Sleep Deprivation is Fun …

I'm actually asleep in this picture.

I'm actually asleep in this picture.

Especially when you’re hopped up on Amp and Red Bull. Thing is, I’ve never had either one before today. Stuff’s bad for you. But, I worked til 4 a.m. last night on the Football Journal (comes out Sunday!), went to the gym for an hour, grabbed breakfast, took the kids to school, and got back up to the office.

I’m not asking for applause, because poor time management – which has led to this desperate sprint to the finish – deserves none.

Quickly, we had a nice story in today’s Journal about Tupelo football’s Bell twins. Tomorrow, I will have a column on the academies opening their season, and Gene Phelps will file from Tupelo’s scrimmage against West Point, set for tonight, rain permittin’. I was going to check that one out, but I’ll probably crash before then.

Need more Amp. That stuff’s good.

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Something Besides Football

I love football, but I need a quick break from it, and maybe you do, too. So here is some softball to snack on.

Ingomar out-slugged West Union in a 1A showdown last night. Interesting side note: If Ingomar hadn’t gotten booted from the playoffs last year for playing too many games, West Union probably would not have reached the state finals.

Lakyn Nelson, the 2007 Daily Journal Player of the Year, is off to a hot start at North Pontotoc (you’ll recall she transferred from Mooreville in January). Through Monday, Nelson was 16-for-20 at the plate with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

Also, Nettleton (9-1) suffered its first loss last night, 3-2 to Houston (8-3). Maybe the Lady Tigers were still high off Monday’s big win against Mooreville.

Now, back to football.

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[No Subject]

As you can tell, the pressure is starting to get to me.

As you can tell, the pressure is starting to get to me.

I really have nothing to write about, so you can stop reading now if you like. This is what I like to call Hell Week, because it’s the week before the Football Journal publishes. There are two coaches whom I have yet to track down – Marty Warren and Brian Sims, you know who you are – and much writing still needs to be done. Wah, poor me. At least I’ve gotten most of my pictures pulled together.

I can tell you that this year’s Football Journal will be 56 pages and will, of course, contain previews for all 45 high school teams we cover (43 if those coaches don’t call me back). Plus all the college and juco coverage. Something to occupy you: Who do you think will be on the cover? Hint: Four players.

Now, back to work.

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In Today’s Journal

I checked in with three academy teams, who open their season next Friday. We also had an update on Tupelo, which scrimmaged Friday. And Tupelo’s softball team hosted a tournament.

Also, here’s an update on the Tupelo 49ers, who won again in Enid, Okla.

It’s my wife’s 30th birthday today, so I’m checking out. Be back Monday.

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Junior Achievers

Itawamba AHS tailback Deshaun McGaughy is one of the area's top juniors. (Photo by Deste Lee)

Itawamba AHS tailback Deshaun McGaughy is one of the area's top juniors. (Photo by Deste Lee)

Boy, this Football Journal is trying to sneak up on me. It goes to press Aug. 22, publishes Aug. 24. I know it’ll all get done, but until it does, I’ll be stressing.

One element I’m trying to finish up is the Players to Watch list. I’ve about got my 12 seniors nailed down, but I’m still seeking info on the area’s top juniors. I know about a few of the guys – Erik Buchanan (Aberdeen), Michael Carr (West Point), Eric Johnson (New Albany), Deshaun McGaughy (Itawamba AHS), to name a few – but I’ve not had the chance to get the full picture.

This is where you can help me out a little. I know a lot of teams will be depending on juniors, because that’s the year a lot of guys first earn a starting role. Which juniors out there do you think will have a good, or great, season?

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Ole Miss Jamboree

Thanks to Oxford coach Johnny Hill for providing me with the lineup for the Ole Miss Jamboree, to be held Aug. 22 and 23 (Friday and Saturday of next week). I don’t think they’ve done it over a two-day span before.

Friday
4 p.m., Senatobia vs. North Pontotoc
6 p.m., Clarksdale vs. Itawamba AHS
8 p.m., Olive Branch vs. Shannon
Saturday
8 a.m., Oxford vs. DeSoto Central
10 a.m., Southaven vs. Noxubee Co.
Noon, Center Hill vs. Ripley

I am lovin’ that Clarksdale-IAHS matchup. Olive Branch-Shannon was a good one last year. I’m not sure, but I think admission is $5, which is what it was last year.

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IAHS QB Coming Along

If you’ve been paying attention since last season ended, you know that Itawamba AHS has a promising young quarterback named Maikhail Miller. He’s just a sophomore, but he has a world of potential. To begin with, he’s big and has a cannon for an arm.

But he’s trying to replace Bret Jefcoat, the Daily Journal All-Area first-teamer who’s now at Southern Miss. Coach Jamie Mitchell said Miller is starting to understand just what he’s gotten himself into. “I think he’s finally realized the importance of his job,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said Miller has improved his work ethic since the spring and is getting his head wrapped around the offense. As good as he might be, Miller won’t have to shoulder a heavy load. That’s because RB Deshaun McGaughy and FB William Shumpert are top-notch ball carriers.

“He’s just got to understand how to manage the game for us,” said Mitchell, who led IAHS to an 11-2 mark and the third round of the Class 4A playoffs last year. “Let these other guys play around him and he do his part.”

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