SPECK: Don’t complain about officials, videotape them

@brandonspeck

HOUSTON – Opinions are like pillows. We all have at least one. Some are just the way we prefer. Some make your neck hurt.

Opinions on high school sports officiating can be a much worse pain in your neck.

This is not an officiating-bashing column. It’s a hard job and frankly, 99.9 percent of you are usually wrong when you’re sitting in your Walmart foldup doing all that fussing.

But there are times you’re right.

April 25, 2015. Hickory Flat at Greenville St. Joe, a deciding Class 1A playoff Game 3. It’s tied in the bottom of the eighth inning and Hickory Flat coach Andy Dillard goes to the mound to talk with ace Phillip Tatum.

Tatum, the starter, walked the previous batter and Dillard went to discuss bunt strategy on the following nine-hitter. That’s when he was told by the home-plate umpire he’d have to pull Tatum, because he made an illegal mound visit.

Problem is, you get an extra visit per extra inning and that was Dillard’s visit. So the umpire was just wrong, harmfully wrong. Dillard pulled Tatum and St. Joe went on to reach on another controversial bunt and won with a two-out RBI. Now that may have been the result either way, but we don’t know. All we know is Dillard was illegally forced to remove his ace.

Hickory Flat got in touch with the Mississippi High School Activities Association, but without video evidence, as much as I’d like to blame them, there was nothing they could do.

Hickory Flat principal Barry Goolsby wanted to make it very clear he placed zero blame on the MHSAA or St. Joe.

His advice, though, is timeless.

“You need to videotape baseball games. I would advise all baseball coaches to videotape their games,” Goolsby said.

HOUSTON ALMOST DID IN

On a playoff Tuesday at Houston, a called out at first didn’t, but could have easily cost the Hilltoppers a game at the most inopportune time.

Trailing 1-0 in the opener of the North 4A finals, – a trip to the state championship series on the line – Houston looked to have loaded the bases with no outs. But Zack Poteete was called out on a bang-bang play at first.

There is no replay, obviously, but in this case, it was pretty dang obvious without replay he was safe. Houston knew it. Lafayette know it. Everyone knew it, except the first-base umpire.

Now what he saw was an out and maybe he was 100 percent convinced it was so. Scary thing to put big dreams in the hands of human beings.

It means a lot to make a state championship game. Even pros hold these days as high as any in their pro careers. To risk having such dreams squashed by humanity is terrifying.

Houston rallied and won, but that call, for nearly the next three innings, was looming. Officials make mistakes and unfortunately they squash championship dreams.

Though the MHSAA is not to blame for poor officiating, making public repercussion of bad officiating is a good place to start cleaning up its reputation for things it is blamed for. And as Goolsby’s advice holes, videotaped games are the only way to repercuss.

I’ve seen maybe three incidents ever in which I was convinced a team was getting the shaft. It happened to Aberdeen football twice on my watch, once at Mooreville and once at Water Valley. It happened to Baldwyn basketball in the most blatant display of incompetence I’ve ever seen in a state championship game.

Those are unfortunate, but rare. Officials are usually right and fans are usually wrong. Unfortunately when that is reversed, well, it’s just unfortunate. Even when it’s less human error than human brain lapse.

The only way to place the blame, legit or false fan fury, is via videotape.

Posted in Sports

Lafayette OL Johnson talks Ole Miss future

@brandonspeck

OXFORD – Lafayette’s Eli Johnson had plenty of opportunities to decommit from Ole Miss. Nebraska and Duke pursued hard. But the OL is “as solid as can be” and plans to enroll in December.

Here is my story from the #DJournal, as well as some video with Johnson from Ole Miss camp.

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Posted in Football

Ramey happy in PGA event, but expected nothing less

@brandonspeck

MEMPHIS – Former Itawamba AHS and Mississippi State golfer Chad Ramey will play in his first PGA event Thursday, here at TPC Southwind in the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Ramey said. “I don’t think it’s probably quite hit me yet.”

Ramey tees off at 9 a.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday. He’s excited to be here – and well should be – but he’s also aiming at doing more than being here.

“It’s definitely where I want to be. I want to get out here and see where my game racks up obviously against the best in the world,” he said. “I kind of expect to be here. I’ve worked really hard at it. I finally got an opportunity and I need to really take advantage of it.”

The field includes 2014 winner Ben Crane, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, seven of this year’s PGA Tour winners.

Ramey won three individual state championships at IAHS and led the Indians to three team titles.

Posted in Sports

All-Star Hoops today at ICC, dunk video included

The NMBCA All-Star basketball games tip today at Itawamba CC’s Davis Event Center. Here is a preview.

Here are the rosters.

Here are the rosters for Saturday’s NMABC Robertson’s Sportswear All-Star Basketball Games at ICC’s Davis Event Center:
1A-2A Red
Coaches
Bernadatte Sayles, Coffeeville
Laketa Petty, Bruce
Players
Makesha Harris, Bruce
Sierra Coleman, Calhoun City
Santana McKissck, Calhoun City
Dejah Reed, Coffeeville
Tomaja Shaw, Coffeeville
Abby Cantrell, Hatley
Grace Elliot, New Site
Allie Moreland, New Site
Jakayla Johnson, Potts Camp

1A-2A Blue
Coaches
Reneetra Pippin, Baldwyn
Bill Brand, East Webster
Players
Haley Sandlin, Baldwyn
Timaya Steward, Baldwyn
Savannah Davis, Biggersville
Lynesha McCurry, East Webster
Quantesha Patterson, East Webster
Jaliyaah Patterson, Eupora
Haley Robinson, Eupora
Tiara Jones, Vardaman

3A-6A Red
Coaches
Chris Higginbottom, Belmont
Cliff Ormon, Oxford
Players
Elisiah Jones, Belmont
Morgan Stephens, Belmont
Parrish Tice, Kossuth
Alex Brown, Pontotoc
Margaret Hatcher, Pontotoc
Marlee Hatcher, Pontotoc
Zaida Cox, Ripley
Jada Rich, Ripley

3A-6A Blue
Coaches
Matt Justice, Tupelo
Shelley Walters, Nettleton
Players
Aniyah Marshall, Itawamba
Bree Stewart, Itawamba
Jabria Pounds, Nettleton
Jayla Jones, Nettleton
Kassie Gaston, Saltillo
Mary Moore, Saltillo
Taylor Price, Starkville
Marqueesha Hoskins, Tupelo
Braxton Thomas, Tupelo
Jaleigha Polk, Tupelo

BOYS
1A-2A Red
Coaches
Daren Coffey, Calhoun City
Willie Mays, Coffeeville
Players
Austin Burl, Calhoun City
Steve Martin, Coffeeville
Demetris Reed, Coffeeville
Joseph Broom, Ingomar
Laquain Foster, Ingomar
Tyler Moore, Jumpertown
Chase Franklin, New Site
Elijah Jumper, Pine Grove

1A-2A Blue
Coaches
Jake Walker, Falkner
Brian Pearson, Tremont
Players
Chet Barber, Baldwyn
Romaro Crump, Baldwyn
Jacob Girley, Blue Mountain
Richard Green, Falkner
Treyvon Jeanes, Falkner
Joseph Collins, Hickory Flat
Ben Booth, Tremont
Pierre Garel, Tremont
Brandon Irby, Wheeler

3A-6A Red
Coaches
Devin Hill, Itawamba AHS
Brad Gray, Senatobia
Players
Kendall Stafford, Corinth
Andrew McDonald, Itawamba
Jarel Lipsey, New Albany
Rashad McWilliams, New Albany
Devin Zinn, Pontotoc
Kaleb Barnes, Pontotoc
Jabrin Pegues, Pontotoc
Xzavier Jones, Shannon
Xavier Hobson, South Pontotoc

3A-6A Blue
Coaches
Guy Gardner, Belmont
Craig Lauderdale, Saltillo
Players
Chandler Young, Alcorn Central
Harrison Fancher, Belmont
Kylon Freeman, Holly Springs
Brandon Gonzolas, North Pontotoc
Cortez Jones, Oxford
Shelby McEwen, Oxford
Reggie Miller, Saltillo
Raphael Leonard, Starkville
Josh Skinner, Starkville

And here is a link to last night’s dunk contest that Shelby McEwen owned, courtesy Kedrick Storey.

Posted in Basketball

Orr’s summer just getting started

Aberdeen WR/DB Jerrick Orr picked up his first offer, from Memphis this week. Rated a 3-star prospect and the No. 20 prospect in Mississippi by ESPN, Orr told me at last Saturday’s Tupelo Combine he has a busy camp schedule.

Here is a story on the 6-foot, 180-pound senior in today’s #DJournal, as well as some video.

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Posted in Football

Aberdeen ATH Orr has his first offer

@brandonspeck

Aberdeen senior ATH Jerrick Orr has his first offer, the Memphis Tigers. Orr got the call Tuesday after camp there Monday.

“It feel real good,” he said, “like all my hard work paid off. It’s a relief. I don’t have to worry about offers.”

With one in his pocket, Orr (6-foot, 180) doesn’t have to worry about getting more offers, but he certainly, and rightfully so, expects more. The speedy WR/DB ran a 4.50 at Memphis and has said he’s still looking to chop tenths off of that. That was down from a 4.59 at Saturday’s Tupelo Combine, where he also clocked a 6.75 L-Cone.

He plans to go to Arkansas State on Wednesday and Mississippi State June 8.

Posted in Football, Recruiting

My 40-time leaves plenty to be desired

After Hamilton ATH Keshon Heard ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at Saturday’s Tupelo Combine, thought it would be a good idea to test mine.

Granted, my takeoff is shaky (nearly faceplanted) and my form is lacking, but this ole boy ran a 5.5.

Not bad, considering Tupelo coach Trent Hammond didn’t think it would even fit on Vine. Independence coach Richard Russo I’m pretty sure predicted a 12.34.

Thanks to my lone supporter, Tupelo OC John Keith who had faith I was a sub-6 and to Houston coach William Cook for the humiliating video evidence.

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Posted in Football, Sports

Steve Robertson good for Mississippi football

@brandonspeck

TUPELO – It should be noted that Scout’s Steve Robertson is good for Mississippi High School football.

Today marked Robertson’s eighth annual Southeast Select Tupelo Combine, where 121 college football hopefuls measured and drilled, numbers Robertson sends to all the Division I, II and junior colleges in Mississippi and bordering states.

As usual, there were stars of the show, topped by Hamilton ATH Keshon Heard. Heard was the fastest man, after finishing second last year, clocked at a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. Heard has an offer from Mississippi State.

Plenty impressed, including Tupelo senior corner Jarques Davis with a 4.44 40 and junior receiver Chris Shannon, who ran a 4.49. Other rising seniors getting a jump start on their final year included Houston safety Denver McQuary, who has 25 career interceptions, Corinth quarterback Antares Gwyn, Aberdeen receiver Jerrick Orr and Nettleton defensive end Chris Long.

Robertson makes no money off the camp, that has for eight years been a proving ground and springboard for the already-known and the up-and-comers. Kudos to you, @scoutstever.

Here is Robertson.

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Posted in Football

Smithville coach Kerr accepts IAHS job

@brandonspeck

Smithville baseball coach Steve Kerr has accepted the head coaching job at Itawamba AHS, sources told the Journal Thursday night.

The 2014 Daily Journal Coach of the Year takes over for 30-year IAHS coach Brian Long, who retired following the season.

Kerr spent the last four years at Smithville, where he led the Seminoles to the 2014 Class 1A state championship, the school’s first, as well as a second-straight trip to the title series last week.

The Seminoles lose four seniors from his first full class, all starters. IAHS went 20-12 and lost in the Class 4A state quarterfinals. The Indians lose eight seniors.

Posted in Baseball

John Austin Taylor 2-1 Offensive POY

Al-Division 2-1A

Offensive Player of the Year: John Austin Taylor, Ingomar

Defensive Player of the Year: Zack Perkins, Myrtle

Pitcher of the Year: Matt Browning, Ingomar

First Team

Ingomar: Kelton Hall, Cade Hall, Dillan Speck, Joseph Broom; Myrtle: Anthony Lipsey, Brandon Perkins, Lane Bishop, Dillon Kennon; West Union: Ryder Willard, Cole Phillips; Hickory Flat: Phillip Tatum, Jacob Gadd; Blue Mountain: Eric White

Second Team

Ingomar: Brady Cox, Braxton Dowdy, Logan Nobles; Myrtle: Jacob Kent; West Union: Hayden Basil, Andrew Childers; Hickory Flat: Josh Orman

Honorable Mention

Ethan Taylor, Ingomar; Luke Willard, West Union; Shane Smith, Hickory Flat; Tanner Cox, Myrtle

Posted in Baseball

Barber Gatorade Mississippi POY

Oxford pitcher Jason Barber, a 2016 Ole Miss commit, has been named the Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year. He is the first Charger to receive the honor.

“Jason Barber has been tremendous his whole career, but he has been especially electric this year,” Oxford coach Chris Baughman said in the Gatorade release. “His ability and knowledge of how to pitch, not just throw, shows an understanding of the game of baseball well above most high school kids. He has been a huge asset to our baseball team his whole career and we would not be in the position we are in right now without him.”

Barber finished the season 12-0 and didn’t allow an earned run in 78 innings. He also hit .337.

Posted in Baseball

Oxford No. 6 in latest MP rankings

@brandonspeck

MaxPreps has released its latest national baseball rankings and Class 5A champ Oxford is at No. 6 in America. The Chargers went 35-1 and completed the season with a dominating championship sweep of George County (4-0 and 9-0).

Oxford was a New Hope home run away from a perfect 36-0.

Posted in Baseball

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