Football Notes

Photo by C. Todd Sherman

A NeMiss player will start at quarterback Thursday night for the North in the Bernard Blackwell Football Classic (7 p.m. at Mississippi College). The question is, which one?

As of Tuesday afternoon, Starkville’s Brad Henderson appeared to have the edge over Shannon’s Michael Ledbetter, which is a bit surprising. Henderson had a solid year, completing 53 percent of his throws for about 1,500 yards, but his numbers don’t stack up against Ledbetter’s –  2,705 yards and 27 touchdowns.

“I think if things don’t change, Brad will start, and that’ll probably be somewhat of a surprise,” said North head coach Jamie Mitchell, who as Itawamba AHS coach the past two years has seen plenty of Ledbetter. “He’s handled under center and in the gun a little better than Mike has. … I think Brad’s just a very polished quarterback.”

Henderson, an East Mississippi CC signee, wasn’t even on the roster until Clinton’s Wesley Mounger backed out. Starkville coach Bill Lee isn’t surprised that Henderson will start.

“Brad’s a pretty good quarterback,” Lee said. “If you remember, he had great stats his junior year. We were four-wide and had those speedsters out there.”

Shumpert and MSU
William Shumpert, Mitchell’s star defensive lineman and fullback at IAHS, verbally committed to Mississippi State earlier this week. The 2007 Daily Journal Defensive Player of the Year will play offense in Starkville. At 6-foot, 230 pounds, he’s built for that role.

“I think his size pushes him toward playing fullback,” Mitchell said. “But he may get a shot on the other side of the ball as well.”

Shumpert’s commitment came after he attended a camp there last weekend. As a junior, he made 84 tackles and 13 sacks.

DeSoto gets burned
DeSoto Central’s stadium sustained damage after two kids set the bleachers on fire last Friday. The Jaguars will likely have to play some home games at an alternate site until the damage is fully repaired.

“I was absolutely stunned that a fire could do that much damage to those aluminum bleachers,” Ken Reid, the school’s assistant superintendent for business, told the Commercial-Appeal.

DeSoto Central, which competes against Tupelo and Starkville in Division 1-5A, opens the season at Bruce on Aug. 29. Its first home game is scheduled for Sept. 5 against Byhalia.

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