Sports / Outdoors – 4/29/2003

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Panolian Sports Headlines: April 29, 2003

For complete stories,
pick up the 4/29/03  issue of The Panolian

Stevenson Outlines
South Panola Stadium Plans
Far below, construction workers dig holes for the piers to support the stadium seats on the East side of South Panola’s football field. The back view is where the district will build a walkway from the Batesville Jr. High parking lot to the field.

BATESVILLE – Time is of the essence as the renovation of South Panola’s football stadium gets underway.

Members of the school district’s maintenance staff took apart and dismantled the former visitors’ stands in early April.

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South Panola won the bid of the south endzone stands of the University of Mississippi’s Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The maintenance staff has been sandblasting those stands.

"We got those stands at about half or less than half the cost of new stands," said Dr. C.L. Stevenson, superintendent of South Panola School District. "Our new stands are someone else’s old ones."

Pope School has been the recipient of some of those stands for its athletic competitions at the school.

The new stands will provide around 4,000 additional seats more or less. That, coupled with the existing west side – which will become the visitors’ side – seats 2,500 to 3,000 allowing the stadium to seat nearly 7,000 fans.

"We’re exciting about being able to provide more seating," Stevenson said. "It’s not long until August 28 and we have a lot of work being done."

Stevenson said it is going to be a challenge to put the stadium or "puzzle" back together.

"We are pleased to have a good maintenance department to help us to manage material. That’s a real plus," Stevenson said.

Mike Williams, head of the maintenance department, said the district was able to save a lot of money using the available help to dismantle the old stadium seats.

Panola Construction Co. of Batesville won the bid to lay the foundation and concrete for the new seats.

Right now Panola Construction is working on the site and digging footings, according to Stevenson.

Gray Little of Grenada won the bid for the erection of the steel beams and aluminum seating.

The school district is in the process of advertising for bidders to build two concession stands, two sets of restrooms and a ticket booth.

"Sealed, written bids will be received for the construction of concession/toilet/ticket facilities at the South Panola High School Football Field. The work for this contract generally consists of earthwork, foundation, structure of the building, plumbing, electrical, masonry and finishes," the legal states.

The entire legal may be found in today’s edition of The Panolian.

Bids for this work will be accepted until 2 p.m. May 21, 2003.

"Bids will be awarded to the lowest and best bid," Stevenson said.

Plans for the home side also provide for a new pressbox, but that will not be completed this year.

Moving of the pressbox would also mean moving of the wires for the scoreboard and playclock.

As time is of the essence, Stevenson does not think there is enough time to get everything moved and functioning without glitches by the first game.

So with time and money playing factors this year, the plans may take a couple of years to be completed. If there is only enough money for one set of bathrooms, that is what will be done, according to Stevenson.

"Tickets prices will not be affected at this point," Stevenson said.

Other Work
The parking lot of Batesville Jr. High will become the home parking lot, according to Stevenson. A walkway will be built by the district, not by the contractors, to make the walk from the parking lot to the field easier.

The district is looking to make handicapped parking closer to the stadium, according to Stevenson.

The entire construction project is expected to stretch from the back of the north endzone to the back of the south endzone. The stadium seats will stretch from the 25 or 30 yard line from the north to the same distance from the south, according to Stevenson.

South Panola is not the only team in the district with east side as the home side. Clarksdale, Starkville and Columbus also have this set up.


ND’s Wood and Martin
Advance to North State

North Delta tennis players Andrew Wood (l) and
Currie Martin advanced to the North State tennis round to be held in Grenada Wednesday, April 30.

Wood placed second in the No. 2 singles in the district tournament. Martin placed first in the No. 1 singles in district.


On Friday, April 25 the North Delta Tennis Team participated in the District 1-AA tournament at Bayou Academy.

Due to a postponement by weather, part of the team was unable to attend.

First round scores from those that did play include Currie Martin defeated Mark Williams 6-0/6-0. Andrew Wood defeated Kyle Cravens 6-1/7-6. Russ Belk and Harrison Nickle lost to Will Gates and Jason Satterfield 1-6/5-7.

Mallory Nix lost to Mcleod Lester 0-6/1-6. Finally, Margaret Britt and Matthew Bell lost to Amber Smithers and Drew Rose 0-6/1-6.

Currie Martin and Andrew Wood advanced to the finals where Currie Martin defeated Paris Buchanan 6-0/6-0 to capture the District Title in Boy’s 1 Singles. Andrew Wood fell to Reed Rocconi 4-6/4-6 to finish as district runner up in Boy?s 2 Singles. The North Delta Boy’s Team finished second in the district with Bayou winning first.

Andrew Wood and Currie Martin will move on to the North State Tournament which is to be held Wednesday, April 30 at Kirk Academy.

Though Not Drafted,
Strong Inks 3-Year Deal With Giants

BATESVILLE – Through two long days of sitting by the television during the draft, Eddie Strong did not see or hear his named called.

"He said he did not understand what had happened," said his sister Calandra Strong. "He was so hurt they did not call his name."

Two hours after ESPN shut down draft coverage, Eddie called back home.

"He told us he had signed with the New York Giants," Calandra said. "We asked was it as a free agent and he said no, they signed him for three years."

In a call to the New York Giants office early Monday morning, the public relations office was not able to verify the information at that time, but expected to be able to early Monday afternoon.

"They said there was some sort of mix-up and his name was not called during the draft," Calandra said. "But, we are all excited right now."

Eddie Strong will fly to New York Thursday, May 1, to meet with team officials, according to Calandra Strong.

The Giants finished 10-6 in 2002, second in the NFC East behind the Philadelphia Eagles. Also in that division are the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys.

Strong is a former South Panola Tiger who helped lead the Tigers to the state championship round in 1996 and 1997, though neither team brought home the ring.

Strong signed to play with Ole Miss in 1998 and began playing his freshman year. He did have to take a medical redshirt his 2000 season with a fractured ankle and missed the first two games of the 2002 season.

Strong will join other South Panola graduates in the NFL Dwayne Rudd of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Deshea Townsend of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The NFL was not that kind to Mississippi players this year.

Justin Griffith, Mississippi State fullback, the first Mississippi college player drafted, was not taken until the fourth round by the Atlanta Falcons.

Griffith teammate, tightend Donald Lee, went in the fifth round to the Miami Dolphins.

Strong’s teammate, center Ben Claxton, also went in the fifth round to Denver Broncos.

Offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges was the only player from the University of Southern Mississippi drafted. He went in the sixth round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

MSU linebacker Mario Haggan from Clarksdale was the final Mississippian taken in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills.