CALEDONIA -- Turn the page.
Coaches often talk about getting their players to put mistakes behind them so one miscue doesn't become two and two don't become four.
That adage is even more important for teams facing challenging schedules. Caledonia High School football coach Andy Crotwell's team falls into that category as a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association's Class 4A, region 4. With perennial state champions like Noxubee County and Louisville and a playoff regular like Kosciusko, there isn't much wiggle room for a team like Caledonia that is trying to secure one of four playoff spots in the six-team region.
Toughness. Resiliency. Perseverance.
Regardless which word you select, there are a number of ways to describe the way the Heritage Academy football team rallied in the second half to beat West Lowndes 30-20 last week. After committing a turnover that helped the Panthers take a 14-9 lead, the Patriots answered with two scores that helped them re-take the lead and take a step closer to evening their record at 4-4.
Heritage Academy will try to build on that strong finish at 7 tonight when it plays host to Winston Academy in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, District 2 game in Columbus.
MACON -- The exhale you heard last week was Tyrone Shorter finally seeing his Noxubee County High School football team play like he knows it can.
Mired in a four-game losing streak, Noxubee County kicked off Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 4 play with a 22-12 victory against Kosciusko. Senior quarterback Timorrius Conner threw for 269 yards and a touchdown to help the Tigers (3-4, 1-0 region) extend their winning streak to 17 games in region play.
MACON -- Kelsey Robbins' new nickname is "trouble."
It doesn't matter what moniker members of the Central Academy fast-pitch softball team have used for their junior third baseman. When you deliver in a clutch situation like Robbins did Wednesday, trouble is the perfect word.
Robbins' two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the third inning proved to be the difference in Central Academy's 3-1 victory against Humphreys Academy in Game 1 of the best-of-three Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A Overall State title series.
STARKVILLE -- Kayla Nevitt doesn't want to get lost in the shuffle.
A year ago, Nevitt looked around the Mississippi State women's basketball team's locker room and saw plenty of competition for minutes. Whether it was seniors Kendra Grant or Savannah Carter or sophomore Dominique Dillingham or freshmen Victoria Vivians and Blair Schaefer, Nevitt realized playing time wasn't going to be given to her and that she had to improve if she wanted to make her mark.
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer had a plan.
Two games left.
STARKVILLE -- Breanna Richardson acknowledges the "bursts" were there in 2014-15.
The 6-foot-1 forward had 16 points in a victory at Ole Miss, poured in 15 points in a victory at Auburn, had all 13 of her points in the second half in a loss at Tennessee, and matched her Southeastern Conference-high with 16 points against Florida.
But Richardson also will tell you she had as many stretches last season that she would like to change. Those periods were replete with turnovers on moves to the baskets, missed perimeter shots, or defensive lapses.
STARKVILLE -- It didn't take the summer for Dominique Dillingham to realize 1,000 shots isn't very many.
One more step.
Marcus Farmer and Kemario Evans can see the finished product.
MACON -- Sometimes coaches don't know what drives their kids.
After all, when you're dealing with teenagers, there often is no telling what can flip the switch of a player on a daily basis.
But Sammy Lindsey might have a better idea how to reach the members of his Central Academy fast-pitch softball team. His formula is based on equal helpings of tradition and trickeration.
STARKVILLE -- Ketara Chapel can mix it up in the paint.
But the 6-foot-1 forward knows there is a difference between the level of physicality between forwards her size and centers who are several inches taller and who have significantly more girth to wield against anyone who dares traipse into their lane.
That's why Chapel can't help smile when she is asked to describe the battles Chinwe Okorie and Teaira McCowan have had in recent Mississippi State women's basketball pickup games or workouts.
Get the tour buses ready. Make sure everything is coordinated because the West Lowndes High School football team's bandwagon is gearing up for a long run this season.
Confidence like that isn't new at West Lowndes. In recent years, Panthers have talked about what they and their teams hoped to accomplish. But this year might be different. Not only is West Lowndes riding its first four-game winning streak since 2010, but it also is making the most of being in a new district -- Class 1A, Region 1. The new home has enabled West Lowndes to escape one of the Mississippi High School Activities Association's toughest regions -- Region 3 -- where perennial powers like Nanih Waiya, Noxapater, Pelahatchie, and French Camp reigned.
Barrett Donahoe's office is like many high school football coaches in the area.
WEST POINT -- This week has been about going back to basics for Chris Craven and the Oak Hill Academy football team.
The first chore on the Raiders' to-do list was to re-familiarize themselves with what it means to play a home game.
"That is one of the things one of the players said to me Monday. He said, 'Coach, I am so glad we get to play at home again,' " Craven said. "Not that we play at home this week, but again, like it was never going to happen again. It wasn't easy playing a month on the road, but playing at home is definitely an advantage."
STARKVILLE -- Carly Mauldin never imagined she would play this big of a role as a freshman.
As one of 10 freshmen new to the Mississippi State women's soccer team, Mauldin knew she was going to face plenty of competition. But the 5-foot-5 midfielder didn't care if she was one of only six players from the state of Mississippi on MSU's 25-player roster. Instead, the former West Jones High School standout took the opportunity she had to enroll early at MSU to set the stage for a memorable first season in Maroon and White.
So far, things are working out better than Mauldin expected.
STARKVILLE -- Jazmyne Johnson feels the need for speed.
More importantly, the junior middle blocker understands the importance of playing fast to the Mississippi State volleyball team.
That was the edict first-year head coach David McFatrich established for the Bulldogs for the 2015 season. For a program that has had only eight winning seasons since its inception in 1975, change has been a frequent ingredient, so McFatrich's idea to increase the Bulldogs' tempo wasn't surprising.
MACON -- The Central Academy fast-pitch softball team will have to wait a little longer to make some history.
Buoyed by two victories Saturday, Central Academy entered Monday's action in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A North State tournament in control of its destiny and primed to cross off the second goal -- a North State championship -- off its list from the preseason.
MACON -- Tyrone Shorter isn't going to panic.
But the longtime coach of the Noxubee County High School football program also isn't going to avoid talking about what he sees as one of the primary reasons why the 2015 team is mired in a four-game losing streak.
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