Sports / Outdoors – 8/22/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Panolian: SPORTS – August 22, 2006

  From the 8/22/06 issue of The Panolian       

North Delta Jr. High will participate in a jamboree Thurs., Aug. 24 at Marvell, Ark.
Final registration for the City of Batesville Soccer league will be held August 29 and 5 p.m. at Trussell Park.
     The league is open for boys and girls ages 5 and older. Cost is $10 per child.
     This will be the last chance to register. Anyone who would like to coach a team should come to this registration.
John Johnson Boxing Sat., Sept. 3
A Professional Boxing Event featuring John "Rusty’ Johnson will be held at the Batesville Civic Center on. Six undercard fights are scheduled. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the fights start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission; $15 floor seats; and $25 ringside. Tickets may be purchased at the Batesville Civic Center.
The 19th Annual Sardis Lakeshore Cleanup Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9 in conjunction with Public Lands Day.  To participate in the cleanup effort, all volunteers should arrive at Engineers Point at 7 a.m. to receive instructions from one of the Park Rangers.  
T-shirts will be given to all registered participants while they last and at noon a free hotdog lunch will be served.  Make sure you wear clothes and shoes that you won’t mind getting wet and dirty and please bring a pair of gloves.  For more information on this event, please contact Park Ranger George Harris at the Sardis Lake Field Office at (662) 563-4531.
South Panola High School baseball will host an "Old Timers Benefit Baseball" tournament on Saturday, September 16. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased at the South Panola High School Office, from Shelter Insurance, any player or parent.
     Fee includes admission and a chicken plate. Proceeds will benefit the four baseball players who were injured in a car accident recently.
     Any former South Panola baseball player is eligible to play. To play contact coach Brad Lightsey at 934-5000 or Ben or Randy Boren at Shelter Insurance 563-2772.
The South Panola High School baseball program will host a Fall Instructional League every Tuesday in September 2006 from 2 to 5 p.m. Children ages 10 to 13 can participate. The cost is $40 and includes a t-shirt. T-shirt sizes will be taken the first day of the session.
     The dates of the sessions will be September 5, 12, 19 and 26.
     Sessions will stress baseball fundamentals such as fielding, throwing, hitting, pitching and catching as well as squad games.
     For an application or more information, contact head baseball coach Patrick Robey at (662) 934-2104. Registration deadline is September 1.
Season tickets for the 2006 football season are on sale through August 4, for people who previously held season tickets from last year.
     Tickets may be purchased for $45 from 8 a.m. to
2 p.m. Monday thru Friday in the high school office. Remaining season tickets will go on sale to the public on August 7.
     For more information, call 563-4756.
     South Panola will open the season on Friday,
August 25, in Clarksdale. The Tigers will play a pre-season scrimmage in Jackson at Hughes Field, where Provine plays.
     Participating in the scrimmage with South Panola and Provine will be Brandon High School.
The Barefoot Dodgers leave their mark in baseball history
By Robert Neill

Back when I was just a boy during the sharecropper era, the pasture baseball team at Brownspur was called "The Barefoot Dodgers."

I wasn’t old enough (and wasn’t good enough when I did get old enough) to play with the Barefoot Dodgers, but we white boys on the plantation could practice with the team during summer afternoons. Alton McIntire did get to play in some weekend games, when the team ran short of players for some reason, but his brother Troy and I missed that by a couple of years.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

One year, the Barefoot Dodgers won the league championship and went to Memphis to play in a regional tournament, in Chick Stadium, if memory serves. The captain of that team was Bud Granger, a tall lanky guy who could literally bend a curve ball around the corner of the haybarn.

His knuckleball was of Major League caliber. While the Barefoot Dodgers didn’t win the regional tournament, Bud made the all-star team and pitched in a pickup game against the old Brooklyn Dodgers, striking out a couple of future Hall of Famers.

A few years later, Bud left Brownspur and went north.

I didn’t hear of him for decades, but a few years ago I was driving to a speaking engagement in Pensacola, when suddenly it seemed like a bushel basket of novel dropped right through the windshield!

I mean, I instantly knew the plot, the players, everything!

I pulled over at Lucedale to make notes for 20 minutes, then drove on with the notebook propped up on the dash of the van. When I got home, I dove right into the story, writing. Did the first part and the ending (lots of time, the author knows the ending before the beginning) in about six weeks, and sent that off to a publisher’s consultant in Nashville late Friday. Bud, of course, was one of the main characters.

Sunday afternoon at two, guess who drove up in my driveway? Bud!

You could have knocked me over with a feather. He had moved back to the Delta from up north, and had driven out to see if anyone was left on Brownspur, where he grew up. We embraced, and I invited him in for coffee, it being a cold December day.

I introduced Bud to Betsy as I made Slung Coffee, and as I handed him his cup, he asked, "You ever think about the old baseball team we had, the Barefoot Dodgers?"

Right. It was spooky. I printed him out a copy and over the next month, he read it, got his mother and sister to read it, and hunted up two old Dodger teammates to read it.

When he called back in late January, he said, "We don’t want you to change a thing. I just want to meet with you and tell you more stuff that happened, so you can flesh this book out." We did so several times, before Bud died of a heart attack.

That book is now available. THE BAREFOOT DODGERS sells for $24.95, and you can get signed copies by calling 662-686-7789, or writing me at P.O. Box 6, Stoneville, MS 38776, or e-mailing me at if you like. Add $1.75 for tax in MS, and $2 S&H, for a total of $28.70.

Another of the heroes is modeled after Mike Ethridge, whose brother Mark was best friends with my son Adam. Mike was a Cystic Fibrosis victim, and though a year older than Mark and Adam, couldn’t play baseball with them until the summer he was eleven.

That spring, Mike’s father came to me: "Mike had a good winter, and he wants to play baseball. Since you coach Mark, and Mike has spent a lot of time at your house with the other boys, I want you to coach him."

I turned Wesley down, knowing Mike might have a seizure on the field. He offered to keep my scorebook, so he’d be on the field himself to watch after Mike. I said No again: "I can’t take that responsibility!"

And Wesley replied, "Okay, I understand. But I want you to remember this: Mike doesn’t have a long life expectancy, and if he never plays an organized game of baseball, it’s gonna be because you wouldn’t coach him!"

Mike led the team in hitting that summer. He was Team MVP and made the Little League All-Star team. He later was manager of a state championship high school football team, graduated from high school and college, and was working as an engineer in Houston, Texas, when Cystic Fibrosis finally prevailed over him.

Real people are the best kind to write about, because they tell their own stories!

Quarterback Spotlight:
SP, ND, NP leaders ready to take gridiron Friday
By Myra Bean

Friday night, all three local teams kick off the 2006 football season.

The main focus of each team will be its quarterback, at least for the first offensive possession.

North Delta will have first year junior quarterback at the helm. First year head coach Richard Russo will be directing things from the sidelines.

South Panola will be led by second year starting senior calling the shots. Fifth year head coach Ricky Woods will be calling his shots from the sideline.

, senior lefthander, will lead the Cougar charge for the second straight year. North Panola will have first year head coach Vincent Johnson directing things for the Cougars.

North Delta, ranked No. 2 in MPSA A pre-season polls by The Clarion Ledger, is the only local team at home and will host big, long time rival 3A Magnolia Heights from Senatobia.

The Chiefs are ranked No. 5 in the MPSA AAA preseason polls.

North Panola will be on the road to face Booneville. Neither team earned a preseason ranking in MHSAA 3A.

South Panola entered the preseason nationally ranked at No. 4 by the National Tony Poll and ranked No. 1 in the state by The Clarion Ledger.

Friday, the Tigers will travel to Clarksdale to take on the Wildcats who are ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 1 in MHSAA 4A.

Each of the quarterbacks sat down to a preseason interview to discuss their takes on their teams this year.

South Panola: Leroy Diggs

Leroy Diggs has to keep his mind on directing the South Panola Tiger team this year even though his future eye is bent on playing college ball somewhere. He is entertaining the idea of playing at Ole Miss, Mississippi State or Alabama.

Last year he was the second leading rusher with 1,415 yards on 219 carries and scored 15 touchdowns. He completed 50 passes for 961 yards last year and 16 touchdowns.

He said his first love was to play on defense, "but I like playing quarterback though."

Diggs said his main job is to keep the team together, go out and play together and try to win.

"It feels good being the quarterback of South Panola, knowing you are the leader of the team," Diggs said.

As for this year, Diggs said the coaches have asked the players on this nationally-ranked team to do what the players on the non-ranked teams are doing: go out play hard throughout the whole game and practice hard.

Even though South Panola is a nationally ranked team, Diggs said they feel the same.

Diggs contributes the success of the Tiger team to open communication between the players.

"We tell each other what we have to do, work out hard, let each other know what they have to do, let them know what they mess up on," he said. "We let each other know everything. We just work together."

That will be necessary when the Tigers face what could be their toughest opponents of the season the first four weeks.

"It’s a hard schedule," Diggs said. "I don’t know about the rest of them. I haven’t heard about them yet. The first four games are supposed to be real good, especially Clarksdale."

In the offseason and during practice, Diggs said he has been working on what he was not very good at last year. What was that?

"Passing the ball," Diggs said.

There will be some new targets for Diggs this season after the graduation of Rodney Gray in Roderick Jefferson and Montez Austin.

Backing up Diggs are David Conner and Mario Nash. Diggs will also see some time in the safety and cornerback positions on defense.

He is the son of Anita Diggs of Batesville and Leroy Sanford of Sardis.

North Delta: J.T. Dalrymple

J.T. Dalrymple played wide receiver last year.
"I always wanted to play quarterback," Dalrymple said. "I got a chance to quarterback and am making the best of it. I do pretty good."

Before spring practice, Dalrymple said Russo approached him about being the quarterback.

"He had heard I could throw real good," Dalrymple said. "I told him I would like for him to give me a shot at it."

Dalrymple is excited about the upcoming season and what is happening on the team.

"We have a pretty good team," he said.

North Delta ended last season 8-3, but missed out on the playoffs with two district losses.

Dalrymple said it was a big switch to go from catching the ball to throwing the ball but he said he is "pretty good" at throwing. Even though the gameplan for the Green Waves includes running the ball first, according to Dalrymple.

Dalrymple expects big things of himself at the quarterback position.

"I have to step up and do some stuff and lead the team," he said.

He is also the field goal kicker and punter for the Green Waves. He is 5’11" and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.

Dalrymple admitted the Green Waves did not play like a team last year. Things are now different under first year coach Russo and the excitement is building at North Delta.

The players, with Dalrymple at the helm, are looking forward to matching shoulder pads with the Chiefs in the big showdown Friday night.

"We are ready for them," Dalrymple said about Magnolia Heights. "We are very excited.

"He (Russo) came in and set a new atmosphere for everyone," Dalrymple added. "He brought the team together. That is what we needed."

Some receiving targets are Josh Garrott and Blane Joyner.

Running the ball will be Dakota Mabry at fullback, Nick Douglas and Evan West, who switch out depending on the formation.

Dalrymple also has some plays designed especially for him.

"You are running the offense basically, calling the shot," he said. "I just love it. It feels pretty good."

Dalrymple is the son Tim Dalrymple and Kim Jackson. He has a brother and two sisters.

His grandparents are Joe and Betty Herron, and Harold and Peggy Dalrymple, all of Batesville.

His future plans include playing college ball somewhere as a kicker and maybe baseball.

North Panola: Perry Trammell

Though North Panola has struggled the last two seasons, quarterback Perry Trammell is determined to latch onto first year head coach Vincent Johnson’s philosophy, "Heading in a New Direction."

One of the first things Johnson did was the team was to change their conditioning practices. He upped them.

"He’s got us going through a lot of conditioning, getting ready for the season," Trammell said of Johnson. "He’s not that hard to get adjusted to. He makes us run a lot."

Trammell has also been working harder on his technique at the quarterback position. That includes his dropping back and making sure he has all his mechanics and steps right.

Under this new system, Trammell said he has learned some things.

"I learned even if you make a big play, I can’t always come back on that play and say I made this play," he said. "You have to keep going all through the game. You can’t get down on yourself, have to always be positive about everything."

As a senior and quarterback of the team, Trammell said the coach has asked him to lead the team on the field and in the hallway.

"Whatever the seniors do, the others will follow," Trammell said.

The positive thing with this year’s team is the players are working hard.

"We are working hard and we are better than last year’s team," Trammell said. "Everybody’s going in the same direction."

In the backup quarterback position is Trammell’s cousin, Quin Ellis.

The starting center position is still up for grabs with Curtis Arnold and Rodregus Salter vying for the position.

"The exchange from both are good," Trammell said.

In the receiver position are Bruce Wilbourn, Jarvis Taylor and Denard Presley.

Running backs include Hector Williams and Joshua Armstrong.

The North Panola quarterback is the son of Wanda Trammell and Perry Trammell. He has three sisters and one brother.

His grandparents are David Trammell and Julia Trammell of Sardis and Queen Esther Norwood of Batesville.

Fans can meet NP Cougars
North Panola will host a Meet the Cougars event Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m. on Cougar field. New head coach Vincent Johnson along with the rest of the staff and the Cougar team will be present.
2006 South Panola Volleyball Schedule
Date Team Place Time
8/19 Volleyfest@Tupelo TBA
8/22 Olive Branch A 5 & 6 PM
8/24 Horn Lake A 5&6 PM
8/29 Southaven H 5&6 PM
8/31 Hernando A 5&6 PM
9/5 North Panola H 5&6 PM
9/7 Desoto Central A 5&6 PM
9/12 Southaven A 5&6 PM
9/14 Olive Branch H 5&6 PM
9/19 Desoto Central H 5&6 PM
9/21 Horn Lake H 5 & 6 PM
9/23 South Panola Tournament 9AM – 4PM

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.