| SP chooses Thaggard, Wilks for Wendy’s Heisman honors
| By Myra Bean
South Panola seniors Lindsey Thaggard and Marlon Wilks have been honored as the Wendy’s High School Heisman winners. Each year two senior athletes, one male and female, are honored with the nomination from their participating school as the Wendy’s High School Heisman participants.
Their names were entered for competition as the state’s Wendy’s Heisman nominees with the state’s candidates going to compete for national recognition. No Mississippians were chosen this year for the two regional spots.
Thaggard is a starter on the South Panola fastpitch softball team where she has played for six years. She plays first base, catcher and center field.
She has been recognized on the local, district and state level for her play.
Thaggard is very active in the school, church and community.
At South Panola she is a member of the Junior Civitans, national Honor Society, FCA, Leadership, yearbook/annual staff, art club and Spanish Club. She holds the offices of secretary, reporter, captain, and speaker in some of the organizations.
Her honors and awards in school include Most Photogenic in the Beauty Review, perfect attendance, and all A’s and B’s honor roll.
She is a member of Hosanna Church where she is a part of the youth choir, youth group, church leadership team, nursery/children’s church, church softball team and dramas/skits.
She is a prayer leader.
In the community, she is a member of and volunteers her time with Batesville Sub Deb cotillion, Big Brother/Big Sister program, Boys and Girls Club, Tiger Tappers, FCA Leadership camp and Prom Committee.
Her future plans include Northwest Community College where she plans to major in physical therapy.
Wilks is a starting defensive end with the South Panola football team which has just won four straight state championships. He has played football since his seventh grade year, and those teams lost one game in the ninth grade and tied with Grenada in the seventh grade.
He has also participated on the track and field team. Other school activities include the science club, adventure club, working in the office, choir and American Pop.
He was a member of the Winter Ball Court and attended state choir competition as a freshman.
In football he was chosen player of the week numerous times and named to the regional 1-5A second team.
He is a member of the Olive Ray M.B. Church where he has been a junior deacon for 10 years. He attended the 2005 National Baptist Youth conference.
His future plans include attending Belhaven in Jackson and majoring in history.
"In 1994, the next level of outstanding achievers ensconced their names into the Heisman lore when the Wendy’s high School Heisman (WHSH) was created," the website said.
The WHSH program has set the standard for high school student-athletes, and gained tremendous prestige in its own right.
Each fall, the program recognizes the nation’s most esteemed high school senior men and women for excellence in academics, athletics, and community/school involvement.
To date more than 136,000 high school nominated students have been touched by the Heisman mystique. Of them, 145 have progressed to the National Finalist level, with 24 earning the designation of Wendy’s High School Heisman National Award Winners.
| Pope sends Strayhorn packing
| By Myra Bean
Pope Jr. High basketball teams sent the Strayhorn Mustangs home with a whipping last Thursday night December 7.
The Pope girls won 22-17 while the Pope boys dominated hands down 38-3.
The Pope girls are 2-1 and the boys are 3-0 overall.
The boys game was getting to be mundane but Blake Snyder hit a buzzer-beater half court shot to seal the deal at the end of the game.
In the girls game, Strayhorn got on the boards first with a three-pointer with 5:05 on the clock. Strayhorn went up 6-2 on another three-pointer with 3:37 left in the first quarter.
On a stolen inbound ball and field goal by Keshia Sanford with 1:46 left to go in the quarter, the lead was cut to 6-4. At the buzzer, Maegan Bolton sank a basket to tie the game at six.
It was Pope’s ball game from that point to the end. Pope went up 12-6 with 5:08 left in the first half. At the half the lead was cut 14-11 Pope.
In the third, Pope led by as many as seven points on two occasions. At the end of the third quarter, Strayhorn had cut the lead to four again, 20-16.
It was a defensive battle for both teams in the final quarter. Pope was held to two points and Strayhorn was held to one.
In the boys game, most of the first three quarters were played on Pope’s end of the court.
In the first quarter, Lee Self and Kendrick Market registered four stolen balls each. Pope led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter on baskets by Market, Marki McMurry, B.J. Tate and D’Marcus Miles.
At the half Pope led 22-0.
Strayhorn made its one and only field goal with 3:14 left in the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Pope led 41-2.
With three seconds left in the game, Strayhorn hit one of two free throws for its last point.
| Recruiting season heats up
By William Correro
What a season! After having one every week since Labor Day I won’t know how to act being home on a Saturday.
Phillip has already reminded me that he has to do his long-throw work (baseball arm strength drill) so that’ll take some time plus finally being able to get the Christmas decorations out and up. Honestly, I really think I might enjoy a weekend off but I’ll let you know for sure next week.
Atlanta was great ? the game was good but really not like I thought it would be. The best part was the little vacation with the family.
Now it all slows down as the bowl games approach. With the SEC having nine of our twelve teams in a bowl of some kind, that will make for nine games I’ll try to watch and not yell at the TV too much.
You know how I can’t stand for one of our teams to lose to an outsider so it promises to be a tough go this time. From seeing Florida four times this season I know they are good but I am really nervous about the title game. The worst part of that one is that they have over a month of being off with no games and only practice with a holiday season to add to the distractions.
If anyone asked me, I would say they need to be playing every week in a REAL playoff system with the final coming right around New Year’s Day. It could be done and it would sure make for better football. I will also say that we are probably only a few more years away from having all 12 teams bowl eligible.
Working with Ole Miss like I do and seeing what State and Vandy have done this year, none of them is far from being there.
But now it’s down to the speculations and all the recruiting junkies can start searching the Internet for who’s going where. It’s recruiting season now and every college football coach in the country is out on the road now sitting in countless living rooms and waking up in countless hotel rooms.
I know this season I was waking up in some toward the end and having to really think about where I was for a few seconds. And remember I live in a dry county so there could be no adult beverage influence on me in that regard either.
I’ll enjoy my time off until the spring and spend some more time listening to the Hot Stove Season in baseball. That’s what their off-season is called.
Plus it’s only seventy-two days until pitchers and catchers report in the Majors and about that long until Phillip and Richard start their spring baseball. Now that I think about it, I better enjoy what little time I do have off. Be safe and enjoy this time of preparation for the Christmas Holidays.
| ND Jr. High Lady Waves take first place
| The 25-19 North Delta Jr. High girls victory over Marvell Friday night put the Lady Waves first place in the division with a 2-0 district record.
North Delta led 6-2 at the end of the first quarter. Both teams saw more point production in the second quarter as North Delta outscored Marvell 14-13 for a 20-15 halftime lead.
Both teams were cold in the third quarter and neither team scored a point. North Delta outlasted Marvell in the fouth quarter outscoring them 5-4 for the win.
Scoring for the Lady Waves were Sara Waldrip, 10 points; Lauren Kimzey, eight points; Bradi Beard and Madison Greenlee, two points each; and Samantha Massoth, one point.
On defense, Massoth had 10 rebounds and four assists. Waldrip had nine rebounds and two steals. Kimzey had six steals and three rebounds.
North Delta has a busy schedule this week. Tonight they will be in Tunica for district action beginning at 4 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, North Delta will be home to host Strider and Bayou, respectively. Against Strider action begins at 4 p.m.
In district action against Bayou, games begin at 3 p.m.
Saturday, North Delta is on the road to Marks to play Delta Academy in non-district action beginning at noon.
In the last game before the Christmas holdiays, North Delta will host Clarksdale Lee Monday, December 18, in non-distriction action beginning at 2:30 p.m.
| MHSAA releases proposed realignment
| By Myra Bean
The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) released its proposed realignment for the 2007-2009 school years (see page B2).
There have been some major moves in each division.
In football in 1-5A, Desoto Central moved up to 5A and knocked Grenada to 2-5A. Vicksburg dropped to 4A and Grenada took over that spot.
In basketball, since Desoto Central moved up, South Panola will go to Division 2 to play with Columbus, Starkville and Tupelo. The four Desoto County teams will make up Division 1.
One of the biggest moves in 5A is Moss Point going to 4A and Terry into 5A. Terry played Wayne County for the 4A South Half championship in football this year.
It was speculated that Wayne County would move back up to 5A, but that did not materialize as their enrollment was below the cutoff.
Many of the gulf coast schools lost students who moved due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina last year.
In 3A football, North Panola remains in 3-3A. Water Valley went to 2-2A. Region 3-3A picks up a Desoto County School in Lewisburg and Tunica Rosa Fort moves back in 3-3A after two years in 4A in the division with Clarksdale, Lafayette and Oxford.
Moving into 1-4A was the new Desoto County school Center Hill.
M.S. Palmer moved out of Region 3-3A to Region 4-3A.
Schools had until last Friday to appeal any of the moves and they were to be discussed in a committee meeting yesterday.
| SP Tiger teams split with Charleston
| By Myra Bean
The South Panola Tigers traveled to Charleston Friday and split games with the other Tigers.
The South Panola boys (5-6) lost 53-49 to Charleston (6-1).
South Panola led 9-5 after the first quarter, but Charleston turned up the heat in the second quarter and outscored South Panola 21-9 for 26-18 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, South Panola almost matched Charleston basket for basket but Charleston outscored South Panola 15-10 to maintain its lead and go up 41-28.
It was South Panola basketball in the fourth quarter as the Tigers outscored Charleston 21-12 to cut the lead, but could not overcome the earlier deficit.
Scoring for South Panola were Regan Bailey and Roderick Jefferson, 12 points each; Antonio Allen, nine points; Michael Broadnax, six points; Brandon Martin, five points; Kerrion Moore, three points; and C.J. Raynor, two points.
The South Panola Lady Tigers (7-4 overall, 1-0 district) won their contest 50-40. It was a nail-biter throughout the first half. The teams were tied at 12 at the end of the first quarter.
South Panola managed to outscore Charleston (5-5) 7-6 in the second quarter for 19-18 halftime lead.
The third quarter was kind to South Panola as they outscored Charleston 15-6 to practically put the game away, but they still had to play the fourth quarter.
The teams both scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, but the third quarter aggressiveness by South Panola won the day for them.
Scoring for the Lady Tigers were Vetorra Cole, 14 points; Skylar Barnes and Sabrina Townsend, eight points each; Tenisha Mitchell, seven points; Stalisha Draper and Kim Sanford, six points each; and Essie Thomas, one point.
The Tiger teams have two games at home this week.
Tonight, the Tigers will host Senatobia in non-district varsity games only beginning at 6 p.m.
The Senatobia boys are 2-7 and the girls are 9-0. The boys lost to Oxford Friday night 85-56 and the girls won 58-55.
Thursday night, the Tigers will host Olive Branch in a big district matchup beginning with the junior varsity games at 4 p.m.
Olive Branch boys are 12-0 on the season and the girls are 11-1.
| Black Panthers: the story that can’t be told
By Robert Neill
If you read this column, then you must not ever speak of it again; or we may have to kill you. Understand?
Recently a local lady took a picture of a black panther as it crossed what looks like a woods pasture in the broad daylight. However, when state wildlife officials were asked to pontificate upon the documented sighting, they essentially said, "Black panthers do not exist; it’s a legend, a figment of someone’s imagination."
Matter of fact, panthers ? or cougars, catamounts, mountain lions: same animal ? do not inhabit Mississippi, according to the same officials. I used to get upset about the negativism of state wildlife officials on the subject of panthers, but after years of research, I think I’ve got it figured out, if you’ll just hold still for it.
Many years ago, I was involved somewhat peripherally with U.S. Government "Black Ops," mainly in the transportation mode.
Speaking as a member of Uncle Sam’s Armed Forces, there are people who have been to places where we never were there, and seen things done that we never did do, and brought KIAs back from places that they never were killed in, if you know what I mean.
We were told that if we ever spoke of some of those operations, we’d wind up being sent to places where we really didn’t want to go, for as long as it took for us to forget about the operations we never took part in, in those places where we never were anyway. Those "Black Ops" didn’t exist, in other words. Understand?
Here we are told by Guv’mint officials once more that something does not exist, even though there are clear pictures. Okay. There is a reason, but we common people do not have the need to know. It’s another "Black Op."
Maybe the black panthers are an undercover operation to check out illegal drug activities. Maybe they’re stalking terrorists ? I mean, if you can train a Labrador to sniff out drugs, and everyone knows we’ve bred up chocolate and now white Labs, how come the Guv’mint can’t secretly breed up a color-coordinated panther to roam around protecting the country? Maybe they’re going to turn them loose in Iraq.
I’ve never seen but one black panther, although I now know I didn’t see it atall. It didn’t cross Highway 27 between Utica and Vicksburg one afternoon right in front of my car, and didn’t stop and look back on the west shoulder of the road as I went by.
There was another car right behind me, so I couldn’t stop to not see it, but a man in a light green van coming from Vicksburg slammed on his brakes and bailed out with a camera, with which not to take pictures of the non-existent black panther.
I’ve seen plenty of the run-of-the-mill khaki-colored panthers which we don’t have around here either. Two were within a mile of my house, one was about two miles from Brownspur, one was on Montgomery Island where the White River hits the Mighty Muddy, and one was on Woodstock Island across the River from Greenville.
I’ve seen tracks within a couple miles of the house where two panthers walked across the mud of a recently blown beaver dam swamp, and where another panther chased (and caught!) a rabbit up a muddy turnrow.
I sat by a campfire on Montgomery Island one night and listened to three panthers calling after a lady panther in season, and I heard another one screaming on Woodstock, on two different occasions from the same area. Of course, state wildlife officials told me point-blank that I had obviously mistaken a big house cat, or a bobcat, or a coyote, for the non-existent panthers, and of course, if they don’t exist, how could they leave tracks, or scream? Ain’t no way, Bubba.
Then comes the recent revelation on black panthers, right after I had read a book on how the Guv’mint developed the Stealth Bomber, the U-2 Spy Plane, and the Blackbird high-speed high-altitude plane ? all under the cover of Black Ops.
Now that you understand the need for National Security on this matter, I hope you will be on the non-lookout for black panthers, and keep your mouth shut about them!
In fact, I don’t think I’ll even send this column out today. There are certain things we need to Wait: someone’s at the door, so I’ll fini.