STARKVILLE -- There was no question in Chase Nicholson's mind that the Starkville Academy football team was going to respond. The only thing Nicholson didn't know was how Starkville Academy planned to bounce back following a 40-0 loss to Lamar School on Sept. 9.
In baseball, hitters are "seeing the ball well" when they're in a groove. In basketball, shooters are "in the zone" when that feeling comes over them that they can't miss. The Heritage Academy offensive linemen showed Friday night that even big boys up front in the trenches can get into a rhythm that makes an entire group feel like it can't do anything wrong. Judging by the numbers, the Patriots came pretty close to realizing that goal.
CALEDONIA -- It's not the shoes.
CALEDONIA - "Decades of Domination - It's Our Tradition" was the message posted on visiting New Hope's run-through banner here Friday evening.
WEST POINT - West Point was gracious enough to let Noxubee County perform the opening act Friday night.
WEST POINT - Forty-seven unanswered points, three turnovers and 11 penalties committed.
Jumping to a quick lead in the first quarter, the Heritage Academy Patriots scored quick and often throughout the game to maintain the lead and beat the visiting Pisgah Dragons 56-49.
MERIDIAN -- The Starkville High School football team ran off the field with heads hung down.
HAMILTON -- Hamilton High School finally enjoyed the feeling of winning a football game again Friday night.
VERNON, Ala. -- Lamar County High School moved to 3-0 in Alabama High School Activities Association (AHSAA) Class 2A, Region 8 play with a 44-7 win over Hatton Friday night at George Bell Stadium.
CALEDONIA -- Andre Erby rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, and returned a kickoff for a score Friday night to lead the New Hope High School football team to a 49-10 victory against Caledonia. The victory helped New Hope (3-1) extend its winning streak to 12 in the series dating back to Caledonia's last victory against New Hope in 2004.
STARKVILLE -- Sydney Passons isn't good at disguising her emotions. That's because the Starkville Academy senior often is her worst critic on the soccer field. If she is a touch off on a pass or doesn't hit a shot just right, Passons is apt to show her frustration in a variety of ways. In addition to contorted facial countenances, Passons has a habit of using her hands to show her displeasure.
CALEDONIA -- Andy Crotwell and Kris Pickle have used bye weeks early in the 2016 season to gauge where their teams can improve. At 7 tonight, the Caledonia and New Hope high school football coaches will get a chance to put what they have learned to the test when the Lowndes County rivals square off in Caledonia. WJEC-FM (106.5) will broadcast the game live.
STEENS -- The sight of another football player limping around the hallways at Columbus Christian Academy isn't a good sign. But there RJ DeLoach was Wednesday, wearing a Tennessee Volunteers warmup jacket/top and moving slowly to class. With starting quarterback Dawson Shaw already out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, the thought of playing without DeLoach, an experienced two-way contributor, was a sobering thought for coach Greg Watkins, especially with the team's Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Class A-AA, District 2 opener against Winona Christian set for 7 p.m. Friday in Steens.
West Point High School football coach Chris Chambless loves playing neighboring county rival games. After falling to Starkville and beating Columbus, West Point finishes its Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) non-region slate by playing host to Noxubee County at 7 p.m. Friday at Hamblin Stadium in West Point.
STARKVILLE -- Cameron Gardner looks down at his phone and sees a text message from A.J. Brown. The Starkville High School football wide receiver has received text messages from the former Starkville wide receiver before every game this season. The text messages from the Ole Miss freshman have helped boost the confidence of Gardner, who said the encouraging messages help him get his mind right before he takes the field.
MACON -- Tyrone Shorter knows how this story plays out. Regardless of classification, the Noxubee County High School football team hasn't shied away from playing the state's best teams. Since he replaced M.C. Miller as the head coach in 2010, Shorter has taken that notion to the next degree by filling the Tigers' schedule with local rivals -- West Point, Starkville, Columbus, New Hope -- that play in higher classifications in the Mississippi High School Activities Association -- as well as state powers like Meridian and Kemper County and regional powers from the states of Alabama and Texas.
Friday night sends us past the one-third mark of the prep football season and close to the midway mark. Region play already has begun for Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 1A schools, while Classes 5A and 6A will join next week. The following weeks, Classes 2A through 4A will swing into region action.
WEST POINT -- Chris Craven doesn't have any problem leaving the fate of his football team in the hands of a kicker. The confidence Craven has in Grayson Easterling is magnified because the 5-foot-11, 140-pound sophomore is in only his second year with the Oak Hill Academy varsity football team. Prior to Friday night, Easterling had attempted only one game-winning field goal. But Easterling's inexperience in last-second situations didn't factor into Craven's decision to send his sophomore into the game to attempt the game-winner against West Memphis Christian.
STARKVILLE -- Brooks Roberts never complained he had to show up early and leave late. He was doing the thing he discovered he was supposed to do in life: coach baseball. As an assistant for the Starkville Academy baseball team, Roberts was in charge of making sure the field was ready for practice or a game, the pitchers were in the right mind-set to be successful, and staying late after the game to get the field ready for the next day.
1. Mullen balances calling plays, running team COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Columbus awaits region showdown vs. No. 3 Tupelo HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Shorter hopes Noxubee County can follow 2015 path HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Offensive line has fueled Starkville High's success HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Plenty of big region matchups set for Friday LOCAL COLUMNS