Sometimes, the desire to teach the basics trumps the rush of coaching at a higher level. Known as "moving down the ladder," coaches who leave the college game to work with high school athletes often rediscover the joy of developing a player from scratch. They're taken back to a time when they were slightly older than their pupils, teaching the game while still in their own coaching infancy.
Michael Bradley hopes he sees a different group tonight. It has been one week since Bradley and his New Hope High School football team stumbled in a season-opening loss to Tupelo. The loss sapped some of the optimism to the start of a season many consider could be even better than the Trojans' Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half runner-up finish in 2009.
Brad Butler has coached at enough levels to know football is football. Through the differences in size, strength and speed. Butler has seen in his time coaching in high school and in college and at the professional level that football is basically the same. The objective for all coaches is to find a way to get the maximum effort and focus from their players every day so they can give their best effort on game day.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School's volleyball team had one hiccup in its 3-1 win against Caledonia in Thursday's rematch -- an all too familiar one. After cruising to a commanding 2-0 lead, the Lady Jackets stumbled in a third-set loss that nixed a straight-sets win, but more importantly drew critical analysis from their head coach. Starkville coach Lauren Love was happy to see her team extend its home unbeaten streak to five games, but bemoaned a lapse in focus and poor court organization in the third set. Starkville nearly lost the first set after Caledonia (10-7) went on a 9-0 tear to tie the set at 20
STARKVILLE -- Through two weeks, the Starkville High School football team's defense has been dominant. Now comes a championship-caliber test against No. 2-ranked Meridian.
Tyrone Shorter has seen the opponents come and go. Whether it has been Aberdeen, Columbus, Meridian, New Hope, or Starkville, to name just a few, the Noxubee County High School football program always has looked to schedule the toughest teams possible.
In struggling to a 1-9 record a season ago, the South Lamar Stallions were served their share of humble pie.. South Lamar lost eight games by 26 points or more, and for the season was outscored 370-121. Using last season as motivation, this season has started off much better for the Stallions. South Lamar kicked off the season Friday by beating rival Lamar County 27-20 to avenge a 61-20 setback, its worse loss of 2009.
MILLPORT, Ala. -- Jordan Smith knew he had to take control. Faced with the challenge of transitioning from halfback to quarterback, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior wasn't sure how he would fair in his first action at quarterback since his pee wee football days.
Call it what you will -- mojo, rhythm, or focus -- but the Victory Christian volleyball team had it working in the final two games Monday night. The Lady Eagles needed every last bit of momentum they could muster to stave off elimination and rally for a 3-2 victory against Pickens Academy.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- The Pickens Academy varsity cheerleaders attended the UCA/AISA Cheer camp in Montgomery, Ala., and returned home wiith the state championship trophy. The cheerleaders prepared for the camp all summer that was held July 19-23. Their extra effort paid off when they earned the 2010- 2011 Alabama Independent School Association Varsity East Division state champion cheerleading squad, first place in the home pom competition, first place in extreme routine and second place in camp cheer awards.
TUPELO -- Anticipation was high in the Starkville High School cross country camp entering Saturday's season opener. The Yellow Jackets didn't disappoint. Starkville's boys finished second in the Tupelo Cross Country Invitational, finishing behind the host team in the Class 4A-6A run. Starkville assistant coach Joe MacGown was exited about the meet, believing the Yellow Jackets made strides in closing the gap between themselves and Tupelo.
TUPELO -- The New Hope High School football team took pride last season in its ability to deliver a big play when it needed one. The Trojans' knack for timing helped them beat Jackson Callaway and Ridgeland in dramatic fashion and advance to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half title game. Those big plays were nowhere to be found Friday night in the 2010 season opener against Tupelo. Instead, Ashton Shumpert took center stage for the Golden Wave, rushing for two touchdowns and returning an interception for another to lead Tupelo to a 33-23 victory.
Harold Wisdom doesn't have age on his side when it comes time to thinking about past decisions that can help him when a game in on the line. But the first-year Winston Academy football head coach didn't need experience to know his team was going to go for a victory. On the road, the decision to eschew a potential game-tying point after kick might have made for a long ride back home to Louisville if it didn't work.
CRAWFORD -- A traditional rivalry turned ugly Friday night as the West Lowndes High School football team topped East Oktibbeha 20-12 on the Titans' home field, but it wasn't due to a lack of sportsmanship. The teams totaled 21 penalties in a stop-and-go game punctuated by offsides calls, delays, and illegal procedures, as both teams continue to shake off the summer rust.
MABEN -- For a quarter, the contrasting styles of the East Webster and West Oktibbeha high school football teams had quite the shootout brewing. Then, the Wolverines started scoring at will and limited the Timberwolves' aerial attack to horizontal passes in a 55-27 victory. East Webster quarterback Ledrick Patterson answered West Oktibbeha's Von Smith's two first-quarter touchdown passes with a pair of touchdown runs.
LOUISVILLE -- There is no doubt who the engineer is going to be on the Starkville High School football train this year. Senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson rushed for a game-high 136 yards on 12 carries and connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass on a beautifully executed fade route to Gabe Myles in the corner of the end zone Friday night to fuel a dominating 34-0 win against Louisville.
MILLPORT, Ala. -- Josh Harper hopes this game sets the tone for the South Lamar High School football team. Locked in a battle with one of its most heated rivals, the Stallions waited until the final minute to work some magic -- and deliver a dagger. Quarterback Jordan Smith lofted an 18-yard scoring strike to Nick Fisher with 53 seconds remaining to help lift South Lamar to a 27-20 victory against Lamar County.
The Victory Christian Academy football team soared past Ellwood Christian, of Selma, Ala., 46-0 in its season opener Friday night. Victory Christian led 20-0 after the first quarter and went on to lead 40-0 at halftime en route to its 23rd win in a row. The Eagles didn't score in the third quarter and tacked on their final points in the fourth. Landon Ellis scored three touchdowns to spark the Eagles. He caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Sims in the first quarter and scored on runs of 54 yards and 28 yards in the second.
The Starkville Academy girls soccer team's goal-scoring trend continued Saturday with an 8-0 win against Heritage Academy. Coming off a 7-5 loss to Madison-Ridgeland Academy, the Lady Volunteers went ahead 3-0 in the first 13 minutes through leading scorers Sallie Kate Richardson, Payton Allen, and Tiffany Huddleston. Richardson scored in each half, and Huddleston and Allen each had hat tricks to help push Starkville Academy to 3-4 and 2-1 in conference play.
TUPELO -- Turnovers and big plays never are the right mixture. The New Hope High School football team discovered that Friday night in a painful season-opening lesson.
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