STARKVILLE — Johnthan Banks doesn’t just want to be a boy among men. The Mississippi State freshman safety from East Webster High School in Maben wants his play to continue to earn respect from his coaches and teammates.
Buddy Stephens is lucky. The East Mississippi Community College football coach has a All-America quarterback (Randall Mackey) and a running back with Division I potential (former Starkville High standout Pat Shed). But as well as those two have played this season, they are just two pieces to a puzzle that is coming together for the Lions. When Stephens factors in a talented cast of receivers, led by Bill Franks and Stephon Johnson, and an equally skilled and experienced offensive line, it’s easy to see why the Lions are 5-1 and 3-0 in the MACJC.
STURGIS — Former football standout Stan Malone remembers his two North Division title seasons at East Mississippi Junior College. But he also remembers having fun on campus. “We lived in The Alamo, a dorm that was named because it resembled the fort,” Malone said. “One night, we caught an opossum and put it in the bed with a guy. We had some good times.” But Malone better remembers the college now known as East Mississippi Community College in Scooba as the place he developed his leadership skills and played outstanding football.
SCOOBA — East Mississippi Community College will induct 10 new members into the EMCC Sports Hall of Fame tonight at a reception and banquet as part of its 2009 Homecoming weekend. This year’s inductees also will be recognized Saturday afternoon in pregame ceremonies prior to the EMCC’s homecoming football game against Northeast Community College. Included posthumously in this year’s class is former S.D. Lee High three -sport athlete Larry “Rock” Cohen.
STARKVILLE –– Brandon Cooper can’t help but think back to his high school days when he visited Mississippi State strength coach Matt Balis. While at Fort Bend Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas, Cooper participated at the University of Houston combine and bench pressed 275 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. Cooper, a junior defensive lineman at MSU, is anxious to show the University of Houston what it missed by not seriously recruiting him when the teams meet at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
It’s not the passing attempts, pass completions, yards, or touchdowns passes that mean the most to University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum. When the game is over, the only numbers that concern Keenum are the ones on the scoreboard.
Throughout high school, Amber Owen heard she’d never play college volleyball. At 4-foot-11 1/2, Owen was relegated to playing on the junior varsity volleyball team at Caledonia High School and it looked like college volleyball wouldn’t be in her future. “It hurt a lot because I knew I had the potential and I had the ability to play and I wasn’t really given that chance,” Owen said. “I was looking for a small (college) so I could play volleyball, or at least try, because everybody told me I would never play college volleyball.”
STARKVILLE — Anthony Dixon is about to become Mississippi State’s all-time leading rusher. The journey to that top spot has been bumpy. In the offseason, the senior tailback was arrested for DUI. He fulfilled unspecified punishment from the team and served a one-game suspension in the season opener against Jackson State. Now, Dixon has to bounce back from a game where he fumbled twice in a 42-31 loss to Georgia Tech.
STARKVILLE — The rhythm of the Famous Maroon Band’s drum section doesn’t catch the attention of Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen most on game day. When Mullen talks about rhythm he’s referring to the offense, especially early in games.
STARKVILLE -- Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt isn’t known for his passing ability. Yet Nesbitt torched the Mississippi State secondary for 266 yards in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 42-31 victory Saturday night. Case Keenum, the signal caller at the University of Houston, does have a reputation for throwing the football with success. On Saturday, Keenum was 51 of 76 for 536 yards and five touchdowns in Houston’s 58-41 loss to Texas-El Paso.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State was supposed to begin fall baseball practice Friday. The mounds of dirt and the absence of sod at Dudy Noble Field altered those plans. As of Thursday, the work to cover the new and improved drainage and irrigation system at the home field of the Bulldogs hadn’t been completed.
STARKVILLE — Splishing, splashing, and sploshing aren’t typical ingredients of a soccer match. But Rachel Wannek has experienced enough of those moments to feel right at home playing in inclement weather. The freshman showed Sunday just how comfortable she is in bad weather and on soggy fields when she scored on a 25-yard free kick in the second half to help the Mississippi State women’s soccer team earn a 1-1 overtime tie against No. 8 South Carolina at the MSU Soccer Field.
Mississippi State linebacker Jamar Chaney watched helplessly in Starkville last season as Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense dominated the Bulldogs. Chaney was recovering from a broken leg and didn’t make the trip to Atlanta for MSU’s 38-7 loss. Things got so bad for the Bulldogs, who surrendered 438 yards rushing, that Chaney turned off the television at halftime.
Georgia Tech doesn’t have a monopoly on the option offense. There are times when Mississippi State uses the scheme in its spread offense.
It’s not all about the option game for Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Although he’s a key in what the Yellow Jackets try to do running the triple option primarily out of the wishbone, opponents also know Nesbitt can throw the football.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior quarterback Tyson Lee is glad junior wide receiver Leon Berry joined the Bulldogs. On the field, Berry is a go-to player in coach Dan Mullen’s spread offense. Berry is equally valuable off the field because he can grill a pretty good steak. Lee has dined at Berry’s house and said his steaks are the best he has had in a while.
Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State men’s basketball signee Renardo Sidney, has taken his fight to Capitol Hill. In an attempt to get his client eligible to play for the Bulldogs, Jackson has requested intervention from the United State’s House of Representatives and Senate to investigate a pattern of racially selective conduct by the NCAA Enforcement Staff and Eligibility Center. Those concerns have been raised as Jackson attempts to clear up Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete.
Through four games this seasson, the only direction the Kentucky Wesleyan football team can go is up. That’s because the Panthers have lost their first four games by a combined score of 177-58. But Kentucky Wesleyan senior linebacker Kevin Baldwin isn’t letting his team’s slow start get him down. Baldwin, a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School and a transfer from Itawamba Community College in Fulton, believes the Panthers are capable of salvaging what’s left of the season.
STARKVILLE — The timing was perfect for Todd Bramble. Facing the prospect of playing three matches in six days, the University of Alabama women’s soccer coach wanted to substitute liberally Tuesday night against Mississippi State. The return of junior forward Kelly King from a high ankle sprain couldn’t have come at a better time. In her first game of the 2009 season, King proved her timing was pretty good, too.
1. Golsan ready to contribute to Ole Miss baseball program COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Alabama runs over Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville beats Madison Central for fourth straight shutout HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Ole Miss moves to 7-0 with rout of Tennessee COLLEGE SPORTS
5. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS