Sports / Outdoors – 3/24/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 24, 2006

The Panolian: SPORTS – March 24, 2006

  From the 3/24/06 issue of The Panolian       
 SCHEDULES – BASEBALL:             

Steeler Townsend visits local school
Signs new four year NFL deal
     These students in Mrs. Shows class at Batesville Elementary continuously grilled Pittsburgh Steeler Deshea Townsend of Batesville Thursday morning while he signed autographs. Townsend answered a lot of questions and listened to a lot of comments from the first graders.
By Myra Bean

It was a red letter day at Batesville Elementary School Friday as favorite son Deshea Townsend visited.

Taking some of his off season break to come home, Townsend, cornerback of the Superbowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, went from classroom to classroom and spoke to the students.
Many did not know him by face but when they heard the name, they knew exactly who he was.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Townsend had to answer some hard questions, but had done his homework and got through the grilling of the kindergarten and first grade fans.

Though most of the boys were interested in what he did on the football field, the girls kept pace. One student in Jackie Johnson’s class said she was a girl and couldn’t play ball.

Townsend disagreed and said girls can play football.

Many of the students told of their brothers, cousins and uncles who play for the state champion South Panola Tiger football team.

Townsend told them he was on the first state championship team "a long time ago." Actually, he quarterbacked the 1993 state championship team.

Townsend went on to play college football for the University of Alabama and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1998.

Four years later in 2002 when Townsend was a free agent, Pittsburgh re-signed him to a four-year deal. It paid off with the Superbowl Championship this year.

After this past season, Townsend was again a free agent and just signed another four-year contract to remain with the Steelers.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

"It’s a great opportunity to be back," said Townsend. "This is always where I wanted to be, I have been here eight years and to have the opportunity to stay in the black and gold for as long as they allow me to be here is going to be great. The fans here are the greatest. I had other opportunities that were out there, but this is the best fit for Deshea, and that is why I’m here."

Townsend (5-10, 190), who will be entering his ninth season with the team in 2006. He currently has the longest tenure of any defensive player on the team and has played in 123 career games, according to a news release.

Townsend has started 46 games in his career with Pittsburgh, including 23 over the past two seasons. He started 15 of the 16 regular-season games in 2005 and all four postseason games. Townsend’s three sacks in 2005 tied for the most by a Steelers defensive back.

For his career, Townsend has 261 career tackles and 14.5 sacks, including one in Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl XL victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He is the Steelers’ active leader in interceptions with 14, including two in 2005.

"Sometimes when you have a good team and you have some good players on a team, sometimes guys just get taken for granted," said Kevin Colbert, director of football operations for the Steelers. "Sometimes they’re overlooked and sometimes they are the unsung heroes. When you think about Deshea Townsend, you think about a guy who has always been there for us and continued to make play after play. It certainly did not go unnoticed by us."

As Colbert said, Townsend is a guy whose contributions often went unnoticed by casual fans, but his return gives the team a savvy and versatile veteran who can help the team both on the outside or lined up over a receiver in the slot. Even with the departure of their starting free safety, the Steelers will enter the draft with a secondary loaded with both experience and youth.

"You always need good corners on your team, you can never have enough," said Townsend. "With the young guys, and myself, I still feel that I am young and still able to go out there and play, it is just going to make us a better team."

According to , Townsend said his mind-set from the outset of free agency was to find a way back to the Steelers. After sweating out the CBA extension with the rest of the NFL owners and players, Townsend made only one visit.

That was to New England where he met with Coach Bill Belichick.

"You always want to go out and see what your options are, but in your heart you always want to be where you started," said Townsend. "That was the most important thing for me."

Whether the Patriots actually made an offer to Townsend is unknown, but when the Steelers presented theirs, he decided to take it and end all of the uncertainty.

"It’s important for me, knowing the coaches, knowing how things are run here on a day-to-day basis; those types of things make you comfortable," Townsend told . "It’s a pleasure to be with my teammates again. These are guys I know work hard together; we go out there and sweat. It’s always good to have those people back around you. The situation here is the best. There’s no other organization I would rather play for. It’s the only organization I know. That really made it easy for me."

     Barry Ford caught about 10 nice sized catfish using night crawlers and minnows on the Enid spillway Tuesday. He was also using a 15 lb. test line.
     "It has been a good day! It was cold out there!"
Tigers fall to Eagles in 10 innings
By Myra Bean

South Panola and Horn Lake were trying to play some major league baseball Tuesday night as this all-important district game went 10-innings and three hours.

The temperature had dropping into the 40s following a day of rainy weather. The rain had stopped by game time, but some sprinkles were felt during the game.

It was the Horn Lake Eagles who went home with the 4-2 win.

South Panola had defeated Horn Lake 4-3 in an earlier game March 3.

The score was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, the seventh inning.

Both teams played an intense game on offense and defense. There were very few errors to mark the game.

South Panola finally got on the score board with a double and RBI (run batted in) by senior first baseman Josh Boren to score senior center fielder Jonathon Flint. Boren’s hit was to the wall and almost went over the fence.

Horn Lake took the lead in the top of the sixth inning on a single RBI and a passed ball.

The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Senior second baseman Lance Hendrix got on base on a walk. Tyler Benson came in as his courtesy runner and rounded the bases on a single by Kyle Crofford and Flint. Then on a passed ball he scored from third base.

Though each team had a couple of hits over the next three innings, no one was able to get any run home.

Freshman David Renfroe was the starting pitcher for the Tigers and pitched through the eighth inning and got a no decision. He was relieved by Jameson Rodgers who took the loss.

Rodgers walked two Eagles in the top of the 10th inning and they were able to score.

The Tigers got one hit in the 10th but other batters were not able to get the runner home.

The Tigers fall to 11-5 overall, 2-2 district. They have one more chance at Horn Lake this season to win the series. The Tigers will be in Horn Lake tonight for more district action at 5 and 7 p.m.

The Tigers will be home Saturday to host Senatobia in non-conference action at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Tuesday, another district foe comes to town in the form of Southaven for games at 5 and 7 p.m.

Seventh inning rally by Lee costs Green Waves
By Myra Bean

It was almost the coup of the season, but the North Delta Green Wave baseball team could not hang on to win over Lee Academy Wednesday night.

In a seesaw make up game, North Delta (2-4 overall, 2-2 district) hosted Lee Academy in a district match, which was originally slated to be played in Clarksdale.

Lee Academy won 8-6 but not before the Colts knew that the Green Waves were there to play.

Lee Academy scored first in the top of the second and the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth inning the Green Wave found a way to get on the score board.
On a sacrifice fly, Bryce Raddatz scored Chris Pike who had walked to base to cut the lead 2-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Green Wave bats were hot as they scored four runs. Scoring were Geri Lamm, Dustin Maples, J.T. Dalrymple and Pike for the 5-2 lead.

Lee Academy woke up its own bats and scored on a three-run homerun in the top of the sixth to tie the game at five.

The Green Waves were not daunted. They scored one run in the top of the sixth.

The Green Waves loaded the bases on three walks. A walk off run of Maples by Pittman Harrison gave the Green Waves the 6-5 lead going into the seventh inning.

It was the three runs by Lee in the top of the seventh that did the Green Waves in. In their own turn to bat against a new pitcher, the Green Waves could not get in Hunter Darby, who had singled to get on base and got to second on a pass ball.

J.T. Dalrymple pitched the complete game for the Green Wave and took the loss.

The Green Waves were slated to play Magnolia Heights in non-conference games last night but the score was not available at press time and the rains were moving in.

They will be home tonight to host Kirk in district action at 4 and 6 p.m.

Monday, the Green Wave will host Marvell in a non-district double header beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, the Green Wave return to district action when they travel to Cleveland to take on Bayou Academy at 4 and 6 p.m.



Copyright 2005-2006 by The Panolian, Inc..  All rights reserved
Copyright 2001-2004 by Batesville Newspapers, LLC.  All rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission  is prohibited.