ABERDEEN — With go-to player Jameika Hoskins slowed by a knee injury, senior Sommer Burnett picked up the slack and led the host Aberdeen High School volleyball team to a 3-1 win against Caledonia here Thursday evening. Burnett, who also is the sister of Aberdeen High coach Marquis Burnett, turned in an outstanding performance in a matchup of unbeaten (4-0) division rivals.
STEENS — There are no timeouts in soccer. The fluidity in the action forces coaches to rely on players to adjust tactics and styles of play in the flow of a match. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t hurt to receive a little assistance. Mother Nature provided just the respite the Heritage Academy girls soccer team needed Thursday night. A stoppage of play due to lightning in the area late in the first half gave the Lady Patriots a chance to regroup.
MACON — The defense doesn’t rest at Noxubee County High School. After losing seven starters to graduation from a unit that played a key role in a run to the Class 4A state title, the Tigers’ 2009 defense is out to show it can build a resume that is even more impressive. Noxubee County (3-0) is coming off a 28-0 shutout against Murrah last week. The shutout was the Tigers’ second this season. They will try for No. 3 at 7:30 tonight when they to Greenville Weston.
MACON — Ronnie Sciple didn’t plan on having a week off this early in the season. But after a less than scintillating performance in a season-opening victory against Immanuel Christian, Sciple found plenty for his Central Academy football team to do last week in an off week. The Vikings will try to implement what they worked on in that off week at 7 tonight when they play host to The Veritas School.
After soaring to victory the first three games of the season, the Victory Christian Eagles anticipate their first challenge of the season tonight (7) when they travel to Gardendale, Ala., to play Tabernacle Christian Victory Christian coach Chris Hamm expects Tabernacle Christian to be the Eagles’ first test of the season after beating Flint Hill Christian (57-16), Central Christian Academy (62-6), and New Life Christian (69-16). “I expect it to be a tough game,” Hamm said. “That’s always a tough place to play. I know they beat Tuscaloosa Christian the first week of the season, and Tuscaloosa has a pretty good team this year. “We need a tough game. We’re going to see what we’re made of this week. We’ve won some games already, but we’ve played young and inexperienced teams, so we look forward to the challenge.”
Bobby Berry hopes to make it two in a row this week. A week ago, the West Lowndes High School football team went on the road and defeated Class 4A Caledonia. The Class 2A Panthers improved to 3-0 with the victory and set the stage for this week’s game against Class 3A Philadelphia (3-0). And while Berry credits Boykin and the Confederates, he believes tonight’s (7:30) home game should be a bigger test against another higher classification opponent.
Brad Butler and Mac Barnes agree on one thing: Their teams will face their toughest tests of the season tonight. The coaches are eager to find out which team’s strength will win out tonight (7) when Heritage Academy (3-0) goes on the road to take on The Lamar School (3-0). The size and the experience of the Patriots’ line play figures to be a strength Butler’s team will try to exploit against an opponent that has only one player who weighs more than 200 pounds on its defensive line and one two who tip the scales at more than 200 pounds on the offensive line.
The matchup between the Starkville and West Point High School football teams pits friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and brother against brother. That will be the case at 7:30 tonight when Starkville offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Rob Morgan and West Point wide receiver coach Brett Morgan stand on opposite sidelines. Brett, who has been on the Green Wave staff since January, anticipates a fun night and hopes to enjoy it more than his big brother.
Neil Macdonald knows there aren’t any guarantees in soccer. But Macdonald has seen plenty of positives and improvement in the first two weekends of the season to believe his Mississippi State women’s soccer team can maintain its success. The Lady Bulldogs (4-0) will try to continue their winning streak at 7 tonight when they play host to Troy University in their home opener at the MSU Soccer Field MSU will close the weekend with a 1 p.m. match Sunday against East Tennessee State.
SCOOBA — Randall Mackey completed 28 of 39 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns Thursday night to lead the No. 2 East Mississippi Community College football team to a 41-14 victory against Holmes C.C. at Sullivan-Windham Field. The win helped EMCC improve to 3-0 and helped set up a matchup against defending MACJC state champion and No. 11 nationally ranked Gulf Coast C.C. at 7 p.m. Thursday. “We played a sloppy game,” EMCC coach Buddy Stephens said. “Whether it was the weather or just our playing style, we have to work on perfecting our plays.”
Greg Knox has plenty of weapons at Mississippi State. As the running backs coach, Knox has a reason to smile with three seniors and one sophomore at his position. “We’ve got good depth at running back,” Knox said. “Our talent is good there. We try to use all of those guys because they can do different things.” Knox, who was an assistant coach at Auburn University from 1999-2008, said production from the running backs will be key Saturday when MSU takes on Auburn at 6 p.m. (FOX Sports Net South) at Auburn.
STARKVILLE — Dan Mullen finds it interesting that the spread offense has caught on across the country. The Mississippi State football coach has watched as numerous high schools, colleges, and nearly every NFL team has adopted an offense he discovered when he was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 1999.
Like Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik sees room for improvement for his team from week one. Chizik doesn’t know if the Tigers are ready to enter a Southeastern Conference game yet, but he’s anxious to find out how they play against the Bulldogs.
Phillip Dimino and Brett Spencer are used to battling the stopwatch. While their East Mississippi Community College teammates face off against 300-pound linemen or blitzing linebackers, time is the toughest adversary for Dimino and Spencer. When you kick the football in college, one or two tenths of a second can be the difference between getting off a successful punt or converting a field goal or extra point.
Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph promises his players if they stay in the program he’ll find a place for them to play. Demarcus Brooks is a believer. Brooks, a 2004 graduate of West Lowndes High School, has found a home on the offensive line as a his senior at Mississippi College.
STARKVILLE — It doesn’t surprise Chuck Friend or Bracky Brett that Travis Macon went into coaching. While Friend and Brett were coaching at Starkville High School, they got to watch Macon mature as a football player.
Ken Adams isn’t going to allow the Lamar County High School football team to get overconfident. Adams wants his players to forget the team’s 2-0 start to the season and focus on each day leading up to the next game.
Landon Ellis was a little embarrassed. The Victory Christian junior was enjoying one of the best games of his career Friday night against New Life Academy, but he felt bad his teammates weren’t getting in on the fun. Ellis rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns, returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Parker Eaves to help the Eagles improve to 2-0. For his accomplishments, Ellis is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
MACON — Kylie Lockhart didn’t want to be late. She also didn’t want to give the Central Academy fast-pitch softball team an opportunity to send Tuesday’s game into extra innings. So the Starkville Academy center fielder took care of two problems at the same time. Lockhart’s running catch in right-center field to open the bottom of the seventh inning helped snuff out a potential rally and allowed Starkville Academy to hold on for a 4-3 victory in a non-district game.
The bull’s eye on the back of the East Mississippi Community College football team grew even bigger Tuesday. Coming off season-opening victories against Copiah-Lincoln and Jones County, EMCC (2-0) moved up four places to No. 2 in the latest NJCAA/JC Football.com regular-season poll. The ranking is the program’s highest in National Junior College Athletic Association football in school history. EMCC, which plays host to Holmes C.C. (0-2) at 7 Thursday night at Sullivan-Windham Field, moved up in the poll after the first four teams lost.
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