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.
MACON -- Dominant.
CALEDONIA -- In 2014, a game of word association involving the Caledonia High School football team was easy.
MACON -- To a man, Friday night was about belief for the Noxubee County High School football team.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Inexperience doesn't faze Josh Thacker.
If it did, the Pickens Academy third-year head football coach would look at his roster for the 2015 season with wide eyes and see a bunch of 7s, 8s, and 9s under the grade column. All told, Pickens Academy enters tonight's season opener against Ben's Ford Christian (La.) with only four seniors and two juniors on a roster that features 18 players in grades seven through nine.
Greg Watkins has seen plenty of change in his time as a coach in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).
Danny Crawford is back in Lowndes County.
This time, the longtime coach intends to make his stay a little more permanent.
Last week, the Lowndes County School Board approved the hiring of the former West Oktibbeha County High School coach as the new boys and girls basketball coach at West Lowndes High School in Columbus. The move comes after Crawford's old school and East Oktibbeha County High were consolidated into the Starkville School District at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
STARKVILLE -- The doubt is gone.
Mallory Eubanks wondered how she would fit in when she participated in the United States Under-20 National Team Camp in January in Sanford, Florida. As a newcomer, Eubanks was one of 28 players (18 college soccer) vying for the attention of head coach Michelle French and the rest of USA Soccer.
MACON -- Qendarrion Barnett's laugh -- a quick "Heh-heh" -- gets you thinking.
A few minutes later, as you watch the Noxubee County High school senior stroke his burgeoning goatee, a smile comes across your face and you see why the nickname fits him so well.
No, not the moniker "June bug" that was given to Barnett by his mother, Lakeisha Hunt, and probably is more recognizable. The one you're thinking of is "old man," which is the one members of the Noxubee County High football team are more apt to use around one of the veterans of the reigning 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state champions.
Sherri Coale has been around basketball long enough to know how to spot a future coach.
The Oklahoma women's basketball coach said it doesn't matter whether a player is a point guard, forward, or center. She said the key to spotting a player who looks like she will have an ability become a coach is finding an individual who can convey what they know about the game to their peers.
Coale didn't have to watch Dionnah Jackson long to figure out she had a future coach in the making.
April Reese and Abigail Wise knew they were going to have to step into bigger roles this year on the Starkville High School volleyball team.
Coming off the program's best season in history and losing several key performers, including seniors Khris Carr and Vicky Vo, Reese and Wise realize they are going to have to make their presence known at the net if Starkville is going to return to the playoffs and build on its first playoff victories and a trip to the Class III North State title match.
The significance didn't hit DJ Sanders until she heard the national anthem.
Up until that point, Sanders enjoyed her opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world as a member of the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team, but the enormity of the moment didn't sink in until "The Star
Spangled Banner" started to play.
That's when the fact that she had just won a gold medal representing her country hit her.
MACON -- Seven area teams will help kick off the 2015 prep football season this weekend at the New Hope High School Jamboree at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium.
Amory will take on New Hope at 7 tonight to kick off the two-day event. Action will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with East Webster taking on Hamilton. Aberdeen vs. Forest (11 a.m.), Columbus vs. Louisville (1 p.m.), Holmes Central vs. Noxubee County (3 p.m.), Kosciusko vs. West Point (5 p.m.), and Grenada vs. Starkville (7 p.m.) will round out the scrimmages that will help set stage for the season openers next week.
STARKVILLE -- Ariana Holmes has seen her mother in pain.
Whether it's in her knee or in her back, Ruthie Holmes lives with a constant reminder of the injury she suffered working as a member of the California Highway Patrol. Through all of the visits to the doctor and shots to make her feel more comfortable in the past 20 years, Ruthie Holmes hasn't allowed that pain to diminish her relationship with Ariana and her other daughter, Bri.
Gabe Poe never let his size stop him from making a tackle.
Whether it was at West Oktibbeha County High School, East Mississippi Community College, West Alabama, or North Alabama, Poe made a habit of flying around the football field and being a nuisance on defense. Listed at 5-foot-8, 210 pounds in his final season at North Alabama, Poe led the team with 128 tackles, including 77 solo stops and 10 tackles for loss. He helped lead the team to a 10-3 record, a share of the Gulf South Conference Championship, and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs in 2013.
Leadership isn't a singular word to Ross Bjork.
Consider June 9 to be Tae-kion Reed's introduction to the world of college recruiting.
STARKVILLE -- Tanya de Souza feels good.
CALEDONIA -- Spencer Unruh isn't going to rush things.
Like many high school student-athletes, Unruh plays multiple sports. If it is football season, football is his favorite sport. The same can be said for basketball and baseball when it comes time to play those sports.
But if forced to choose, Unruh said football would be the sport he would play. This season could play a big role in determining how much longer Unruh gets to play football or another sport.
MACON -- Jeffery Simmons is on a mission.
As much as you might think Simmons might want to add to an already impressive list of college suitors, the Noxubee County High School senior defensive lineman has another goal that has motivated him throughout the offseason.
"I want to help my team get back to state," Simmons said.
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