Sports / Outdoors – 9/17/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Panolian Sports Headlines: September 17, 2004

For complete stories,
pick up the 9/17/04  issue of The Panolian

South Panola Homecoming Court
Chosen for the South Panola homecoming court this year are (first row, l to r ) Lynette Williams, senior; Camille Willis, senior; Jesica Crutcher, senior; April Flowers, senior; Cheryl Cox, senior; Amber Garner, senior; (second row, l to r) Sha’Courtney Mister, freshman, Erika Draper, junior; Candace Conner, junior, Nicole Douglas, junior; Jessica Cannon, sophomore; (third row, l to r) Sabrina Townsend, freshman; Kayla Draper, freshman; LaKamaree Pride, freshman; and Allie Ware, sophomore.
North Delta Homecoming Court
Chosen for the North Delta homecoming court this year are (front, l to r ) Lelia Burkhalter, senior; Margaret Britt, senior; Anna Aldridge, senior; Laura Burkhalter, senior; Austin Jenkins, freshman; Caroline Moore, sophomore; (back, l to r) Caitlin Bailey, junior; Ashley Golden, junior; Kenlea Blann, freshman; Chelsey Russell, sophomore; Emily Brown, sophomore; and Amanda Langston, junior.

North Delta will host Winston Academy in the homecoming game Friday, September 24. The theme of this year’s festivities is Seaside Serenade.

Crappie Catch
Cecil Williams, of Olive Branch, weighs in his catch last Saturday at the Dam Store Crappie Tournament, while Lynn Taylor measures the results. The event raised over $5,000 for the Shriners Burn Center. See results on page B12 of today’s issue.
Hurricane Ivan Messes Up Games

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I talked to one of my SEC friends who is a banker in Nashville a few days before I went up there last week.

He sounded, well, different I guess, and then I understood as he told of just learning their opening game of the season at Florida was postponed due to Hurricane Frances’ approach.

He was in a state of depression and all I could think about was getting his doctor to get him some Prozac ASAP. It is so tough to get all worked up from the running through the summer, the meetings in July, scrimmages in August and then just two days before showtime, back on hold.

His crew is off the following week so that just compounded the agony of waiting. It’s like putting Christmas morning on hold for two weeks as much as we love the games. I told him to come out to Vanderbilt and hang with us but he said no, he was just going to settle in front of the TV and watch games until he drops with "an ample supply of cold ones." I won’t say what kind since I am writing in a dry county and any and all booze is illegal here. Or they say it is.

In spite of Vandy’s performance in the game, I can attest that it was worked well since our boss was there looking over everyone’s shoulder. And then Commissioner Slive came in for most of the game so we had more than our share of heavy metal in the house.

The Commissioner will usually cover two and sometimes three games in any Saturday during football season with the help of a private jet.

Gotta be this side of heaven to have that job. Flying around with an assistant and seeing the best football in the world up close and personal.

We always have an Observer or Technical Advisor with us at a game. The SEC has a staff of former officials whose job is to observe the officials and make notes during the game from the press box.

He will then review the notes during the post-game meeting. Then, when he gets home, he’ll get a copy of the game tape and grade each official on their performance for that game.

All officials get a written review the middle of the following week along with the location in the game of any plays they need to look at and review what was done either bad or good. That’s how the championship game and bowl crews are determined.

On the following Saturday all crews then watch a video that is assembled by our boss on the previous Tuesday and over-nighted to all Referees. This has comments from the previous week and then typically 16 to 20 plays of both misses and "atta-boys" on it from all out games complete with his voice-over and on-screen drawings.

It’s just one of the many ways they all work so hard to get us all on the same page every week. Consistency is what we all strive for.

One great thing is how you’ll never know when a great "war story" will come along. Some are better than others but South Carolina coach Lou Holtz can turn out the great comments with the best of them.

When we go to meet with the coaches before the game we always go meet the visiting coach first.

During the course of discussing the finer points of what was going on, he told us matter-of-factly, "We’re dressing 38 players. And the rest can actually dress themselves."

Another official in the game later related one from a game where Coach Lou had a call against his team where he was sure it indicated the official’s favoritism toward the other team. Yeah, right.

He then ran over to the other team’s ball boy on his sideline and told him to give him one of their game balls. The surprised student handed him a ball of course.

That’s Coach Holtz, after all. The official was cringing, with his back to the South Carolina sideline, wondering what in the heck he was going to do with that ball. Was he going to hit him in the back of the head with it or throw it out on the field in the middle of a play?
Coach Holtz came right over to the official and handed him the ball and told him: "Here, I’ll go on and give you the game ball from them now and save you from having to wait around after the game for it." You just never know.

I’ve decided to keep reminding everyone who reads this piece to get out and support a team by going to the game. Players and coaches work so unbelievably hard to play their best and would love to see a packed house. I’ll see you next week.

Associated Press Polls
1. South Panola 11. Clarksdale
2. Wayne County 12. Picayune
3. West Jones 13. Lafayette County
4. Oak Grove 14. Brookhaven
5. Gulfport 15. Northeast Jones (Tie)
6. West Point  . Warren Central
7. Meridian 17. Starkville
8. South Pike 18. Corinth
9. Collins 19. Hernando (Tie)
10. Ocean Springs   Olive Brance
Little 10    
1. Seminary 7. Madison-Ridgeland Acad.
2. Weir 8. TIE: Eupora
3. Bruce   TIE: Ray Brooks
4. Lumberton 9. Water Valley
5. Mize 10. TIE: O’Bannon
6. Scott Central   TIE: Philadelphia



By Angie Ledbetter
Contributing Writer

The 4-0 North Delta Green Wave will host its biggest rival tonight in a non-conference game when the 3A Magnolia Heights Chiefs come to town at 7:30 p.m. This is only the second home game since the season started for the Green Wave team. The Green Waves are coming off of a huge district win last week, dominating Carroll Academy 46-7.

"This is a big week for us," Green Wave head coach Rick Johnston said. "Magnolia Heights is a big rival game and it is going to be a lot of folks out here tonight. It is good for both schools and hopefully, you will see a good football game tonight. We want to play well. The kids are motivated. If we keep getting better week by week, and keep working hard, then anything can happen."

"We will be tested this week against Magnolia Heights," added Johnston.

The Chiefs are under the senior leadership of quarterback Russ Sneed.

"Sneed is a heck of an athlete. He will be tough to contain. Sneed has a big time arm. We are going to definitely have to have our "A" game," Johnston said.

The last couple of years, the Chiefs have come out on top and the Green Wave are looking to turn that around tonight. The need for revenge has built up for the Green Wave team and it plans to come out with a win. Last year the Chiefs defeated North Delta in Senatobia 35-19.
The two schools are about 25 miles apart. Both schools have Panola county students. These students share friendships that go back for several years. Not only do the students share long time friendships, but so do the coaches.

Johnston attended school with Chiefs head coach Cliff Young and they are long time friends. Johnston also is friends with coach Tim Beard, who coached at North Delta for several years and Johnston was part of that coaching staff. Coach Bobby Bouchillon coached at North Delta with Johnston up until about three years ago, and he went to Magnolia Heights.

The Green Wave, 4-0 overall, 2-0 district, are ranked No. 2 under Indianola Academy, who is also undefeated, in District 1-AA.

The Chiefs are 1-1 overall, 0-1 in district play. The Chiefs have had two bye weeks since the season started. They are ranked No. 2 under Oak Hill Academy in District 1-AAA. They defeated Marshall Academy 49-14 earlier in the season on August 27. They lost to Jackson Academy last week in Senatobia 35-26.

"It came down to the wire last week," said Johnston. "It was a two point game with about two minutes left to go in the game. JA is one of the best teams in the MPSA, according to people that I have talked to. They got beat by MRA the first game of the season, but probably should have won that game. The ball didn’t bounce quite their way. JA has some big time athletes and Magnolia Heights stood in there and played them tough. Magnolia Heights has some talented kids and I am sure they are going to be motivated tonight, just like we are."

The pep rally is at 2:30 p.m. in the gym.

By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

SARDIS – 2004 has not been very good to the North Panola Cougars.

The excitement of having a new, experienced, talented coach keeps the team coming back out each week.

The Cougars have fallen to 0-3 for the season. Two of those games the Cougars expected to come out on top.

Last week, North Panola lost to Holly Springs, a team they had defeated two years straight.

Cougar head coach Demetrius Hills said he is still a little down following the end of the non-conference season. North Panola still has one non-conference game scheduled for the last game of the season against Lafayette County.

"In two of those games we should have done a lot better than we did. We should have put the one away Friday. We really matched up well with that team. We should have won that game," Hill said.

The Cougars were ahead at one point in the game, but Holly Springs completed some passes and found the end zone.

" It was just a couple of key pass plays on defense that we gave up that the guy ran for a touchdown," Hill said.

Now with the game on tap tonight in Marks against M.S. Palmer, the team’s expectations are high.

North Panola defeated Palmer 37-6 last year.

"Going into the conference season, it’s looking promising," Hill said. "We match up well with a lot of the teams we are playing. If we do what we are supposed to do and not make the mistakes we have been making, we will be fine."

Palmer has had its share of tough luck this year also. Under the coaching direction of Eugene Lamberth of Batesville, Palmer is 0-2-1. The first game of the season ended in a 0-0 tie with Coahoma AHS. They lost to Drew 23-6 and last week to West Tallahatchie 32-0.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

"The kids are excited about it," Hill continued. "They are relaxed. We went back and watched the film from the Friday night game and they realize we can be pretty good."

By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

BATESVILLE – It is amazing what three years can do to a team.

When the Greenville Hornets entered 1-5A district in 2001, they defeated South Panola 21-14 and stopped the Tigers 11-year winning season and postseason appearance streak.

The Tigers rallied from that loss and has posted bigger wins over Greenville the last two years, 35-14 in 2002 and last year’s 75-9 win.

Last year was pretty embarrasing as the Tigers did whatever they will with the Hornets.

The Greenville team is still very athletic, according to Tiger assistant coach Michael Fair.
"They run real fast and teams have to be wary of them. They can beat any team any night if they work together," Fair said.

Greenville has not done very well this season. They come into the game with a 0-3 record. They have lost to 3A Eastside 18-13, and two 4A teams, Greenwood 8-0 and Clarksdale, 48-7 last week.

"Clarksdale jumped on them early," Fair said. "That’s what we plan to do: come out the gate and play real hard. Then we will see where it goes from there."

With an athletic team that can strike at any time, Fair said they have to prepare for a team like that.

The Tigers are having a Prince Charming of a year so far.

They top the Associated Press Polls and The Clarion-Ledger Super 10 Poll with a 3-0 record. They are also ranked No. 10 in the South in the USA Today poll.

The Tigers have scored 139 points and have given up only 25 points.

Dandy dozen quarterback Derek Pegues is racking up stats on both offense and defense, along with dandy dozen wide receiver Travis Sanford. Also in the fray of nearly every defensive play is dandy dozen defensive lineman John Jerry.

These weapons have the Tiger team working like a well-oiled machine.

Though the inexperience of the starting lineups was a concern of head coach Ricky Woods, the team is determined to prove they are capable of routing enemies en route to a third straight undefeated regular season.

The Tigers hold a win streak of 18 games. In Woods reign, the Tigers hold a 32-1 record.

Kickoff in this 5A non-conference matchup is 7 p.m.