LOCAL COLUMNS

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Defense comes up big for West Point

Posted 12/7/2016 in Local Columns

West Point High School football players one after another said the same thing in the preseason interviews in August. The buzz words were "pride" and "tradition." The phrases included "long time coming" and "ready to win state."

Clinton High's Akers has one more shot to win title

Posted 12/1/2016 in Local Columns

This is Cam Akers' final opportunity. The Clinton High School senior, who many consider the state's top prep football player, will have a final chance to win a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state championship at 7 p.m. Friday when Clinton faces Pearl at Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.

Walters column: West Point stands two wins away from Class 5A title

Posted 11/23/2016 in Local Columns

Twenty-four high school football teams will have one extra reason to say thanks today.

Former MSU great Thomas likes what she sees in Bulldogs

Posted 11/23/2016 in Local Columns

STARKVILLE LaToya Thomas was part of the first hey day of Mississippi State women's basketball. The Greenville product lit up scoreboards across the Southeastern Conference en route to a career in which she was a four-time Kodak All-American and led the Bulldogs to the second round of the NCAA tournament three times. But Thomas, who is MSU's all-time leading scorer with 2,981 points, never played before a crowd of more than 6,055 at Humphrey Coliseum. That's why it was so special for the three-time player of the year finalist to be back at the Hump on Sunday to see a crowd of 7,762 on hand to watch then-No. 10 MSU beat then-No. 8 Texas 79-68 before a national television audience on the SEC Network.

Noxubee County, West Point last teams standing

Posted 11/17/2016 in Local Columns

Almost all prep football coaches enjoy practicing on Thanksgiving Day. School isn't in session, so it usually involves a workout in the crisp, early morning air. After a couple of hours of work, teams usually will break and share a Thanksgiving meal. Booster clubs have been known to buy large numbers of turkeys to make the day complete.

EMCC likely will have to wait until 2017 for title

Posted 11/16/2016 in Local Columns

East Mississippi Community College's season of redemption likely won't end with a national championship. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) announced the pairings for eight bowl games Tuesday. No. 3 EMCC (10-1) will face No. 13 Kilgore College (Texas) (6-4) at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in the Mississippi Bowl.

EMCC will play for state title Saturday

Posted 11/11/2016 in Local Columns

SCOOBA State championship day is Saturday in Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) football. East Mississippi Community College football players and coaches won't take the opportunity for granted when No. 3 EMCC (9-1) plays host to No. 4 Northwest Mississippi C.C. (9-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sullivan-Windham Field in Scooba. EMCC beat Northwest Mississippi C.C. 51-32 on Oct. 15.

Playoff races heat up for remaining local teams

Posted 11/10/2016 in Local Columns

The countdown is on for Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state championship weekend at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville. Columbus, West Point, Noxubee County, and West Lowndes will represent the area as state championship hopefuls. Each team must win three games to get to Starkville. As the temperatures drop, we know the football is going to heat up. In the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) playoffs, Heritage Academy is one win away from playing for a state title. Here is what to watch for in Week No. 13:

Walters column: Columbus thankful for playoff opportunity

Posted 11/8/2016 in Local Columns

While it took longer than most expected, the Columbus High School football team finally passed the test.

Cohen took winding road at MSU's job as AD

Posted 11/6/2016 in Local Columns

Everyone has special memories. My four-year odyssey as a student at Mississippi State is highlighted by several of those moments, including a snow storm that delayed an algebra exam until 10 p.m. on a Saturday. It also includes the time my clothes were placed in the washing machine at Suttle Hall. Two hours later, someone dried my clothes, folded them, and placed them in my basket.

Columbus, Starkville will determine playoff fates Friday

Posted 11/3/2016 in Local Columns

The final week of the regular season isn't complicated for the Columbus and Starkville high school football teams. Each squad needs a win to make the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A playoffs. Around the state, few regular-season games hold the drama of Starkville at Clinton and Hernando at Columbus.

Walters column: Columbus, Starkville face must-wins for playoffs

Posted 11/1/2016 in Local Columns

When the prep football season started in August, Columbus and Starkville were both ranked in several statewide polls.

EMCC basketball teams start season tonight

Posted 11/1/2016 in Local Columns

SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College women's basketball coach Sharon Thompson and men's basketball coach Billy Begley take pride in their school's football program. "They set the tone on campus for athletics," Thompson said. "They have shown what it takes to win national championships. A high-profile program like that helps grow the student base, but it also helps grow the other sports programs." While many on the EMCC campus are consumed by the No. 3 football team and its pursuit of a state and national championship, it is time for some basketball.

Victory against South Panola would help Columbus' playoff cause

Posted 10/27/2016 in Local Columns

Under coach Randal Montgomery, the Columbus Falcons have made it a habit of playing big football games. Columbus now flirts with statewide rankings and region championships. Crowds have grown, and support is at an all-time high for the program. If you look closely, the Columbus junior high teams were dominant this year. While a huge senior class will graduate this year, there is plenty of reasons to believe the success will continue.

Walters column: Area teams fight for postseason lives Friday

Posted 10/25/2016 in Local Columns

We have now hit the stretch run for Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) football for the 2016 season.

Leadership will be key for MSU women

Posted 10/20/2016 in Local Columns

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.

Playoff fates will be on line in Week 10

Posted 10/20/2016 in Local Columns

Believe it or not, the final week of the regular season is here for Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) teams in Class AAA and Class A/AA. Heritage Academy and Starkville Academy will look to work their way up the seeding charts with critical home wins to complete district play. In the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) ranks, Starkville and New Hope face must-wins at home. Columbus and West Point hit the road needing to win to keep their stocks high. Here is what to watch for week in No. 10:

Pruitt, Noxubee County working toward on another title run

Posted 10/19/2016 in Local Columns

Noxubee County High School sophomore Kyziah Pruitt grew up watching the school's football team. He knew the honor it was going to be to play for Tyrone Shorter. Shorter has worked as a coach at Noxubee County High for 19 years. He served as an assistant and then defensive coordinator for veteran coach M.C. Miller, and played a key role in the program's first state title. Since taking over as coach for Miller in 2010, Shorter has led the Tigers to three more Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A state championships.

EMCC could find needed rival Saturday

Posted 10/14/2016 in Local Columns

During its domination of Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) football this decade, East Mississippi Community College has gotten pretty much whatever it wanted. From favorable bowl assignments to lofty national rankings to signing the best players in the state, coach Buddy Stephens and his staff have put a plan in place to build arguably the nation's best program. What EMCC hasn't had is a rival.

Local teams will face key region games

Posted 10/13/2016 in Local Columns

We are rapidly reaching the end of the prep football season. Some teams already are looking ahead to the playoffs, while others know a win or two is needed right away to ensure a postseason berth. Most of our area teams are traveling this week, so a lot of coaches will talk about the challenges of winning on the road. Regardless of the venue, now is the time, and some teams really need to get busy. Here is what we are watching for in Week No. 9:

 

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