STARKVILLE -- Chase Nicholson hopes for a better performance this week.
Given everything the Starkville Academy football coach has seen from his team this week, he feels confident that the Volunteers are building to a good performance.
Dr. Jim Borsig would have preferred temperatures to have been in the 50s Wednesday morning.
That way the president of The Mississippi University for Women would have been a little cooler as he used his navy blazer to disguise the shirt he was wearing.
The shirt Borsig selected for the gathering at Cochran Hall wasn't an ordinary one, either. In fact, it had a unique color -- Welty Blue -- and something even more special he didn't want to reveal to anyone on campus before 10 a.m.
STARKVILLE -- Jazzmun Holmes doesn't make it a habit to spout bad words at practice.
But it is illuminating to hear Holmes used several "bad words" last week to chastise a teammate for not being in the right position or for not knowing who she was supposed to be guarding because a year ago she admitted she cried during the Mississippi State women's basketball team's first practice. Holmes said later in the first month of her freshman season that she "got over it, put on my big-girl pants and went with it."
STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer wasn't surprised.
The Mississippi State women's basketball coach didn't expect a work of art in his team's Maroon and White scrimmage on Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum. Schaefer knew there were going to be turnovers, missed defensive assignments, and a lack of execution during the five quarters of action.
CALEDONIA -- The playoffs have arrived.
Don't worry, you're not early, so don't double check your calendar to make sure you missed something.
It's just that the Caledonia High School football team has reached the knockout stage of the season one week prior to the official start of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A playoffs.
MACON -- It's time to finish.
Tyrone Shorter feels Friday night would be the ideal time for the Noxubee County High School football team to put it all together and build momentum for another run at a state title.
If Shorter has his way, Noxubee County will do that at 7 p.m. Friday against Houston in its regular-season finale. The game also will serve as Senior Night for the Tigers.
STARKVILLE -- Blair Schaefer understands the importance of leadership.
Coaches love experience.
Players who have been in tight games and know how to handle the excitement associated with decisions that go down to the final minute help coaches manage their teams.
Veterans also give coaches a handy fall-back answer when they're momentarily stumped by a question.
Robert Woodard II doesn't mind a few extra sets of eyes looking down on him.
In fact, the Columbus High School junior won't hesitate to look up to the far wall by the scoreboard for a reminder that the Falcons can realize championship dreams if they work together.
WEST POINT -- Friday night was time for Jason Brownlee to show out.
Instead of talking about his exploits in a 48-6 victory against Saltillo, the West Point High School junior wide receiver prefers to talk about how well the Green Wave offensive line blocked and the efforts of senior quarterback Clayton Knight.
But Brownlee can't help smile when asked about his performance.
A resolute stare can wear down even the most steadfast coach.
STARKVILLE -- Young. Established. Re-focused.
Timid. Maturing. Changed.
A game of word association can be limiting and revealing at the same time. When Mississippi State seniors Breanna Richardson and Ketara Chapel are asked for one word to describe each of their first three seasons, it's illuminating to see how their choices reflect the ups and downs of their individual careers.
Sean Harrison has talked all season about how important it is for the Heritage Academy Patriots to play physical football.
It says something about the Patriots' progress that Harrison can proclaim his players delivered the most physical week 10 of practice he has been a part of as a coach.
Heritage Academy's ability to continue to play that brand of football will be crucial at 7 tonight when it plays host to Leake Academy in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Class AAA, District 2 regular-season finale at C.L. Mitchell Field.
CALEDONIA -- Daily improvement has been a key for Andy Crotwell ever since he took over as head coach of the Caledonia High School football team.
A year older and wiser with all of its pieces back is an enviable position to be in.
Debbie Antonelli doesn't need nearly 30 years experience as a college basketball television analyst and commentator to know experience and depth have pushed the 2016-17 Mississippi State women's basketball team into the top 15 of all of the preseason rankings.
MACON -- The march is nearly complete.
But Noxubee County High School football coach Tyrone Shorter doesn't want his team to look ahead to what is coming down the road. Instead of losing focus and jumping ahead a week to a showdown against Houston, the No. 2 team in the state's Class 4A rankings, or the start of the playoffs and a quest for a third-straight state championship, Shorter wants his players' attention solely on Caledonia.
PHILADELPHIA -- Cheering from the dugout is a constant in softball.
Some teams take pride in devising catchy new phrases, while others stick with familiar sayings to motivate their hitters.
The Neshoba Central High School slow-pitch softball team doesn't need words to provide a spark, but it showed Tuesday it is just as skilled delivering a timely phrase as it is peppering a softball.
CALEDONIA -- It's safe to say Samantha Brooks was curious in the preseason when asked how the Caledonia High School volleyball team was going to fare in 2016.
On paper, Brooks knew her Lady Confederates didn't have a lot of size, which meant they weren't going to be a dominating blocking team. With a total of five freshmen and sophomores on the 12-player varsity roster, Brooks also wasn't sure how Caledonia's youth would blend with its experience, especially seniors Kaylee Jernigan, Gracie McCleskey, Jensen Reed, and Cheyenne Ruth.
STARKVILLE -- Sydney Passons has seen enough movies to wonder if time really slows down in real life like it does on the big screen.
Last Monday, the Starkville Academy senior forward experienced just how quickly events appear to come to a stand still. Passons doesn't remember the things her teammates yelled to her after she collected a loose ball in overtime because she didn't hear them.
Megan James will play softball this weekend.
The only problem is the New Hope High School junior doesn't know if she will be in Ridgeland or Tupelo, or if she will be playing slow- or fast-pitch softball.
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