Sports / Outdoors – 4/21/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 21, 2006

The Panolian: SPORTS – April 21, 2006

  From the 4/21/06 issue of The Panolian       
 SCHEDULES – BASEBALL:             

Green Waves prepare for first spring under new coach
By Myra Bean

New North Delta football coach Richard Russo has his coaching staff up and running in preparation for spring practice which begins Monday.

On top of that, the players have been pushing themselves hard in the weightroom preparing their bodies for the rigorous training ahead.

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"I have been here five weeks now and the boys have been working extremely hard," Russo said. "They have bought into the new strength and conditioning program. I couldn’t be happier with their attendance and their effort every day."

One player who stands out during the spring will receive recognition from the coaching staff in a new award which Russo established: The Brandon Presley Green Wave Spirit Award. Russo just received approval from Presley’s mother to grant the award.

Presley was a North Delta alumnus who died while on duty in Iraq, December 12, 2005.

"The reason I did this is that I had never met Brandon, but from what I hear he had tremendous character, patriotism and Green Wave Spirit and I think he should be remembered," Russo said.

A player who meets the criteria the coaches set for this award will have his name engraved and placed on the plaque which will hang in the field house following the jamboree on May 18.

Some of the criteria include being present at all spring football practices and jamboree, being a team leader and illustrating a passion for the Green Wave football program.

"This award will be given annually to the player who most exemplifies hard work, determination, leadership and character during the month of spring football practice at North Delta," Russo said.

Spring Practice
Russo will be introducing new offensive and defensive schemes during spring practice.

"Our goals first and foremost are learning the new offensive and defensive system and make sure we are putting our kids in the best possible position where they can succeed and help the team," he said. "If we come away from these four weeks of doing that, get after the two teams coming to our jamboree, and come out healthy, I’ll say it was a very much accomplished spring training."

As new head coach, Russo has not seen firsthand what the returning players did on the field, but he said he has watched tapes of last year’s games.

"That doesn’t translate since we won’t be using the same offense and defense," he said, in reference to what happened on the field. "What I was looking for was hustle and determination, regardless of what the scoreboard said."

According to Russo, this spring he will be looking for the same hustle and determination.

"Every day in spring practice, it is not always going to be fun, it’s not always going to be easy," he said. "I want to see who perseveres through that, who’s encouraging, who’s being a leader."

North Delta will have 20 practices in a 30-day time span, which is different from the public schools who can only practice 15 days, which includes the spring game.

"We will have more time than I am actually used to for spring," he said. "We will take 18 practices, five of which will be shorts and t-shirts. We are not required to do that. I like that because those are good teaching days. Then we will have our jamboree."

Even though that Friday is not a practice per se, it will be a closure for spring and get ready for summer workouts, Russo said.

The new coach was proud to relate that team morale is "incredible."

"For the lift a thon held Tuesday, the guys really worked," he said. "They went out and got donations and they got pledges and we have already raised over $4,000. Community support has been tremendous and the boys’ efforts have been tremendous. As far as morale goes, I can’t be happier."

Russo named a few team leaders he has seen emerging since he has been at North Delta. He named Jon Michael Ware as always present and enthusiastic. He spoke of the character of J.T. Dalrymple, who does odd jobs without being asked.

"That’s special," Russo said. "What do you do when nobody’s looking? That’s character."

Russo was very complimentary of Dakota Mabry, who gives "full effort."

"One day we had a competition and he pushed his body way to the limit," Russo said.

Emerging as leaders are Blane Joyner, Austin Atkinson and Josh Ratliff .

"It’s really great because they are offensive linemen," Russo said of Atkinson and Ratliff. "We will go as far as our offensive linemen will take us."

As for filling in the positions, Russo said he and the other coaches met April 13 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. and put in the whole defense. They were scheduled to put together the whole offense last night.

"We put them where we will practice them at least in the beginning," he said. "We may get in the spring and say this guy is a not a defensive tackle and he needs to be moved to defensive end, etc.

"We are putting in the hours to make sure we are putting the kids in the best place they can be," he said.

North Delta will host the jamboree Thursday, May 18.

Football Schedule
Aug. 25 Magnolia Heights Home
Sept. 1 Marshall Away
Sept. 8 West Memphis C.S.* Home
Sept. 15  Kirk Away
Sept. 22 Desoto (AR)* Away
Sept. 29 Tunica Institute*HC Home
Oct. 6 Delta Away
Oct. 13 Lee-Marianna (AR) Away
Oct. 20 Bayou* Home
Oct. 27 Marvell (AR)* Away
Nov. 3 Lee-Clarksdale (MS) Home
*District 1-A Game
All games 7:30 p.m.
NP delays practice
North Panola will delay spring practice for one week until after state tests are administered next week, according to head coach Demetrius Hill.

"Principal Lucinda Carter has said we are to have no after school activities until after state tests," Hill explained.

Football Schedule
Aug. 26 Booneville Away
Sept. 1 Coldwater Away
Sept. 8 Rosa Fort Home
Sept. 15 Holly Springs* Home
Sept. 22 M.S. Palmer* Away
Sept. 29 Independence* Home
Oct. 6 Byhalia* Away
Oct. 13 Open  
Oct. 20 Water Valley* Home
Oct. 27 Senatobia* Away
*District 3-3A Game
All games 7:00 p.m.


National recruits to highlight Tiger team spring practice
     South Panola’s Tradeus Burgess works out in preparation for spring practice next week.
By Myra Bean

Though South Panola head football coach Ricky Woods does not talk about national rankings, no one forgets the team was ranked No. 6 by USA Today or No. 4 by the National Tony Poll at the end of the season.

Neither do the fans expect any less than next year’s team to continue to build on the 45-game win streak left over by last year’s team.

South Panola lost 13 starters to graduation this year.

Upcoming senior running back Jeramie Griffin, 6’0, 230 pounds, said he is ready for the spring.

Griffin is one of the top recruits from South Panola, along with linebacker Chris Strong and Leroy Digg. All three have made verbal committments to play for the Ole Miss Rebels next year.

Well respected recruiting analyst Max Emfinger has scored all three of these South Panola players. Players who are rated 6.51 or better are National Top 125 Players. Players who are rated 6.49 or better are National Top 250 Players. Players rated 5.46 or better are National Top 500 Players.

Griffin, 6.52, and Strong, 6.51, are national top 125 players and Diggs, 6.49, is a national top 250 player.

Emfinger indicated that 33 of the top national players are from Mississippi. In this list, seven have verbally committed to Ole Miss.

In the list Griffin is No. 2 and runs the 40 in 4.45 seconds.

Strong, 6’2", 240 pounds, is No. 4 and runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds.

Diggs, 5’10", 190 pounds, is ranked No. 10 and runs the 40 in 4.33 seconds.

In a Wednesday afternoon interview, Woods talked about the offseason and what he expects during spring workouts and practice from the approximately 90 players expected to show up.

"We had a great offseason," Woods said. "We have a lot of work to do. Some of these younger kids are going to have to step up do what they’ve got to do for us to be successful. We are just really sort of starting all over.

"We have some good players coming back. but we are going to have to have some of these young guys come through for us," Woods added.

Woods was complimentary of the players’ going out and working hard.

He pledged the coaching staff will work hard.

"We are going to work real hard and they are going to work real hard. Hopefully, we will come up with a pretty good team," Woods said.

"Spring is the period where you can do a lot of experimentation, sort of place people," he continued. "When you come out of spring, you need to be able to place them where they are going to hit. That’s what we do in the spring."

Some areas of concern Woods expressed are on the offensive line where three starters graduated and on the defensive line.

"We have a lot of positions to fill," he said. "A lot of jobs are open for guys who really want to play. There are a lot of people who will be battling for jobs. So it’s going to be an interesting spring."

South Panola will participate in a spring jamboree on May 11 in Clinton. Times will be announced later.

Football Schedule
Aug. 24 (Thurs.)  Clarksdale Away
Sept. 1 Moss Point Home
Sept. 8 Germantown Home
Sept. 15 Memphis Carver Home
Sept. 22 Horn Lake* Home
Sept. 29 Olive Branch* Away
Oct. 6 Columbus* Home
Oct. 13 Tupelo* Away
Oct. 20 Southaven* Home
Oct. 27 Starkville*  Away
Nov. 3 Grenada* Away
*District 1-5A Game
All games 7:00 p.m.
Popular coaches to headline NWCC football showcase
By Brett Brown
NWCC Sports Information

Coaches, players, and fans can get their fill of football when Northwest Mississippi Community College hosts the inaugural Next Level Football Showcase May 4 and 5 on the main campus in Senatobia.

The event, which has Sycamore Bank as its corporate partner, is primarily a coaching clinic with high profile head coaches as guest speakers. It will also be used as a combine for unsigned football players to get an opportunity to play college football.

Football officials and fans are welcome to attend as a culmination of Northwest’s spring football practice. The Rangers will play their spring football contest at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 4. Admission to the spring game is free to the public.

"I believe the Next Level Showcase will be a great opportunity for everyone who loves football," said Northwest Head Coach Randy Pippin. "The spring game will give our kids a great chance to get on the radar with some four-year schools next season."

Some of the football coaches who will be speaking at the event are University of Mississippi Head Coach Ed Orgeron, University of Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer, Mississippi State University Head Sylvester Croom, and University of Memphis Head Coach Tommy West.

For more information about the Next Level Football Showcase, including registration instructions, please log onto the Northwest Mississippi Community College Web site at: .




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