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.
Barrett Donahoe doesn't like the modus operandi the Heritage Academy football team has been using the past three weeks.
CALEDONIA -- It's time to move on.
That's a sentiment shared by Caledonia High School football coach Andy Crotwell and Heritage Academy football coach Barrett Donahoe after their teams suffered loses in week five last week.
As disappointing as the losses to New Hope and Pisgah were, though, Crotwell and Donahoe don't want the effects to linger because both squads have all of their goals still in front of them.
All Gary Harris wants is an opportunity.
It concerned him Thursday that he wasn't able to get much of a scouting report for the Heritage Academy fast-pitch softball team's opponent in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA North State tournament. Harris also had to dismiss the complications that his team would have to face the host team on its home field if it won its first game.
To make matters worse, Harris couldn't help worry that senior catcher Macy Walters' sprained ankle was going to bother her this weekend and affect her ability to handle senior pitcher Kaitlyn Oswalt.
Nick Clark can't help use the word "great" when describing the baseball exploits of Syd. L. Thweatt Jr.
But as talented a hitter and infielder as Thweatt Jr. was at Stephen D. Lee High School in Columbus and East Mississippi Junior College in Scooba, Clark said there is another quality about his longtime friend that has left a bigger impression on him.
The cycle of high school football never stops.
STARKVILLE -- Make no mistake, Kennadi Carbin didn't play basketball in high school.
But don't let the Mississippi State 5-foot-11 freshman fool you because she knows a little something about posting people up.
In soccer, though, the technique of positioning your body in front of a defender and keeping possession usually is called holding the ball. The skill is designed to give an individual on the attacking team time to scan the field and spot an open teammate. Judging from Carbin's performance late in MSU's match against Arkansas on Sunday, she has been listening to coach Aaron Gordon's words of encouragement.
STARKVILLE -- Ego isn't part of the equation for Chase Nicholson.
The Starkville Academy first-year football coach admits he doesn't have all of the answers. He also knows he isn't the most experienced member of the team's coaching staff.
MACON -- The notion of a "must-win" game in September is a foreign concept to Noxubee County High School.
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