning ways Friday night. The Columbus girls won their eighth-straight game with a 47-25 victory against Hernando, while the Columbus boys earned their fifth-straight win with a 64-59 victory in Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A, Region 2 play at Long Gymnasium.
1. Season opener at Columbus Speedway a success LOCAL SPORTS
2. Tennessee routs No. 3 Mississippi State COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Tennessee's win against MSU flips script LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Starkville Academy boys fall in state title game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS