| SP to face a determined Grenada Charger team
| By Myra Bean
Nothing’s on the line tonight for Grenada but bragging rights and the determination to unseat the South Panola Tigers.
The Tigers (10-0 overall, 6-0 district) will put their undefeated win streak on the line in Grenada Charger territory.
The Tigers own a 55-game win streak and have gone undefeated the last four regular seasons. Tonight’s win will make it five.
The Chargers (6-4 overall, 2-4 district) were upset last week by the Southaven Chargers (4-6, 1-5)
Though an upset win by Grenada over the Tigers would not have any real playoff implications, Grenada would get five seasons worth of bragging rights.
Grenada has lost the four district games by a total of 18 points. They lost the first district game to Starkville 14-7. South Panola defeated Starkville last week 25-10.
The weather seemed to have been a factor in games in a three-state area. It had rained for a day and a half and left muddy fields across the mid-south. Teams which normally dominate were just trying to keep their feet.
South Panola was a prime example against Starkville last week losing four balls to the Yellowjackets, two interceptions and two fumbles. One interception was returned for a touchdown.
It was drizzling up in Southaven, according to reports in the Desoto County Tribune, but the spirits of the Southaven Chargers were high.
They stepped up and pounced on the Grenada defense, despite the drizzling rain, wet field and falling temperatures.
The game at Grenada tonight will begin at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. like the rest of the games.
South Panola has at least one more home game next Friday night. They will play the No. 4 team out of District 2-5A. That team will be decided by tonight’s games between Clinton and Provine, Madison Central at Greenville-Weston and Murray at Northwest Rankin.
| Playoff speculations make thinking fun
By Myra Bean
Tonight is a "win or go home" situation for many football teams across the state. It marks the end of the regular season schedule for 5A and 1A teams and will determine at last the four teams in each region who will vie for a spot in the playoffs.
Even though tonight’s games will answer all questions, it is still fun to speculate on what could and should and would happen.
Teams in Regions 4A, 3A and 2A start their first round of playoffs.
South Panola and Oak Grove are the only two teams who have secured their spots in their regions. South Panola won Region 1-5A with a 10-0 overall, 6-0 district record. The Tigers end the regular season in Grenada against the Chargers tonight.
Oak Grove won Region 3-5A with a 9-1 overall, 6-0 district record going into tonight’s game with Jim Hill. Jim Hill only has one district win to its record this season.
When it comes to playoffs, 1-5A battles with teams from 2-5A in the first round of playoffs.
In 1-5A, the battle for homefield advantage will take place in Olive Branch as they host Tupelo. Both teams are 5-1 in the district and are vying for the No. 2 playoff spot. The winner will host the first round of the playoffs.
In fourth place so far is Starkville with a 3-3 district record who will host Columbus who has a 2-4 district record. The winner will likely take the fourth place spot.
In between those two teams is Grenada (2-4 district) who will have to knock off South Panola tonight to have a chance to vie for a spot in the playoffs. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Grenada.
Region 2-5A has not been settled with a winner and neither has Region 4-5A.
There are some interesting twists going on in those districts. In Region 2-5A Clinton and Northwest Ranking both have 5-1 district records. Clinton’s only loss was an upset in overtime to Warren Central October 20.
Clinton defeated Northwest Rankin 37-28 on October 13 to hand Northwest Rankin its only district loss of the season.
If both win tonight, those standings will likely remain and they will host the No. 3 and No. 4 teams from 1-5A.
Northwest Rankin hosts Murrah and Clinton will be at Provine.
Madison Central and Provine round out the top four teams going into tonight’s game. Madison Central will be at Greenville-Weston.
If those two teams remain in those places, they will travel to the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in 1-5A.
The twist to this scenario is Warren Central who has a 3-3 district record. Warren Central will be at Vicksburg (4-6 overall, 2-4 district). If Warren Central wins and Provine loses, that will tie those two teams with identical district records of 4-3. Provine defeated Warren Central last week 14-3 and holds the edge in the standings.
If Provine manages to upset Clinton, they would both have 5-2 district records and some more reshuffling would have to happen.
In Region 4-5A, the eighth ranked George County (8-2 overall, 6-0 district) will host Ocean Springs (8-2 overall, 5-1 district) for first place in that division.
Also with a 5-1 district record is Pascagoula which is the only district team to defeat Ocean Springs. Moss Point (5-5 overall, 4-2 district) is in fourth place in the standings so far and will host Pascagoula in the final game of the regular season.
Those four teams in 4-5A are in the playoffs. Rankings will be decided after tonight’s games.
In the other south region of 3-5A, some more interesting scenarios will be played out tonight.
After Oak Grove, Meridian, Hattiesburg, Brandon and Wingfield are battling for the playoff spots.
Meridian has a 5-1 district record. Hattiesburg, Brandon and Wingfield all have 3-3 district records.
Brandon lost to Hattiesburg 16-0; Meridian 33-0; and Oak Grove last week 21-15. Brandon defeated Forest Hill 52-20; Natchez 38-6; and Jim Hill 23-6. Brandon will host Wingfield tonight.
Hattiesburg will play at Natchez tonight. In addition to defeating Brandon, Hattiesburg defeated Jim Hill 27-0 and Wingfield 28-7. They lost to Meridian 28-0; Oak Grove 35-7; and Forest Hill 12-7.
Wingfield wins include 26-0 over Jim Hill; 35-8 over Forest Hill and 14-13 over Natchez. The losses are 27-13 to Oak Grove, 28-7 Hattiesburg and 41-14 Meridian.
As Hattiesburg is favored to defeated Natchez, that contest for the last playoff spot between Brandon and Wingfield is on the line tonight.
| Interested ones must learn to read in order to write
By Robert Neill
I have had several occasions in the past few weeks to speak to both adults and kids on the subject of writing, and I reiterated each time: The most important thing one must do to become a writer, is to READ!
Of course, not everyone aspires to be a writer. My tenth book just came out a couple months ago, and this month marks the 21st year that I have written a weekly syndicated newspaper column for papers in four states.
Writing has been good to me and for me, but not everyone feels the need to put their thoughts down on paper. However, in today’s business world, especially dealing with the Internet and business e-mails more and more, it becomes evident that much of anyone’s livelihood involves being able to put together a coherent paragraph. I have been president of the largest regional outdoor writer group, and while I obviously know a lot of readers who don’t write, I don’t know of any writers who don’t read!
I was fortunate to have an older first cousin living across the road from us at Brownspur who babysat us a lot, as well as just visiting as we kids grew up. "Aunt Marg" spent hours reading to us, and I don’t mean just children’s books.
She went through The Arabian Nights, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, The Black Stallion, Two Little Confederates, Red Badge Of Courage, and many other books that I have in my own library so I can occasionally re-read. I just finished Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn for the umpteenth time, and right before them I re-read Chickenhawk by Robert Mason, probably the definitive book on helicopter warfare in Vietnam, and right before that, John Grisham’s delightful little book called Skipping Christmas.
I grew up reading Robert Ruark’s Old Man And The Boy stories, and one of my proudest moments as an author was when a reader in the Carolinas called to say I reminded him of Ruark. One New York critic termed my book The Jakes "a 20th Century Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn."
I ain’t saying that to pat my own back (and Robert Ruark used to say, "To be able to properly write ungrammatically, a writer must know how to write grammatically") but to say that of course my own writings have been influenced by the authors whom I loved while growing up.
For more than decade, I sold air, and was pretty good at it. I was the leading salesman at a local television station for 10 years, but I preached to every group of kids I spoke to during those years: "You cannot build a vocabulary watching TV!" Nor listening to the radio or stereo, for that matter.
Robert Ruark used to say that wherever he was, he would not be bored if he could find words to read, even if they were on the bottles in the medicine cabinet, or the back of a cereal box.
Do mothers and daddies read to their kids any more? I rather doubt it. Betsy and I are fixing to become (see Ruark’s quote above for "fixing to") grandparents for the first time, and I betcha this kid gets read to, and maybe even quoted some really good poetry ? might even have some songs sung to him. Songs are just poetry set to music, and my kids grew up hearing Blood On The Saddle, The Death Of Hobo Bill, Wreck Of Old 97, Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie, as well as Beulah Land or They Baptized Jesse Taylor.
It was a real reward for me to witness my own kids not only quoting, but acting out, The Jabberwocky, although I cannot imagine that I did it as animatedly as they did, when I taught it to them. I have been accused of getting a little too enthusiastic with Charge of the Light Brigade, to the point that some non-Cossacks were ducking to keep from reeling at my saber strokes. Again, not patting my own back (though Big Robert used to say, "He who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall never be tooted") but some of the best hunting poetry can be found in my first book, The Flaming Turkey, which has yet to be reprinted since we burnt them all up a dozen years ago. And I’m still waiting for the Statute of Limitations to run out before publishing my masterpiece that partly goes, "Oh, David, Daring David! Oh, Pilot-hood in Flower! We really hope you do not hit the center pivot tower!"
Read to your kids and grandkids! Buy them books for Christmas instead of TV or compooter games! Shoot-a-mile, call your Uncle Bob and he’ll send you a copy of his new one, The Barefoot Dodgers, or the new reprint of The Jakes! Make this Christmas a reading Christmas, and prepare your kids for life!
| North Delta Jr High Cheerleaders
| The North Delta junior high cheerleaders will be participating for a state championship Thursday, November 30 at Mississippi College. Squad members include (front row, l to r) Casey Beard, Haley Legge, Elizabeth Burkhalter, Morgan Lawrence; (second row, l to r) Madison Greenlee, Mary Jane Morrow, Taylor Cordel; (third row, l to r) Mikki Whitworth, Maggie Williams, Bonnie Beth Moore, Sydney Claire Sullivant, Mary Ruth Womble, Marley Newton, Katelyn Still and Kellee Bates
| Rivalry on tap between ND and Lee
| By Angie Ledbetter
The North Delta Green Wave will be hosting the 2A Lee Academy Colts from Clarksdale tonight at home for their last regular season game of the year. The Green Wave will be honoring the 11 senior football players and two senior cheerleaders tonight before the game at 7:10 p.m.
The Mississippi Private School Association will release official playoff brackets Saturday morning after the regular season is complete, according to head coach Richard Russo. North Delta is looking to claim one of the wildcard spots from District 1-6A whose schools do not have football teams.
The Colts will come to Green Wave field tonight hoping to add one more win to their overall record of 6-3.
They finished up their district play action in 1-AA in second place with a record of 2-1. Their only district loss was to Delta Academy 22-14 on September 22.
North Delta defeated Delta Academy 33-28 in non-conference action October 6.
The Colts also defeated Lee Arkansas 36-7 and Marshall Academy 28-14 in district action. The Colts have scored 198 points and allowed 148 in nine games. The other loss was to 3A Washington 20-6.
Last week, the Colts played the undefeated 3A Magnolia Heights Chiefs (9-0) from Senatobia and lost the hard fought battle 21-14.
The Colts scored first and had the lead until the Chiefs scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. The Chiefs’ defense stepped up and held the Colts from scoring again.
The Green Wave finished the district season 3-2. Bayou clinched the district title and Desoto, Ark. came in second place.
The Green Wave and the Colts have always played a very hard and physical game. Up until this year, the teams were in the same district for a few years. Last year, the Colts defeated the Green Wave 35-18. In 2004, the Green Wave won the battle 19-15 and in 2003, the Colts won 28-0.
Tonight’s game may prove to be no different than in past years as a battle between two good teams. The team with the fewer mistakes will come out with the win, according to Russo.
The Colts bring with them a team of experienced players. They have 34 on the roster and expected to have more with the ninth graders moving up.
On the regular roster, they have 13 seniors, six juniors, 14 sophomores and one freshman.
Russo said the Colts have show size and speed on film.
"It’s going to be a task, but one that I am looking forward to doing," he said.
The Colts have 22 players who weigh at least 180 pounds. They will be led by sophomore quarterback, No. 4 Patrick Clark.
Russo said Clark is a very good "field general."
"He has a good command on the offense, and he makes real good decisions," said Russo. "He really stands out as far as their skilled people."
Anthony Steen and Chase Stanley look to be solid lineman for the Colts, according to Russo.
Steen is a 6’3", 275 pound sophomore. Chase Stanley is a 6’0", 225 pound senior.
"Lee looks to be a very solid team," Russo said. "Their team deserves to be in the 2A playoffs. We will have our hands full this week. They run nine formations. All of them are four or three receivers set. They spread you out but they want a run out of it.
"They try to spread you thin to actually run it up the middle," Russo added. "They try to lure you to sleep right at the middle and then the quarterback will pull it and try to option it."
In order to win, Russo said they will first of all have to run the offense effectively.
"We have to put long sustained drives together, and keep the ball away from them," he sai. "When they do have the ball on offense, we better just play sound technique and good coverage at the same time. Our defensive backs are going to have to help out in run support."
Russo said he is looking forward to this game.
"It’s an opportunity for us to go 4-0 in district 1-AA," he said, referring to wins over non-district opponents.
As for senior night, Russo said it does not matter to him if it is one or 20 seniors, it is always hard on him.
"I really try to develop a relationship with each of my players," he said. "So it is hard to see them go. I tell them that I have meant everything that I have always said to them and I love them to death. I tell them that I don’t care if it is now or 20 years down the road, they will always be my players. If there is anything that I can do for them, I sure will."
As far as coaching the seniors this year in his first year, Russo said that they have been outstanding.
"They really bought into the program and everything that we really tried to teach them," Russo added. "The new ways that we practiced and prepared, they really set the tone in a positive manner for our program."
The pregame show is at 7 p.m. on FM 106.9 with Russo. Kickoff is at 7:30.
| Local teams prepare for basketball season tip off
| By Myra Bean
Local teams are preparing to tip off the 2006 basketball season next week.
The Panolian is producing a basketball section to be published Friday, November 10 which will introduced the local high school teams for the season.
South Panola will start the season Tuesday, November 7 at Senatobia with a 6 p.m. tipoff for the girls, followed by the boys.
The Tigers will be in Grenada Thursday, November 9 for four games beginning at 4 p.m.
Their home opener is Monday, November 13 against Tupelo with three games beginning at 5 p.m.
North Panola will open the regular season by participating in the Horn Lake Tournament Monday, November 6 through Saturday, November 11.
The home opener is Tuesday, November 14 against Amanda Elzy beginning at 5 p.m.
The North Delta varsity boys will delay the start of their season until after the football season is completed. The football team is expected to be in the playoffs and many basketball members are on the football team.
North Delta will not field a varsity girls basketball team this year.
In junior high action, Batesville Jr. High will host Lafayette November 13 beginning at 5 p.m.
On November 11, Pope girls will play in the water valley tournament. November 14 all the Pope teams will play at Strayhorn. On November 18, the Pope boys will play in the Water Valley tournament.
North Delta junior high girls and boys will start the regular season Thursday, November 9 at Oxford University at 6 p.m. They will play the home opener against Magnolia Heights Saturday, November 11 beginning at 4 p.m.
Batesville City League had signups for community basketball Wednesday. The schedule will be released as soon as it becomes available.
| ND Lady Waves win game 1 of Marshall Shootout
| By Myra Bean
The North Delta Jr. High girls are participating in the Marshall Academy Lady Patriot Shootout tournament this week.
Monday, the Lady Waves defeated Memphis Home Educational Association 28-17.
The Lady Waves are 4-1 in preseason play. They played Oakhurst yesterday, but the score was not available at press time. Saturday, they will play Marshall at 12:15 p.m.
Against Memphis Linsey Hebert and Madison Greenlee were the top scorers with seven points each, followed by Sara Waldrip and Lauren Kimsey with six points each. Bradi Beard added three points while Mary Jane Morrow added one.
On defense Kimsey had seven steals. Samantha Massoth had five steals and six rebounds. Waldrip had five rebounds.
The Lady Waves will start the regular season Thursday, November 9 at Oxford University at 6 p.m. They will play the home opener against Magnolia Heights Saturday, November 11 beginning at 4 p.m.