MACON -- Noxubee County High School senior defensive end Jeffery Simmons has made his name as one of the state's best defensive players. On Friday night, the Columbus High defense was on the receiving end of the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Simmons' offensive punch. Simmons scored two second-half touchdowns to help Noxubee County pull away to a 25-8 victory against Columbus.
Between the weather and the emotion surrounding the squad's season opener, Josh Thacker and the Pickens Academy football team had one of the longest Friday nights of Week 1. In addition to waiting out a lightning delay and a power outage, the Pirates had to deal with the fact they were without assistant coach Ted Copland, who is battling cancer and was forced to miss his first Friday night in 46 years as a coach.
Barrett Donahoe scheduled preseason scrimmages and jamborees to prepare the Heritage Academy football team for the 2015 season. Following games against Pillow Academy, Raymond High School, and Simpson Academy, Donahoe hoped the Patriots were primed and ready to face good competition in the regular season. That move paid off last week against Columbus Christian in a 48-0 victory in the season opener for both teams.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School running backs coach Carlos Kemp first saw Avery Brown as a sophomore. Brown was a member of the scout team, but he used that opportunity to show Kemp, the other coaches, and his teammates what was to come. "When he got in, he ran hard and I saw then he was going to be pretty good his senior year," Kemp said. "He's just the type of person that comes to work each day, and he's going to give all he's got every day."
MACON -- Tyrone Shorter couldn't help think here we go again. Last season, three interceptions and numerous missed opportunities played a role in the Noxubee County High School's 51-19 loss to Starkville in the season opener for both teams. The point total was the most surrendered by the Tigers since 2006.
If you didn't know any better, the statistics surely would have corresponded to a victory. New Hope High School football Kris Pickle even sounded like he didn't believe what happened as he ticked off the numbers -- 350-360 total yards, more than 200 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, 18 first downs -- from his team's 20-3 loss to Louisville in its season opener last week.
STARKVILLE -- Ricky Woods knew from an early age where he wanted to be on Friday nights. His love for football came from all of the time he spent at practices and games with his father. Seeing so many games and packed stadiums on Friday nights ignited a passion in Woods that drove him to become a teacher and a coach.
New Hope High School senior catcher Will Godfrey quickly recalls his favorite memory from the 2015 prep baseball season. "The home run against Oxford was my No. 1 memory," Godfrey said. "It was amazing I was the one that hit it. I was happy. However, I would have been happy had any other player on the team hit it as well. That was just the type of team we had. Everybody was in it together."
MACON -- Dominant.
CALEDONIA -- In 2014, a game of word association involving the Caledonia High School football team was easy.
ABERDEEN -- Corinth head coach Doug Jones' unbeaten winning streak is intact.
Columbus Christian Academy was going to need every bounce it could get to knock off cross-town rival Heritage Academy. The opening kickoff was a bad start.
STARKVILLE -- Midway through the second quarter of Starkville Academy's season-opener Friday, linebacker Noah Heflin thought back to the week following the team's loss to Oak Forest Academy in last season's Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II state championship game.
Kylin Hill admits his eyes light up when he sees a ball coming in his way on a kickoff.
MACON -- To a man, Friday night was about belief for the Noxubee County High School football team.
Columbus High School football coach Randal Montgomery slowly made changes to his new program last season.
MACON -- Rontavis Clark walked back to the sideline early in the second quarter Friday night with a lot on his mind.
Friday's Alabama Prep Football Scores
Friday's Mississippi Prep Football Scores
1. Clark helps MSU's operations running smoothly COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Schaefer finds right fit with Jackson COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Copiah-Lincoln ends EMCC's winning streak at 25 COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU's Strugg will miss two months COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU soccer wants to sharpen scoring touch COLLEGE SPORTS