THORSBY, Ala. -- The James Thompson era began with a dominating performance as the Pickens County High School football team defeated Thorsby 52-0 in the Alabama High School Activities Association (AHSAA) season opener. Junior quarterback Zach Thomas led the Tornadoes with two passing scores and two rushing scores. Caleb Bonner also had a couple of rushing scores.
Columbus High School senior quarterback C.J. Gholar made numerous plays Friday night. He could only watch, though, as Noxubee County made one more play in the end. In one of the state's marquee matchups at Falcon Field, No. 5 Columbus and No. 10 Noxubee County battled until the final seconds of a hard-fought 24-23 victory by the visiting Tigers.
Noxubee County High School football coach Tyrone Shorter plans to grade his defense a little better this week. "I think they have worked their way up from a C-plus," Shorter said. "Yes, they will get better than that." Two goal-line stands and two safeties will make any coach giddy. All of those defensive plays loomed large in Noxubee County's 24-23 victory against Columbus on Friday night at Falcon Field.
MOOREVILLE -- After a tough loss in the season opener, Caledonia High School football team bounced back for a 49-24 victory against Mooreville on Friday night. "We felt good about how we played," Caledonia coach Andy Crotwell said. "Always want to get that first win. We still have things to iron out. I thought we played much better, a cleaner game than we did in the opener. We had some drops against Shannon in the passing game, and I don't remember having one in this win.
Win every week. That's the motto the Starkville Academy football team lives by. Noah Methvin and Dalton Dempsey helped make sure the Volunteers stayed perfect Friday night. Methvin threw for three touchdowns, including one to Dempsey, who rushed for 127 yards and two more scores in Starkville Academy's 41-14 victory against West Lowndes in Columbus.
WEST POINT -- It had been looming all night. The West Point High School football team's defense had broken up six passes and dropped at least three sure-fire interceptions entering the fourth quarter of its season-opening game against Louisville. With West Point clinging to a 14-13 lead, Jeremy Brownlee delivered the first of two back-breaking interceptions that changed the game.
ABERDEEN -- More times than not, a height advantage for one team over its opponent in basketball generally translates into a win for the taller team. A height advantage for the New Hope High School football team played a significant role here Friday, as the Trojans rolled to a 41-24 victory against Aberdeen.
OXFORD -- Malik Brown demonstrated coolness under pressure Friday night. After throwing a touchdown to Tavian Clark in the third quarter, the Starkville High School sophomore quarterback thought the kicking team was coming on the field. But Starkville coach Ricky Woods decided to go for the two-point conversion. However, there was some confusion after the score, as players were running on and off the field and the play clock was winding down. Woods called a timeout and brought the Yellow Jackets together.
All Mac Barnes and the Lamar School football team needed was a second chance Friday night. Denied a scoring opportunity by a pass breakup by Heritage Academy's Brandon Jones on the final play of the second quarter, the Raiders went into halftime holding a tenuous 13-6 lead and knowing they needed to come out in the third quarter and make a statement.
Chris Blair believes the Columbus High School football team's defense is underrated. "We are on a mission this season," said Blair, a defensive end. "We feel like we can be one of the best defenses in (Mississippi High School Activities Association Class) 6A. A lot of people took notice last year. Now, we are back to show even more people the type of defense we are capable of playing. Everybody on the team is excited about our potential."
WEST POINT -- West Point High School football player Terrence Cherry always has been a man of few words. The massive defensive lineman prefers to lead his team by verbal motions and play-making actions.
Columbus High School coach Randal Montgomery believes the cliche that a football team's biggest improvement comes from the first week of the season to the second. That is why Montgomery took last his team's pedestrian 26-12 victory against Kemper County last week in stride.
Having a golf course in your backyard can be the ultimate motivator to learn to play golf. But Jake Crosson had equal access to soccer fields and basketball courts growing up in Thailand, so there was always a sport to play.
MACON -- Tyrone Shorter couldn't help smile Friday night.
Andre Erby knows there are two ways Kris Pickle wants the New Hope High School receivers to go when they catch the ball. Pickle has stressed the importance of going north and south so many times to his players that Erby smiles when asked if he hears Pickle's words in the back of his head every time he makes a catch. Erby heard those words Friday night with the season opener against Louisville on the line. The senior wide receiver also saw plenty of green grass on the other side of the field.
CALEDONIA -- Most football coaches will agree that not giving up the "big play," field position, finishing drives and turnovers all play important roles in determining who wins and who loses.
Following a season where the West Lowndes High School football team went 8-5 and ended their season in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A playoffs, the Panthers look for even more this season.
STEENS -- Coaches typically don't answer all of the questions they have about their team in the first game of the season.
New Hope football coach Kris Pickle had seen it before.
DEKALB - Columbus High School senior defensive tackle Josh Gray takes great pride in going from follower to leader.
1. Adams brothers back together again on field at MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Columbus will try to beat Noxubee County to go to 2-0 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Cherry, West Point open season against West Point HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Noxubee County makes one more play to beat Columbus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Four Bulldogs named to Preseason Coaches All-SEC team COLLEGE SPORTS