Sports / Outdoors – 9/3/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2004

Panolian Sports Headlines: September 3, 2004

For complete stories,
pick up the 9/3/04  issue of The Panolian

Gray Puts Up Big Stats
By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

Do these stats look amazing, 10 races, 3 top-5s and 6 top-10s?

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

No these aren’t Nextel Cup stats. These are some stats of one of the local racers at Music City Motorplex, Olive Branch, native, Garrett Gray. For this 20-year-old sitting behind the wheel of a racecar and tearing up the asphalt at 120 miles an hour is no big thing.

Not only has Gray and his team been in the top-5 three times this year but they have also won the Hard-Charger award twice this year. Meaning he has advanced more positions in a race than any other driver. Even though Garrett has not been to victory lane this year, this team has been working hard every week to improve their finishes each week and be consistent.

After eleven races into the season, Garrett sets in 8th in points just out of the 7th spot with two race weekends left, that includes two sets of Twin 50s races. In the last set of Twin races, Garrett has managed to get a season best finish of 3rd in the first race, and 8th in the second race, hopefully Garrett and his team can improve on those finishes. Through last weekend, Garrett has been on a roll, being in the top-10 for 8 straight races.

If you would like more information on Garrett Gray please visit or come to the Bass Pro Shops at Opry Mills Sunday, August 29, 2004 from 11:30-2:30 for your opportunity to meet this impressive young driver.

Be at the Music City Motorplex September 4 and help cheer the red No. 24 to victory lane.

Pegues to Receive Jersey
Ceremony for Derek Pegues to receive his All-American jersey will be held Tuesday, September 7, 2004, at 9:30 a.m. in the South Panola High School Gymnasium.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played Saturday, January 15, 2005, in San Antonio, Texas, in the Alamodome. The game will be televised nationally on NBC. The time will be announced later.

Jr. High Kicks; Betting is Illegal

Just before we kick a game off the officials meet in the center of the field. We have just finished the toss or in high school the simulated toss (more about that in a sec) and now everyone is ready to go.

We always put our hands together and the Referee will say something to get everyone on the crew ready to work.

Some say things like: "Let’s be the best team on the field!" or "One hundred and ten percent for sixty minutes!" Most of the time I will say something inspiring like: "Show time! Let’s rock and roll!" but then I always finish with "Where do we go?" I guess I just like to keep it fun too.

In high school football, the actual coin toss is held with the coaches when they meet with the officials about 30 minutes before the kickoff. Then at five minutes before the kick the team captains go out and the options are more or less explained to them because it has already been determined. I have no idea why it is done that way. My feelings are the players should be doing the toss like it was intended.

There was a directive from the Mississippi High School Activities Association office in Clinton for this season that all junior high games will follow the rulebook regarding the kicking game.
It’s been 15 years or so since I worked a junior high or seventh, eighth or ninth grade game so I don’t remember doing anything like not punting and just moving the ball 30 or so yards downfield on fourth down.

In youth football, the older 11- and 12-year-olds have the option to punt or just have the ball spotted 30 yards downfield. I’d rather spot the ball downfield in the youth levels and even the seventh grade level because a punt usually presents the biggest opportunity to get someone hurt.

But they have to learn the complete game at some point in time. Some schools were not doing much, if any kicking in their games at all. I was glad to hear the state office had done that.

I do remember working junior high games where all the coach would say was, "Hurry up and get this thing over with. I want to see some game on TV."

Which told me he didn’t give a toot about coaching his team. Not a good way to teach football. And usually, it showed in the team’s performance.

They’re at it again. I’m not surprised but it still just irritates me to hear these people blowing off about who will win a game and exactly why. These so-called and mostly self-appointed experts who host the sports talk radio shows. I have a term I use for them but being a family-oriented paper here I will omit it.
I even heard them trying to say a certain college team has beaten this other team a big percentage of the time over the last several years so that is why they will win the game this time.

In college?

Come on, I would have a hard time following that line of thinking even if they kept the exact same players over a 10 year period. Now some of them on the radio shows are okay but then the ones who spend all their two or three hours giving out the point spreads for college and NFL games and then doing commercials for their tip service really get on my nerves.

I have it on very good authority (like the FBI) that calling in a bet to anyone, no matter where they happen to be located, is illegal. Off shore, next door, it doesn’t matter.

It is where the bettor is located. I know not all the people who call in to these shows, even this early, asking what the point spread is on a particular game are not going to put $500 on USC over Virginia Tech or some other game. But a lot of them do.

What’s really funny are the ads for the "tip service" that one might subscribe to for only $1,500.

And that includes the rest of the baseball season too. Then they tout their winning percentages from last season and then say how they made it PROFITABLE for their subscribers.

It’s just a side business, after all. I’m sorry, but it is not. It is very illegal and only holds the door open for organized crime and that is not what we need near football.

If you want to bet on games then go to Vegas. It is legal out there. But the next time you happen to think you have a "lock" on a game and make a call to your book you might want to wonder who else might also be listening in on the conversation. You never know. Because it is illegal.

Sorry I got off on that but I would really rather hear talk about different teams and upcoming games for just the interest in the game and not for gambling purposes. I’ll just have to crank the tunes during certain times when I’m driving and not listen to sports radio.

It’s here. Get out and enjoy some football. And I’ll see you next week.

AP Polls
1. South Panola 11. Collin
2. Wayne County 12. Warren Central
3. Meridian 13. Ocean Springs
4. Brookhaven 14. Clarksdale
5. Oak Grove 15. Oxford
6. West Jones 16. South Pike
7. Starkville 17. Cleveland
8. Picayune 18. Greene County
9. George County 19. Lafayette County
10. West Point 20. Gulfport
Little 10    
1. Weir 6. Ackerman
2. Seminary 7. Boonville
3. Bruce 8. Scott Central
4. Lumberton 9. Madison-Ridgeland Acad.
5. Mize 10. TIE:  Pillow Academy
         Loyd Star
Jungle Cats to Clash on SP Tiger Field  
By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

BATESVILLE – Panola County is getting ready for a clash of the jungle cats.

The Associated Press Poll No. 1 South Panola Tigers will host the North Panola Cougars in an inner-county matchup tonight.

South Panola is coming off a big 31-12 win over Clarksdale last week. North Panola is trying to make up for a 28-6 loss in Booneville.

This game marks South Panola’s home opener and the beginning of two home games.

North Panola will host its home opener next week against Holly Springs.

The Tigers have not played a home game since November of 2003 when they defeated Starkville for the North Half title.

Last year, the Tigers had a banner year going 15-0 and ending up with the state championship title.

They did it by shutting out the first two opponents last year. This year they gave up 12 points to Clarksdale and the North Panola Cougar players plan for the Tigers to give up some points to them tonight.

"Watch me when I go for a touchdown," said quarterback A.J. Johnson.

Under first year head coach Demetrius Hill the Cougars are looking forward to the matchup. The talk among the players has been growing for weeks, maybe even months now, for the right to brag another year.

The Cougars show no fear toward the Tiger team which has dominated some foes year after year.

Under third year head coach Ricky Woods, the Tigers have amassed a 30-1 record. With the win over Clarksdale, Woods had his 160th career win.

The ticket booth opens at 6 p.m. Reserved tickets are $8. General admission tickets are $5.

Another big matchup on tap for tonight is the contest between the No. 3 Meridian and the No. 7 Starkville. All eyes will be on these two teams throughout the season. Meridian is a favorite to win this matchup.

Starkville barely defeated Louisville last week 14-7. Meridian downed Clinton 41-14 in a blowout.

Green Wave/Colt Rival on Tap Tonight
By Angie Ledbetter
Contributing Writer

It’s time for the Green Wave to play on their own turf after being on the road for the first two games of the season.

Tonight will be a heated battle when the Green Wave take on the Lee Academy Colts in the first district game of the season. Revenge will be on the Green Wave players’ minds when the Colts walk onto the field at 7:30 p.m. Last year, the Green Wave fell hard to the Colts 28-0 but not without a hard fought battle to the very end.

The Colts went from 3A to 2A this year and are in the same district as the Green Wave. They are ranked No. 3 in the Clarion-Ledger 2A polls right above the Green Wave. The Colts are also ranked No. 9 in the little 10 poll in the state.

"Lee is going to be a tremendous test," said Green Wave head coach Rick Johnston. "Coach Finney with Coach McGregor does a terrific job over there and they have a real good football team."

Johnston expressed the Colts have got speed on top of speed.

"They are going to spread us out and throw the football," Johnston said.

The Colts will be under the leadership of junior quarterback Jesse Spinks.

"Jesse does a really good job for his team," he said. "I look for them to try and run off tackle on us. Hopefully, we have made some adjustments and will be able to stop some of that."

As far as preparing anything different for the Colts, Johnston said they are doing their normal thing to prepare.

"I think that the intensity level has picked up," Johnston said. "It is going to have to be higher than it has been the past two Friday nights. We are going to have to have a real good game tonight."

The Green Wave comes into this heated battle with two wins under its belt. The Colts have only one win, losing to 3A Pillow Academy last week 35-14. According to Johnston, the Colts were in that game the whole time.

"They led Pillow 14-0 and had the chance to go up 21-0," Johnston said. "Pillow is a really good football team in 3A and has some tremendous athletics also. They weren’t playing any push over last Friday night. They were playing a real good football team in Lee Academy."

"Lee will be coming here tonight and we want everyone to come out and watch the game," Johnston said. "We want as much support as we can possibly have. I think it is going to be a real good football game."

The North Delta pep rally will be at 2:30 p.m. in the gym. The pregame show will start at 7 p.m. with Mickey Aldridge along with Johnston. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

McMahan Starts Third Season
     at UT Martin
Chad McMahan, a junior, will start his third season with the UT Martin Skyhawks when they open on the road on September 2, 2004 at Western Michigan. McMahan, a defensive back, is 6’0 and weighs 186 lbs.

Last year, McMahan played in all twelve ballgames. He tied with teammate Russell Gambrell for most tackles with a total of 69. He finished with 3 tackles for a loss. He grabbed 5 interceptions for 24 yards. He had 2 pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

McMahan said that they only have four home games this year and it will be tough on the road so much. He is playing in a new position this year, defensive back. He has been working hard this summer to get prepared for the upcoming season. "I am ready for football to start," said McMahan.

McMahan is under second year head coach, Matt Griffin.

He is the son of Rick and Annette McMahan of Batesville.