| ND Green Waves to end season tonight
Seniors will be honored
| By Angie Ledbetter
The North Delta Green Wave (7-3 overall, 3-2 district) will host the district rivals Marshall Academy Patriots (2-8 overall, 0-5 district) from Holly Springs tonight at home for the final game of the season for the Green Wave team. It is senior night and 12 seniors and six cheerleaders will be honored.
The senior football players are Forrest Wilbanks, Patrick Ellis, Jacob Gurley, Heath Reed, Chris Pike, Michael Corkern, Hunter Calvert, Dustin Maples, Christian Amberson, Bryce Raddatz, Matthew Locke, and Nathanael Abernethy.
"This group of seniors has done some real good things while they have been here," said head football coach Rick Johnston. "If they are able to win tonight, they would have won 20 games in the last two years and I think that it has been awhile since a group of seniors has done that in their last two years.
"They had a tremendous year last year and in the big games this year, they just turned the ball over too many times," Johnston continued. "In crucial games like that, you just can’t turn the ball over and it has hurt us. It could have possibly been better."
Senior Dustin Maples was listed as one of the top performers in the Clarion-Ledger this week for his performance in last week’s game against Bayou Academy.
The senior cheerleaders who will be honored are Mary Ann Moore, Ashley Still, Ashley Golden, Nikki Darby, Amanda Langston and Jordan Boling.
The Green Wave enters the game tonight in third place in the district and not making the playoffs since 1998. They were only one game away from making the playoffs this year. All the games in District 1-AA action last week were Kirk Academy defeating Carroll Academy 40-20, Lee Academy defeated Indianola Academy 33-12, North Delta defeated Bayou 54-27 and Marshall Academy lost to Desoto Arkansas 20-26.
Johnston said he did not like it that this was the final game of the season for the Green Waves.
"I am not use to it," he said. "It wasn’t what we envisioned when the year started. Our goal is to always make the playoffs around here and we couldn’t get it done this time.
"But hopefully it will motivate us for bigger and better things next year," Johnston added. "Last week in the fourth quarter at Bayou, we put in all underclassman on the offense and were able to put a drive together and score on Bayou. So, that just shows you what we have for the future at North Delta."
Johnston said that was only the second week that group has been working together.
"They came in and had no bad quarterback exchanges and really came off of the ball and blocked people," Johnston said. "Evan West got it in the endzone from about 40 yards out. So, I am looking forward to next year."
The Marshall Academy Patriots are coming into this game with only two wins. One of those wins came early in the season against Rossville, Tenn. with a score of 26-7 and the other win was over Marvell, Ark. 25-0. They have not won a district game this season.
They are coached by head coach Wade Griffin and assistants Mike Bush, Jimmy Hicks, Murry Rhodes and Nick Roberts.
The Patriots have 20 players on the roster, including six seniors, four juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman.
"They have brought up some freshman and they had a talented bunch of freshman, so that is going to help their team," said Johnston. "They have struggled a little bit at times this year, but I think they are playing the best football they have played all year long."
Marshall took Desoto, Ark. to overtime this past week and Desoto is in the playoffs in the A division. They lost by only one point to Marianna Lee.
"I think that they have developed a new attitude with the younger group that they have coming in, and it is going to be a tough test," Johnston said.
Key players to watch on the Patriot’s team will be quarterback Will Forester, a 6’0", 185 pound senior, and quarterback Justin Gray, a sophomore, 6’0", 190 pounds.
The running backs are Tyler Sanders, 5’10", 205 pound sophomore; Thomas Rodgers, 6’1", 190 pound senior, and Blake Work, 5’10", 225 pound senior.
The Green Waves have won the last two games against the Patriots. In 2003, the Green Wave defeated the Patriots 28-7 and 47-7 in 2004. The Patriots are hungry for a win tonight.
The pep rally for the players will be at 2:30 today in the school gym. The pregame show with Johnston will air at 7 p.m. on FM 106.9. The activities honoring the senior football players and cheerleaders will start at 7:15 p.m. on the field. Kickoff will be at 7:30.
| Cougars must win to make playoffs
| By Donna Taylor
After having a week off, the North Panola Cougars return to the gridiron tonight. They will travel to Water Valley to take on the Blue Devils (6-2, 4-1).
North Panola is savoring the huge win over Byhalia (34-8) October 14 at home. The Cougars recorded some spectacular offensive numbers. Their total combined yardage was 337, after posting only a total of 73 against Independence the week before.
Throughout the season, the Cougars have not been able to stabilize their game plans. They’ve experienced some highs and lows as was the case on opening night, August 26, against a top 25 state ranked team, the Booneville Blue Devils. North Panola showed great promise and received high praises from a hard fought game. The Devils won by five points, 30-25.
The fans were ecstatic from such an electrified game and hoped the team would play like that all season. But that was not the case. The ‘cardiac kids’ have been on a roller coaster ever since, winning big in some games and losing terribly in others.
North Panola is averaging 19.7 points per game and the Devils boast a hearty 29.1 and are expected to make it to the first round of post season play.
North Panola’s big guns are going to have to come out with pistols cocked and win their last two games in order to make it to post season play. A win tonight would not automatically put them in play off contention. If Holly Springs loses their two final games, and North Panola can defeat Senatobia (4-0, 6-2) next week, they could possibly get an invitation on the road to the big dance.
Bruce Wilbourn was somewhat of a late bloomer this season, but has proved he is a force to be reckoned with. His number was not called on opening night, but in the last home game against Byhalia, Wilbourn caught an interception and ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown just as the horn sounded to end the third quarter. He finished the night with only 23 yards, but the touchdown is etched in the fans mind. It was in pure dramatic form.
Other members of the team have given fans something to talk about, as well. If they can keep their composure and get some good solid defense early and contain the Devils, Cinderella could be losing a glass slipper, or in this case, the brass ring.
| USA Today Super 25 Football Rankings
October 24, 2005
|| Lakeland, Fla. (8-0)
|| Mission Viejo, Calif. (7-0)
|| Southlake (Texas) Carroll (8-0)
|| Joliet (Ill.) Catholic (9-0)
|| Independence, Charlotte (8-0)
|| Westfield, Spring, Texas (6-0)
|| Bishop McDevitt, Harrisburg, Pa. (8-0)
||St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale (8-0)
|| Springdale, Ark. (8-0)
|| Bellevue, Wash. (7-0)
||St. Xavier, Cincinnati (9-0)
|| South Panola, Batesville, Miss. (8-0)
Previous: 11. Result: d. Tupelo 34-17.
Next: Friday at Southaven.
|| Byrnes, Duncan, S.C. (9-0)
|| Hoover, Ala. (8-1)
|| Hamilton, Chandler, Ariz. (8-0)
|| Landstown, Virginia Beach (8-0)
|| Glenville, Cleveland (9-0)
|| Euless (Texas) Trinity (8-0)
|| Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (7-0)
|| Colerain, Cincinnati (8-1)
|| Gilman School, Baltimore (6-0)
||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (6-0)
||St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (7-1)
|| Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (9-0)
|| Neshaminy, Langhorne, Pa. (7-1)
| SP Tigers to invade Charger territory
| By Myra Bean
In 2001, Southaven enjoyed a rare season of good football for that program. The Chargers defeated South Panola that year.
Since that bad taste of a losing season, South Panola has enjoyed 52 out of 53 wins and are on a 38-game winning streak.
The Tigers dropped in the USA Today poll to No. 12 after a No. 11 ranking last week. In the National Tony Poll, the Tigers remain at No. 10.
The immediate goal for the Tigers would be to defeat the Chargers (1-7 overall, 0-4 district) tonight in Southaven in a district matchup. Southaven last year ended the season with a 4-7 record.
To keep from being lulled into over confidence, the coaches remind the Tiger team to get ready to play every Friday night, according to Tiger offensive line coach Michael Fair.
"In this district, every single team can beat us," Fair said. "We tell them that the great teams go out and take care of business every Friday night and win the ones they are supposed to win."
Southaven has a good team even though they are having a hard time putting a win together, according to Fair.
"Southaven has enough talent to beat us if we don’t show up," he said. "We have to tell our team we have to get ready every single Friday night or they can get beat."
The Chargers have faced their share of downs this season from the "injury bug," so named by head coach Calvin Aldridge, including the death of defensive coordinator Morris Hunter, 35, on October 13.
The Chargers lone win was early in the season against Memphis Frayser 38-15. Since then, the Chargers have logged six straight losses. Some have been blow out losses like the one to Olive Branch 56-6. Others have been close like an October 7, 17-10 loss to Columbus in the last 10 seconds and a 7-6 loss at the hands of Tupelo, October 14.
The Charger defense has been successful in getting turnovers from other teams but the offense has not been able to capitalize on them and turn them into scores.
The Chargers took five balls away from Tupelo but only got the one score.
"We’re not waving any white flags just because we have two very tough games coming up," said Charger head coach Calvin Aldridge before last week’s Starkville game. "I don’t ever expect our guys to quit."
The Chargers lost to Starkville 37-7.
The undefeated Tigers will also look to continue their domination on the Mississippi gridiron in Region 1-5A, secure the district championship which will depend a lot on the outcome of the game between Olive Branch and Starkville tonight. Also, the Tigers will have to defeat Starkville next Friday night.
Other 1-5A match ups tonight include Grenada at Tupelo and Horn Lake at Columbus.
Another goal might be to breech that sacred line of a national top 10 team.
After winning the 2003 State Championship, the Tigers were No. 11 according to the USA Today poll. At the end of the 2004 season, the Tigers were ranked No. 7.
The rest of the goals for the 2005 season may include taking the playoffs by storm and looking for a 3-peat in the State Championships.
Before the Tigers do that, they have to get through some strong 2-5A opponents, namely Northwest Rankin, No. 6 in the AP Press Polls, who came into 2-5A after realignment this year.
They are sitting atop that hallowed ground down there with an undefeated record of 8-0 overall, 4-0 district.
Madison Central, Warren Central and Vicksburg have identical overall records of 5-3, while the first two are 3-1 in district play and Vicksburg is 2-2.
Oak Grove is the only school in the 5A south division with an undefeated overall record of 7-0. Teams with undefeated district records down south are Oak Grove, Ocean Springs and George County with 4-0 records each.
Kickoff tonight in Southaven is at 7 p.m.
| Corrected Directions to Southaven:
It has been advised to take the Church Road exit due to one lane traffic and highway construction in Desoto county.
Take Interstate 55 North, towards Memphis. Take Exit 287, Church Road and take a left. Go to Highway 51 and take a right. Go to the fourth light and take a right on Rasco Road. Southaven High School is on the right about a half mile down.
| MSU/Alabama to air on CBS Nov. 5
| By Myra Bean
The Mississippi State-Alabama football game, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, has been chosen by CBS for a national telecast, the Southeastern Conference announced Tuesday.
Kickoff for the SEC Western Division game will be 2:30 p.m. CT at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field on the MSU campus.
It is the Bulldogs’ first CBS game since the 2001 season, and the first televised from Starkville since the national network broadcast MSU games vs. Florida and Auburn in back-to-back weeks in 2000.
Saturday, the Bulldogs will jump back into Southeastern Conference play when they travel to Lexington, Ken. for a matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Kentucky lost to Ole Miss last Saturday 13-7. Kickoff for this game is 6 p.m. central at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky is 1-5 overall, 0-3 SEC. Miss. State is 2-5 overall, 0-4 SEC.