Sports / Outdoors – 1/23/2007

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Panolian: SPORTS – January 23, 2007

  From the 01/23/07 issue of The Panolian   

Woods accepts coaching position in Georgia
     After five years at the helm of the powerhouse South Panola High School football team, head coach Ricky Woods (second from left) has announced his acceptance of a coaching job at Bainbridge High School in Bainbridge, Ga. With Woods are (left to right) son Stan, wife Susan and son Thomas.
By Myra Bean

The news spread across the state like the California wildfires with the announcement that South Panola will lose its decorated football coach, Ricky Woods.

Woods, 47, and his wife Susan, came to South Panola in the spring of 2002 following the resignation of Ed Stanley after a 5-6 record.

Since that time, Woods proved over and over again that he was the right man for the South Panola job.

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He led the Tigers to an undefeated regular season in 2002 and a trip to the state championship against Wayne County. The Tigers lost that championship. It was the only loss Woods logged as the Tiger head coach.

He leaves with a 74-1 overall record, 60-0 winning streak and the state record for the longest win streak. In 18 years, Woods has a 204-40 record and six state championships.

Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Willis Wright said, "Batesville is not only losing a good coach. Batesville is losing a good man."

Wright described Woods as the easiest guy to work with but also as an intensive competitor.

"His record speaks for itself," Wright said. "It’s a big loss for the community, but a great opportunity for Coach Woods."

Woods is very thankful to the people of the Panola County community who welcomed and accepted him and his family over the years.

"It’s the best community we have ever lived in," Woods said. "All four administrators – the ones who hired me and the ones I am working for now – have done everything I asked of them.

"I couldn’t have worked for four better guys," Woods continued. "The teachers and counselors have just been great to Sue and I. Of course the community speaks for itself."

Leaving is not easy for the Woods.

"It’s sad leaving but I hope we have left a lot of friends here," Woods said. "I have enjoyed it. My wife has enjoyed it. My two children have enjoyed it. There couldn’t have been a better working relationship between me and the people I work with. It was wonderful. Everything was positive for me and Susan."

He said the players here are the best kids he has ever been around.

"They are the reason I came to South Panola," he said. "I am talking about the players now and the players in the past. The kids are what make the world go around."

Woods learned about the position from some friends of his who coach in Georgia. One asked if he had his 25 years in Mississippi and told him about the Bainbridge upcoming position.

"It’s a lot like the community in Batesville," Woods said. "It reminds me of Batesville. They’ve got country kids like Batesville. It is just an opportunity Sue and I decided to take. It was a hard decision we made."

Woods said he is still having fun coaching and thought he needed to go another round before he got much older and his energy level waned.

"If I am going to do this, I need to do this while I am having fun," he said. "We are going to miss South Panola. Everything here has been wonderful. We have enjoyed every aspect of it. I need to thank the administrators, coaches, teachers and players."

With his credentials, Woods would probably be a shoe-in for some sort of collegiate coaching position, but he has not considered that route.

"Coaching high school football is what I have always enjoyed," he said.

Being in Batesville and at South Panola has been wonderful, according to Woods.

"If the Lord lets Susan and I live long enough, we will probably retire back here," he said. "We are not saying bye. We are saying we will see you after a while."

The Bainbridge High School Bearcats are in Region 1-4A in Georgia. Decatur County Georgia has about 28,000 inhabitants and the school has 1,600 students. There are four teams in the district and the top four teams go to playoffs each year.

Bainbridge has been eliminated in the first round every year except for 2003, when the Bearcats got to the second round.

Greg Guy, 42, resigned as head coach and athletic director and has not indicated what his future plans are, according to Joe Kline, sports writer with The Post Searchlight in Bainbridge.

Kline also indicated the team needs someone to get them to the next level.

Woods to speak at cheer benefit set for Saturday
As the South Panola High School Cheerleaders are preparing for national competition, supporters are busy raising the funds necessary to make the trip happen.

The high school and junior high cheerleaders will compete at the UCA National Cheerleading Competition February 9-11 in Orlando, Fla.

The high school squad placed fifth last year in the super squad category. This is the junior high squad’s first ever trip.

The public is welcome to get a peek at the competition routines during "Show Night" on Wednesday, February 7 at 5:30 in the Batesville Jr. High School gym. Both junior high and high school squads will perform their routines. Admission is free and open to the public.

Saturday, January 27, the Spirit of Cheer Booster Club will sponsor a benefit concert for the competition cheerleaders at the Eureka downtown beginning at 7 p.m. Special guests include outgoing head football coach Ricky Woods, cheerleading coach Tammy Wilkinson, Voices of the Tigers – George Carlson, Bob Norris and Steve Wingert – and music by The Lighthorse Harry Band. There will also be auctions and raffles.

For more information and reserved seating, please call Serena Morrow at 609-9777 or Michelle Roberson at 934-5701.

Waves fall in close one to TIL
By Myra Bean

The North Delta varsity boys lost to Tunica Institute of Learning (TIL) Friday night, 43-41.

The Green Waves (9-11 overall, 2-6 district) were led in scoring by Jon Terry Moore with a career high 23 points. Taylor Herron added seven points, followed by Brandon White with six.

Thursday, the Green Waves defeated Lee, Ark. 55-36 at home.

Moore led with 13 points, followed by Dakota Mabry with nine points. Other scorers include Evan West, Taylor Herron and Brandon White with eight points each.

Jr. High Boys
The North Delta Jr. High boys are 10-10 overall, 3-5 district after winning one of three games last week.

Tuesday, they lost to Marvell 54-43. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Green Waves were down by 14, but made a valiant effort to catch up. At one point, they had closed the gap to five points.

"We went from the 2-3 zone to man-to-man, put some pressure on them and caused some turnovers," said junior high head boys coach Brad Wilson.

Leading scorers for the Green Wave were Geri Lamm with 17 points and B. Nickle with 16 points.

Against Lee, Ark. Thursday, North Delta won handily 45-19.

"Everybody played in this game," Wilson said.

Leading scorer was Tres Brasell with 12 points.

Friday, the district game with TIL was tied at halftime, but TIL got the advantage and the 48-40 win.

"The boys played really good and hard," Wilson said.

Lamm was the leading scorer with 18 points, followed by Nickle with seven.

Wilson said he does not have a real post player, but spreads the time between four players Brasell, Thomas Womble, Jim Tom Copeland and Carson Bailey.

"Keith Crumpler had a good game against Lee, Ark.," Wilson said. "He came off the bench and scored four points.

"Corbin Baker’s effort has been tremendous," Wilson added. "He has been diving for balls and making his presence known."

Of the 10 losses, five have been by six points or less and two in overtime.

Wilson does not keep stats of the seventh grade boys but he did say the team is learning a bit as they get to play.

Team members include Bailey Guckert, Zack Inman, Sean King, Levi Garner, Luke Williams and Matthew Barefoot.

ND Jr. High girls in district quagmire with Marvell
By Myra Bean

North Delta will take its district show on the road to face Bayou Academy tonight in route to another busy week of basketball.

Monday the junior high teams traveled to Magnolia Heights in Senatobia for non-conference action. The scores were not available at press time.

The junior high girls saw their nine-game win streak come to an end against district foe Marvell last Tuesday night in a 29-25 loss.

Marvell held a 7-6 first quarter lead, but the Lady Waves caught up and led 19-15 at halftime.

The two teams are now tied for first place in the district. North Delta is 19-9 overall, 7-1 district. North Delta won the first meeting between these two teams 23-19.

There are some steps in place to break this first place tie. Upsetting the balance of nature is that these two teams are tied in the first two categories: losses to each other and are tied for defensive points allowed.

The next step concerns the third place team. The two who allowed Desoto to score the least points in two games will be the first seeded team in the district tournament. North Delta only allowed Desoto 31 points in two games and will probably be the first place team because Marvell allowed Desoto 27 points in one game.

Marvell and Desoto will play each other this week.

North Delta will host the junior high tournament beginning Monday, January 29. It will continue on February 1 and 3.

Scoring against Marvell were Lauren Kimsey, eight points; Sara Waldrip, seven points; and Madison Greenlee, five points.

In the seventh grade girls game, North Delta won 11-6. Bradi Beard scored three points.

The seventh grade girls remain undefeated with a 15-0 record.

Thursday, the junior high girls defeated Lee, Ark. 23-22. The game was tied at 22 at the buzzer but a Lee foul put Sara Waldrip at the free throw line. Waldrip hit the necessary one free throw to win the game and avoid overtime.

Scoring for the Lady Waves were Kimsey, eight points; Waldrip, five points; Madison Greenlee and Linsey Hebert, four points each.

Lady Green Wave head coach Phil Douglas described the game as a "defensive battle."

"Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score, but did not shoot very well," Douglas said.

Friday, North Delta hosted Tunica Institute of Learning (TIL) in district action.

North Delta soundly defeated TIL 45-21. The starters did not play after the first half, according to Douglas.

Contributing to the win were Bradi Beard, 12 points, five assists; Madison Greenlee, six points, four assists; Hanna Greenlee, six points; Meri Morgan Fortune, six rebounds; Sara Waldrip, five rebounds; Katelyn Still and Laci DuBravec, four steals each.

The girls will finish out the regular season this week. Tonight they will play a district game at Bayou beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, North Delta will host West Memphis in district action beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, the teams will travel to Strider for non-conference action beginning at 2 p.m.

Who can replace a legend?

By Myra Bean

South Panola High School has listed an ad for a head football coach in today’s edition.

We all know that the person who will take on this program has to be more than a coach.
Not to throw dirt, but it was not as hard to fill that position five years ago as it will be today.

How do you replace a legend? How do you replace someone who is larger than life on the sidelines?

Has anyone ever replaced Vince Lombardi or Bear Bryant in the coaching world?

That’s a laugh.

Coach Ricky Woods did not replace Coach Willis Wright and this next coach will not replace Coach Woods.

It is not possible. The standards of South Panola, Batesville and the Panola County community are exacting when it comes to "our" kids and "our" football team.

Coach Woods is a father figure to many of those football players and non-athletes at that school. They depend on him and he has never let them down. He disciplines when he has to, but they know it is done with love.

The ad demands someone with five years of coaching experience, but the main requirement is "demonstrated ability, through a leadership role, to work with people."

That encompasses a lot. That translates to a man of understanding with a heart and compassion to work with young men whose egos and self-esteem are a large part of who they are.

Bainbridge wasted no time in snapping up Ricky Woods. Just about every other school in this state and others would have done the same if they knew he was on the market.

This has to be a very special kind of school to be able to entice Woods and his family from this environment. I do not believe this was a decision made without a lot of prayers and thoughts.

Knowing of the Woods’ faith, I believe they asked God for something and this was his answer to their prayers. We do not always know in what form an answer will take, but we have to step out in faith that He will take care of us.

To those who will be making the decision to find a new coach, not necessarily replace Coach Woods, to do so wisely.

To be blunt, we not only love our coach, but we love our win streak, too.

To the Woods family, we pray all God’s blessings in your future endeavors.

Pssst…Don’t tell Coach Woods and Coach Wright I called them legends. They are so humble that they may be blushing if word got out.

Since I don’t see that many legends, I think I know one when I see one.

Sardis Lake sets February 10 as trees for fish day
Crappie and bass fishermen have long known the value of placing brush and trees in lakes to provide cover for minnows and small fry. They could pick off the larger specimens that were hanging around the cover looking for an easy meal.

In recent years, catfishermen have also realized that their favorite quarry also resides around these cover sites. As reservoirs age and the flooded timber and brush rots away, this protective cover becomes more and more important.

With these factors in mind, the Sardis Lake Field Office is sponsoring a "Trees for Fish" day to be held on Saturday, February 10 from 8 a.m. until
12 p.m.

Volunteers are invited to meet at Beach Point or Teckville Landing, where cedar trees, wire, and weights have been stockpiled.

Those who can are encouraged to bring pontoon boats or ATVs to assist in the placement of weights and trees, however they are not required to participate.

Also, remember to bring extra life jackets in case you have other volunteers on the boat with you or your helmet if you are on an ATV.

Lunch will be provided at the Corps of Engineers Maintenance Compound near Sardis dam and at Holiday Lodge at Teckville Landing.

For more information on this event, contact Gary Hardin at the Sardis Lake Field Office at (662) 563-4531.

Officials shift to defensive line for PATs

By William Correro

So football, as we know it, is winding down. As you read this, there’s only one more real game to play. I have a feeling on who will be going to Miami for the Super Bowl and it’s not the lineup I was wanting. But then, maybe the weekend’s playoff games will turn out like me, the fan, would like.
What’s going to be interesting to see is if the Saints make it to the big dance in Miami. There is a well-known electronics retailer in Jackson who had a special sale on all HD LCD and Plasma TVs with the condition if the Saints make it to the Super Bowl and win, the purchase price of the TV would be refunded to the buyer.

They sold over a million dollars worth during this promotion. The retailer did purchase an insurance policy in case the Saints did win but the policy was only for five-hundred thousand dollars and the retailer will have to make up the other half a million.

The insurance is the same as those "win a car for a hole in one" like you’ve seen at golf tournaments. Just something else to add to the suspense of the games that have not been played as I write here but will be history when you read this.

I had an officiating question put to me during one of the NFL games last weekend. During a kick for an extra point after a touchdown, it was noticed there were two officials working behind the defensive line where we usually only have one.

It’s what we call "U 2" where one of the deep officials, the Side Judge, comes up and works as a second Umpire on tries to help watch for all that can go on in the middle of the lines.

The Umpire will take the snapper and rest of the players to the left of the ball and the Side Judge will look at those to the right side of the snapper. With the special rules on contacting the snapper and defenders jumping to block the kick and coming down on another player in addition to the holding, a second set of eyes are needed.

This was started in the SEC several years ago and then adopted by the NFL and later the other Division 1 officials in the country. I know for a fact it’s not a favorite position to work for most Side Judges to have to get that close to the trenches. But they do their job by adding that extra presence in the middle of the line and hopefully prevent some fouls from happening.

I hope you all enjoy the Super Bowl this coming weekend and I’ll be back for one more time this season.

Weather causing hunters and fishermen trouble outdoors

By Robert Neill

Some of us were cussing and discussing the recent weather last weekend. One guy was a duck hunter who depended on the rain for water holes to hunt on, and on prolonged freezing weather up Nawth to send the ducks down here to light on the potholes so he could shoot at them. He wasn’t happy: "We ain’t had a duck season in four or five years!" he grouched. I thought it had been longer than that.

The next guy was a fisherman almost exclusively, but he declared that the fish weren’t biting even though the weather at the time was in the sixties and the water levels were about right in the oxbow lakes he frequented.

"It ain’t hardly worth going these days," though everyone knew he’d be fishing that next weekend.

Another guy was a deer hunter, and complained of mosquitoes driving him out of the woods the day before.

"Heck, if I’da killed a deer yesterday, it’d have spoilt before I got it back to camp!" he observed.

This is an aside, but in spite of what some clubs require, I’ve always field dressed ("gutted") my deer as soon as they hit the ground, and I’ve always had great tasting venison. Some folks will shoot a deer at 8:00 o’clock, drag it out to the road, wave down a jeep coming in for lunch, load the deer up and take it to camp, hang it on the skinning rack, eat lunch, take a nap, then field dress the deer in mid-afternoon.

Then they say, "I give all my deer meat away, ’cause it tastes gamey!" Lordee, the finest corn-fed steer in the world would taste gamey if you left the innards in it for six hours after you killed it!

Then the deer hunter stated, "I’m tempted to quit hunting deer and go to scouting for wild turkeys now, although I know it’s ‘way too early for the turkeys to be gobbling and working to a call."

Not necessarily. Late one deer season it had turned cold again and I was on one of the River islands at daylight one morning, shivering up against a sweetgum tree on the side of a brushy draw. Somewhere south of me a hound bayed, and moments later, I saw the gleam of antlers coming up the draw.

A buck broke clear of the brush and stopped as he topped the far ridge, about 50 yards away. He was east of me, and the sun was just rising beyond him. He posed, looking first over his shoulder, then toward me, then across the ridge he’d stopped on.

He made a beautiful picture, his breath rising in frosty mist that shone like diamonds as the sun’s rays gleamed on his wide 8-point antlers. I had a mental picture that I’ll never forget as I pulled the trigger.

The 30/06 boomed, the buck collapsed neck-shot, and a wild turkey double-gobbled! Just like that: one, two, three!

My ears always ring after I fire a rifle, so I thought maybe they were playing tricks on me. "Was that a turkey?" I wondered, as I stooped to pick up my seat cushion and coffee thermos. Just to check, I called back: "Yawk, yawk, yawk!"

I started across the draw to field dress my trophy, and halfway across, durned if the gobbler didn’t answer me, with another double gobble.

He was also east of me, toward the sun, so I slowed and peeked over the ridge before I topped it. Once more I yelped – I call with my mouth – and once more the turkey gobbled back. I chuckled, set my cushion and Thermos down, leaned my rifle against a persimmon sapling, took my coat off, and pulled out my scabbard knife.

It only took a minute to perform the first couple of you-can’t-write-it-in-the-paper rituals involved in gutting a deer, then I rolled the buck over to slit him open from stem to stern. Steam rose from the cut as I knelt astraddle the deer to cut around the diaphragm, then I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.

That crazy gobbler strutted up to me out of the sun, as the steam from the opened-up buck mingled with the frost of my own breath.

Had the gun been closer, I might have taken home double trophies. I stayed still and yelped softly at him, provoking another double-gobble in a full strut. He came within ten yards, when the hound bayed again back down in the draw and spooked the turkey.

It was a great morning – don’t ever try to predict what a wild turkey will do!


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