CALEDONIA -- Kaylee Jernigan was disappointed, but not mad. After a post-match team meeting, she walked away with a smile on her face. She showed a bounce in her step as she ran off to help her teammates take down the volleyball net, gather up the volleyballs, and get the court ready to play basketball.
Sean Harrison has talked all season about how important it is for the Heritage Academy Patriots to play physical football. It says something about the Patriots' progress that Harrison can proclaim his players delivered the most physical week 10 of practice he has been a part of as a coach. Heritage Academy's ability to continue to play that brand of football will be crucial at 7 tonight when it plays host to Leake Academy in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Class AAA, District 2 regular-season finale at C.L. Mitchell Field.
CALEDONIA -- Daily improvement has been a key for Andy Crotwell ever since he took over as head coach of the Caledonia High School football team.
MACON -- The march is nearly complete. But Noxubee County High School football coach Tyrone Shorter doesn't want his team to look ahead to what is coming down the road. Instead of losing focus and jumping ahead a week to a showdown against Houston, the No. 2 team in the state's Class 4A rankings, or the start of the playoffs and a quest for a third-straight state championship, Shorter wants his players' attention solely on Caledonia.
CALEDONIA -- Outside hitter Tori Brooks and middle blocker Cheyenne Ruth realized their team needed a lift at the same time. Brooks and Ruth responded with back-to-back kills to spark a 13-1 run for the Caledonia High School volleyball team. Caledonia took control from there, beating Cleveland 3-0 Tuesday night in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class II playoffs. Set scores were 25-14, 25-8, 25-13.
PHILADELPHIA -- Cheering from the dugout is a constant in softball. Some teams take pride in devising catchy new phrases, while others stick with familiar sayings to motivate their hitters. The Neshoba Central High School slow-pitch softball team doesn't need words to provide a spark, but it showed Tuesday it is just as skilled delivering a timely phrase as it is peppering a softball.
CALEDONIA -- It's safe to say Samantha Brooks was curious in the preseason when asked how the Caledonia High School volleyball team was going to fare in 2016. On paper, Brooks knew her Lady Confederates didn't have a lot of size, which meant they weren't going to be a dominating blocking team. With a total of five freshmen and sophomores on the 12-player varsity roster, Brooks also wasn't sure how Caledonia's youth would blend with its experience, especially seniors Kaylee Jernigan, Gracie McCleskey, Jensen Reed, and Cheyenne Ruth.
STARKVILLE -- Sydney Passons has seen enough movies to wonder if time really slows down in real life like it does on the big screen. Last Monday, the Starkville Academy senior forward experienced just how quickly events appear to come to a stand still. Passons doesn't remember the things her teammates yelled to her after she collected a loose ball in overtime because she didn't hear them.
Megan James will play softball this weekend. The only problem is the New Hope High School junior doesn't know if she will be in Ridgeland or Tupelo, or if she will be playing slow- or fast-pitch softball.
Gary Griffin wants to keep a good thing going. As a longtime assistant coach to Sammy Smith, Griffin saw the positive effects of the Columbus High School boys basketball team's work in the community. He also saw how fans in the community came out and supported the Falcons when they played at home. Last season, Griffin saw that support and excitement increase behind a team many believed could win the program's first state championship.
OXFORD -- It wasn't easy for the New Hope High School football team to take the field Monday for practice. Four New Hope High students, including two senior football players, were involved in a car accident last Saturday. According to police reports, the vehicle ran off the road and flipped, ejecting all four. The football players were taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Tupelo.
LAKE CORMORANT -- Junior Marcus Murphy collected 395 all-purpose yards Friday night to help the West Point High School football team overcome a slow start to beat Lake Cormorant 39-17 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A, Region 1 game. West Point (7-1, 4-0 region) won its sixth-straight game to clinch a berth in the Class 5A playoffs. Murphy had three touchdowns and rushed for 199 yards.
KOSCIUSKO -- The Caledonia High School football team ended a four-year wait just in the nick of time Friday night. In the process, the Confederates kept their playoff hopes alive. Senior quarterback Spencer Unruh threw for three touchdowns, and senior running back Zion Ford rushed for 151 yards to lead Caledonia to a 31-14 victory against Kosciusko in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A, Region 4 game.
Friday night was the Columbus High School football team's time to feel good again. Columbus last lost three-straight games midway through the 2014 season. That streak is still intact thanks to a 49-33 victory against Southaven in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A, Region 1 game on Homecoming at Falcon Field.
ALICEVILLE, Ala. -- The Aliceville High School football team ran its winning streak to seven Friday night with a 48-12 victory against Greene County in Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) action. Aliceville already had clinched the top spot in Class 2A, Region 4. The Yellow Jackets will play host to a first-round playoff game Nov. 4. The Yellow Jackets have won by an average of 40 points in the streak.
MADISON -- Inconsistency has been an issue all season for the Starkville High School football team. On one hand, the Yellow Jackets' defense often has provided stout, gritty play. Unfortunately, Starkville's offense has clicked in the same way, which has left veteran coach Ricky Woods searching for ways to find a spark.
Sean Harrison feels the Heritage Academy football team has accomplished plenty through eight games, so he doesn't need any measuring sticks to help him determine how much progress his players have made since the beginning of the season. But it's natural to want to test yourself against the best teams, which is why Harrison is eager to find out how his team reacts at 7 tonight when it takes on Indianola Academy.
Kris Pickle isn't sure how his team will react tonight. Ordinarily, any New Hope High School team would be sky high and eagerly anticipating a game against Oxford, which is one of its biggest rivals. At 7 tonight, though, Pickle doesn't know how the New Hope High football team will respond for its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 1 matchup against Oxford.
LOUISVILLE -- The saying "if you have two quarterbacks you don't have one," doesn't describe Noxubee County High School football coach Tyrone Shorter's situation. Shorter named sophomore Maliek Stallings the starter before the season and has stuck with him through the highs and lows. Last week, junior backup Armoni Clark came on in relief after Stallings started slowly and provided a spark in a victory against Leake Central.
LOUISVILLE -- The Noxubee County High School football team had four turnovers in the first half turnovers Thursday of its Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A, Region 4 game against Louisville. Fortunately, the Tigers had one more takeaway in them for the second half.
1. Seniors Richardson, Chapel poised to play key roles COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Noxubee County isn't looking past Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Leadership will be key for MSU women LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Caledonia volleyball team loses to Lewisburg HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Playoff fates will be on line in Week 10 LOCAL COLUMNS