Monthly Archives: September 2007

Late Hits – Week 5

Notes, numbers and sidelights from Friday night.

• There were five touchdowns of 40 yards or more, including four from at least 56 yards away, in a 44-42 Aberdeen win against Nettleton. For Aberdeen, Jamerson Love had a 43-yard run, Tevin Blanchard caught a 69-yard pass from Marcus Hinton, and Erik Buchanan caught a 56-yarder. For the Tigers, Marcus Sanders had a 56-yard run to open the second half, and Jami Boland threw a 79-yard pass to Jeremy Jones.

Twice in the game, the teams swapped touchdowns in a brief period. Both scored in a 48-second span to open the third quarter, and again within 1 minute, 12 seconds spanning the third and fourth quarters. – Brandon Speck, Amory Advertiser

• In its 33-27 loss to Ripley, Corinth ran the shotgun the entire game, and Zerrick Payne, a junior, managed it well for only his fifth game as a quarterback. Diante Curlee, a sophomore, had six catches for 130 yards and one TD. Fellow wideout Erick Thomas, a junior – listed as 6-foot-3, 200 pounds – had seven catches out of ten chances for 76 yards.

With the game tied at 7-all early in the second quarter, Ripley set up for a field goal at the Corinth 16 (holder lined up at the 24-yard line). The Tigers ran a nifty fake kick – Ripley’s kicker is Will Wallis, the QB – and finished with a pass to Tootie Carruth for what looked like a touchdown, but the refs said the holder’s knee was down when he got the snap, and called the play dead. The same thing happened when they tried this in last year’s North Mississippi final against Nettleton. – Jay Tidwell, Daily Journal correspondent

• Circle Oct. 19 on your calendar. That’s when Okolona meets East Webster, and when the Region 1-1A title will most likely be decided. Both teams have now defeated Calhoun City, but a tough Vardaman team awaits East Webster this week (Okolona beat the Rams 7-0 in OT, so they could be a spoiler). After watching the Wolverines run past his team Friday (45-12), Calhoun City coach Mike Ray had plenty of praise for his conquerors: “They’re so explosive. They had a lot of athletes all over the field and made a lot of plays.”

• Walnut is 5-0! Great, but the combined records of their vanquished opponents: 4-21, and three of those wins come from Mooreville. Jury remains out.

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Northeast Mississippi Rewind

A little technical difficulty this week…no music.

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Quickie Blog

Some random, unfiltered thoughts about Friday night’s football action before I go to bed:

• I didn’t have the guts to even say to myself that Aberdeen would beat Nettleton. Had I made a public prediction, it would’ve been something like Tigers 31, Bulldogs 27. Alas, Aberdeen won 44-42 (excellent story written by Brandon Speck, by the way) and showed that last year means jack squat: Nettleton the defending 3A north champ? Aberdeen 0-10? So what?

• FYI, you’ve got my respect, Tishomingo County.

• Early Daily Journal Player of the Year candidates: Offense – Bruce RB Richard Freelon; Tupelo WR/KR Chad Bumphis; Shannon QB Michael Ledbetter; Defense – Itawamba AHS nose guard William Shumpert; Starkville LB Robert Tate; Shannon CB Arceto Clark. Thoughts? (I just know I’m forgetting somebody.)

• After deadline tonight, we bounced around the idea of having a “Bottom 10” rankings, but we wisely nixed it. But not until we’d thoroughly entertained ourselves with the possibilities. … Thoughts?

• Possible headline for the next Jaquise Cook and Michael Poole rampage: “Ripley Cooks up a Poole party.” Genius.

• I heard Starkville coach Bill Lee sat eight of his starters for an unspecified disciplinary violation. Yellowjackets still beat DeSoto Central 31-19. Might need those guys against Tupelo next week.

Jonathan Banks, the East Webster QB, managed to refer to himself in the third person while being humble. “It wasn’t just all Jonathan Banks,” he said after his four-touchdown performance. Kid’s got a future.

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Softball: Clash of the 3A Titans

Nettleton’s Morgan Knowles

Yes, I’m blogging on something other than football on a Friday. Get over it.

But the slow-pitch softball playoffs are around the corner – they start Tuesday, Oct. 9 – and the most fascinating battle for the state championship can be found in Class 3A. In the North, you’ve got Booneville, Mooreville and Nettleton all with legit shots at going to Jackson and winning it all.

If past experience counts for anything, Mooreville’s won four state championships – neither Booneville nor Nettleton have one. But then, Nettleton’s been to the playoffs seven of the last eight years under coach Dana Rhea, and Booneville is the Daily Journal’s No. 1-ranked team and playing like it.

I’ll make a not-so-bold prediction (then again, anything can happen in slow-pitch): One of those three teams will be in Jackson, and I see that team winning it.

A quick handicapping of the respective teams:

• As mentioned, Booneville’s on fire. The Lady Blue Devils (22-4), coached by Tommy Fraiser, are led by big-time hitters Sara Beth Michael and Raven Combs. Fraiser said he feels his team is due to make a title run; everything is in place for it. Booneville can clinch the Region 1-3A regular season title with one more win.

• Mooreville (21-7) had a mysterious slump earlier this season but seems to have snapped out of it, having won eight of its last nine. That run started with a 9-2 defeat of Nettleton on Sept. 17. The core group of Lady Troopers that has been together so long – Jade Hankins, Ann Howell, Rachel Tally , et al. – won’t go quietly.

• That brings me to Nettleton (20-6), a different kind of team from the other two. As Rhea says, his squad has no superstars of the Combs or Tally variety. He’s got just two seniors and starts six, sometimes seven sophomores. But the Lady Tigers won the Region 2-3A regular season title, ahead of Mooreville. Their consistency – that Mooreville loss halted a 16-game win streak – will serve them well in the playoffs.

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Blog Bonus – East Webster at Calhoun City

Friday: East Webster (4-0, 4-0 Region 1-1A) at Calhoun City (3-1, 3-1), 7 p.m.

See more on this game and many others in Friday’s Daily Journal.

East Webster’s Jonathan Banks

Before the season began, Calhoun City coach Mike Ray said this defensive unit was one of the best he’s had. He’s about to find out for sure.

East Webster brings one of the state’s most well-rounded offenses in Class 1A, where most teams run first and pass on the passing game. Not the Wolverines. QB Jonathan Banks, a junior, has thrown for 352 yards and five TDs, and it would be more, but he hasn’t had to play a whole game – East Webster’s average margin of victory is 39 points.

“We’re having to prepare a little bit more because of the extra weapons they do have,” Ray said. “They have a passing game, and they can do it really well.”

Calhoun City’s front seven has proved tough to crack, and the secondary will have to prove the same. Senior cornerback Senotris Herrod will lead that effort; as a freshman, he was second in the state in interceptions, and “since then, there haven’t been a whole lot of passes thrown his way,” Ray said.

Ray has faith in two freshmen who rotate on the other side – Aaron Thompson and Demarius Howard. “They’re going to be something special one of these days.”

Those corners will also have to contend with East Webster tailback Reginald O’Briant, who’s rushed for 579 yards and can hit the corner fast.

There’s a good chance this game will decide the Region 1-1A champion, though Okolona did beat Calhoun City two weeks ago. Ray gave the Chieftains credit, but he also said the Wildcats’ performance was “one of the worst games I’ve been associated with here in a long time. Guys weren’t really focused on the game.”

Can’t do that this week.

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Predictions!

Yay, a new weekly feature! Gimme your predictions on the following 10 games (no easy ones). Whoever has the best record will be paid a high compliment from yours truly (example: “Your complexion is fabulous!”).

Don’t forget to catch the high schools page in Friday’s Daily Journal, where Gene Phelps and I make a few predictions; lots of other good content, too.

• Tupelo (3-1) at Columbus (3-1)

• New Albany (1-3) at Itawamba AHS (3-1)

• Cleveland (3-1) at Oxford (1-3)

• Nettleton (3-1) at Aberdeen (2-2)

• Winona (3-1) at Amory (1-3)

• Mooreville (3-1) at Booneville (3-1)

• Corinth (1-3) at Ripley (4-0)

• Baldwyn (3-1) at Eupora (4-0)

• East Webster (4-0) at Calhoun City (3-1)

• Thrasher (1-3) at Hatley (0-4)

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Northeast Mississippi Scouting Report

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