Four Downs: No reward for 1-seed: Oxford travels


1. Redo of the Skuna River Rivalry.

It will be the 66th edition of the Skuna River Rivalry, between Bruce and Calhoun City. Probably the most underrated rivalry in Mississippi, the two ends of Calhoun County are friendly, except for that one week out of the year when the Trojans and Wildcats face off. This year, a second meeting has been awarded. with a 2A North State berth on the line.

No one expected Bruce (5-7) to be here, but three straight wins, including a must-win regular-season finale at Okolona, have made it happen. Calhoun City won the regular season game, 56-15 and is 12-0, the No. 1 Class 2A team in the state.

They met with state title berths on the line in 1995 and 1996, but even with the stakes a round lower this week, it won’t take any of the passion out of it. And don’t go off assuming the outcome. Weird, weird series.

2. All of 1-3A is out.

It was a rough night in 1-3A. North Pontotoc, Mooreville and Kossuth all lost, a combined  143-68 to Aberdeen, Louisville and Charleston.

3. 7 remain in 5 games,

Only seven Journal-area teams remain in the title hunt, none in 1A, none in 4A. Two teams face off: Bruce at Calhoun City and Oxford at West Point, both rematches. Others still in the mix: East Webster, Aberdeen and Starkville.

4. Here’s what makes no sense.

Hear me out. Oxford is the No. 1 Class 5A team in the state and has to travel to West Point, a team it beat (43-22 there) in the regular season. Oxford won the division. That makes zero sense and I don’t even have the patience to explain it to you if you don’t agree. No reason whatsoever Oxford should have to travel for this game. MHSAA, ball’s in your court, not that I expect you to do anything except dribble it off your foot,

Posted in Football

Scores from Friday, Nov. 14

(G) West Union 56, East Union 33
(G) Hatley 51, Hamilton 31
(G) Ingomar 70, Biggersville 59
(G) Saltillo 63, Alcorn Central 28
(G) Booneville 57, Tishomingo County 36
(G) South Pontotoc 43, Pine Grove 30
(G) New Albany 66, Myrtle 30
(G) Mantachie 69, Thrasher 37
(B) Saltillo 67, Alcorn Central 51
(B) Hamilton 57, Hatley 52
(B) Thrasher 72, Mantachie 53
(B) Myrtle 67, New Albany 63
(B) Tishomingo County 68, Booneville 56
(B) Pine Grove 43, South Pontotoc 42
(B) Ingomar 68, Biggersville 53

(G) South Pontotoc 2, Pontotoc 2 (Pontotoc won 5-4 on penalty kicks)
(B) South Pontotoc 1, Pontotoc 0
(G) Saltillo 4, Olive Branch 0
(B) Olive Branch 2, Saltillo 0

(G) DeSoto Central 5, Tupelo 3
High games: (T) Caitlyn Gardner 172, Addison Gable 160, Patrice Sharp 123.
High series: (T) Addison Gable 420, Caitlin Gardner 389, Patrice Sharp 351.
Records: Tupelo 0-1.

(B) Tupelo 7,
DeSoto Central 1
High games: (T) Clayton Horton 227, Drew Turberville 224, Cody Chambers 223, Josh Turberville 215.
High series: (T) Clayton Horton 631, Cody Chambers 614, Josh Turberville 611, Drew Turberville 601.
Records: Tupelo 2-0.
Notes: Tupelo boys also defeated Lewisburg 8-0 on Friday.

Posted in Sports

Scores from Thursday, Nov. 13

(G) Pontotoc 49, Ingomar 21
(G) Walnut 55, Booneville 50
(G) West Union 47, South Pontotoc 45
(G) Ripley 83, Falkner 45
(G) Myrtle 50, Mooreville 38
(G) Charleston 55, Vardaman 49
(G) Aberdeen 51, New Hope 41
(G) Baldwyn 84, Thrasher 32
(B) Baldwyn 77, Thrasher 21
(B) Charleston 72, Vardaman 25
(B) Myrtle 83, Mooreville 72
(B) Aberdeen 68, New Hope 63

(G) Saltillo 12, North Pontotoc 0
(B) Saltillo 5, North Pontotoc 1

Posted in Sports

Video: NeMiss standouts sign hoops, diamond deals


Two North Mississippi baseball standouts signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday’s national signing day, Pontotoc SS Delvin Zinn and Belmont pitcher Luke Alexander. A Pontotoc teammate, catcher Will Howard, signed with Mississippi College.

Alexander, who also starts for the Belmont basketball team and has played football, has been committed to Mississippi State since the eighth grade.

The promising chances of going to Omaha make it even sweeter.

“It really is, especially with this recruiting class we got in,” Alexander said. “Every kid wants to be in Omaha and it’s a really good chance with Mississippi State.”

Zinn is a speedy shortstop who hit .346 last season. Howard was the Division 1-4A MVP.

“We’ve got two outstanding guys who have been in the program since the seventh grade,” Pontotoc coach Casey James said. “They’re guys who do just as good of a job off the ball field, in the classroom. They’re just two high-quality young men and I’m awful proud to see great things happening to them and the programs they’re going to go contribute to.”



Marshall Academy three-sport standout Dakota Dailey (6-foot-1, 180) signed with Delta State to play basketball – and baseball. Delta State gave the senior the best offer, plus the family lived in the Delta for 12 years. DSU was able to keep baseball an open option

Dailey signed in front of a room full of students and coaches, including his dad, and basketball coach, Craig

“I teared up,” said Craig Dailey. “It’s a very close-knit place. It’s been really great for him.”

Dailey (6-foot-1, 180) has been to seven title games in football, baseball and basketball, won three hoops titles, and the Partiots are vying for another in football with Dailey at quarterback – to date he has 11,391 career all-purpose yards and 157 touchdowns.

The point guard has played huge roles on three basketball championships and has 2,212 career points (18.4 ppg.). He has averaged 4.1 assists per game (492 total). He has been MAIS all-state the last four years and an All-MAIS first team selection in three sports in 2012, 2103 and 2014.


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Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Recruiting

Scores from Tuesday, Nov. 11

(G) Biggersville 74, New Site 66
(G) Belmont 70, Shannon 67
(G) North Pontotoc 50, Aberdeen 29
(G) Ingomar 65, East Union 20
(G) Kossuth 58, Pine Grove 35
(G) Tremont 43, TCPS 37
(G) Wheeler 65, Myrtle 38
(G) Potts Camp 67, Hickory Flat 63
(G) Saltillo 54, Mooreville 33
(B) New Site 73, Biggersville 53
(B) Ingomar 64, East Union 49
(B) Kossuth 63, Pine Grove 52
(B) Tremont 62, TCPS 39
(B) Myrtle 87, Wheeler 41
(B) Potts Camp 64, Hickory Flat 55
(B) Alcorn Central 83, West Union 69

Posted in Sports

Journal Preseason Top 10 Basketball Teams


Preseason Boys Top 10

1. (2A) Baldwyn: Bearcats went to fourth title game in five years and return five starters and top 10 players.
2. (3A) Aberdeen: Bulldogs return all-area F Marcus Carouthers.
3. (4A) Corinth: Warriors return F Antares Gwyn and 6-foot-3 G/F Kendall Stafford.
4. (5A) Oxford: Roster includes senior F Shelby McEwen, winner of the Jordan Brand First to Fly dunk Contest.
5. (4A) Ripley: Guard-heavy Tigers returns include senior PG Cannan Ratliff and F Isaiah Howard (after football).
6. (2A) Calhoun City: Wildcats to be expected to compete with Baldwyn for 2A North. Big returns, including sophomore G/F, Ladavius Drain.
7. (4A) Pontotoc: Warriors return G Kaleb Barnes (6-foot-3) and sophomore F Ty Jones (6-foot-5).
8. (6A) Tupelo: Golden Wave playing a tough schedule and returns talented senior G Antonio Green.
9. (4A) Shannon: Red Raiders made state semis and return exciting PG Roc Coleman.
10. (4A) New Albany: Bulldogs have size, including 6-foot-6 junior F Miles Washington and PG Jarel Lipsey.

Preseason Girls Top 10

1. (6A) Tupelo: Lady Wave won 26 games last season and had G Jaleigha Polk back.
2. (3A) Belmont: 3A finalists return 5-11 F Katelyn Nunley, G Elishia Jones.
3. (4A) Itawamba AHS: Defending 4A state champs return G Constance Dunn, F Tori Mallory.
4. (4A) Shannon: Lady Raiders have P Quin Agnew back in the paint and on perimeter.
5. (4A) Pontotoc: Lady Warriors should contend with return of G Marlee Hatcher.
6. (2A) New Site: Lady Royals are led by 6-1 senior G/F Grace Elliott.
7. (3A) Ripley: F Jada Rich and G Zaida Cox return for Lady Tigers.
8. (1A) Biggersville: PG Tyler Shelley returns to lineup after ACL surgery.
9. (3A) Booneville: Defending 3A state champs are led by G Adallice Young.
10. (4A) Lafayette: </note></b><note>G Shaniyah Buford averaged 13.5 ppg the last two years.


Posted in Basketball

Video recap and ahead: Tupelo to face No. 1


Tupelo won its final three games to get a playoff spot and will travel to No. 1 Starkville on Friday. Here is my story from Friday’s win at Olive Branch, as well as today’s #DJournal story with a couple of thoughts from coach Trent Hammond.

Here are Hammond (while OC John Keith made faces) and RB Tavonta Hadley after Friday’s win.

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Posted in Football

MHSAA Football Playoff schedule

Friday, Nov. 14
Class 1A
Broad Street at Falkner
Coldwater at St. Aloysius
Greenville St. Joe at Coffeeville
Smithville at Shaw
French Camp at Cathedral
Lumberton at Pelahatchie
Salem at Nanih Waiya
Sebastopol at Resurrection

Class 2A
Calhoun City at South Delta
East Webster at Baldwyn
Hollandale Simmons at Eupora
J.Z. George at Bruce
Bassfield at Pisgah
East Marion at Bay Springs
Mize at Lake
Union at Taylorsville

Class 3A
Aberdeen at North Pontotoc
Charleston at Kossuth
East Side at Kemper County
Mooreville at Louisville
Collins at Raleigh
Morton at Forest
Philadelphia at Tylertown
West Marion at Choctaw County

Class 4A
Cleveland at Lafayette
Kosciusko at Itawamba AHS
Noxubee County at Yazoo County
Ripley at Greenwood
Magee at Forrest Co. AHS
Purvis at Vancleave
Quitman at Poplarville
St. Stanislaus at Northeast Jones

Class 5A
Callaway at New Hope
Clarksdale at Pearl
Ridgeland at Oxford
West Point at Germantown
East Central at Laurel
Gautier at Wayne County
Pearl River Central at Picayune
West Jones at Pascagoula

Class 6A
Grenada at Clinton
Northwest Rankin at South Panola
Tupelo at Starkville
Warren Central at Southaven
Hancock at Oak Grove
Hattiesburg at Brandon
Meridian at D’Iberville
Petal at Ocean Springs

Posted in Sports

Scores from Saturday, Nov. 8

(G) Hatley 43, Hamilton 20
(G) New Albany 56, Aberdeen 24
(G) Shannon 54, Lafayette 33
(G) Belmont 66, Baldwyn 56
(G) Saltillo 57, Tishomingo County 30
(G) Tupelo 46, Madison Central 39
(G) Bruce 49, Water Valley 34
(G) Calhoun City 70, Vardaman 33
(B) Madison Central 69, Tupelo 60
(B) Saltillo 95, Tishomingo County 46
(B) Pontotoc 79, Starkville Aca. 42
(B) Horn Lake 81, Shannon 52
(B) Calhoun City 89, Water Valley 46

Posted in Sports

Four Downs: “Don’t call it an upset” *LL voice


And they start to fall. The playoffs began in Classes 2A, 3A and 4A tonight and there were plenty of story lines. All six of the state’s classes will be in elimination games next week.

1. Tigers can turn a negative to a positive.

Saltillo beat the No. 2 team in Division 1-5A, until tonight, once-beaten New Hope, at New Hope. The Tigers needed a win and a Clarksdale loss to make the playoffs. Clarksdale won, so Saltillo’s season is over and it marks the end of a stellar two years in Saltillo for Diamante Pounds. But beating New Hope, a home favorite in a meaningful game, was a big step for a program that not long ago, would not have won that game.

2.I wouldn’t call them upsets.

South Delta won at Walnut. Bruce won at Coahoma. Yazoo County won at Corinth.Beating a team at their place doesn’t define upset, especially with the nonsense four teams per division and wacky division alignment we have. John Meeks was very concerned about SD, so was Corinth coach Doug Jones about Yazoo. They knew what they were facing. Bruce, well we’ve been waiting for them to show up and they may have done just that at the right time. I have the Trojans going to at least round three, where it could be Skunk River Dos

3. Something I don’t understand.

Starkville QB Brady Davis seems perfectly happy with his commitment to Memphis. But even if he were to choose not to entertain them, where are the other offers? Where are the big-time offers for receivers Raphael Leonard and AJ Bown from the Power 5? I don’t get it. What are you guys looking for? I’d dig stats, but it’s late.

4.Happy for yuns

I don’t cheer for teams. Let get that fixed, but there are people and teams I’m happy for tonight. 1. Hatley: lost, but made first-ever playoff trip.

2. Tupelo: three straight wins and a new style – grind it out and stop the run. 3. Kossuth: Aggies seniors were freshmen on a very good team, Closing their careers in the same fashion.

Posted in Football

Situation at Tupelo – OB not really a situation


Arriving at Olive Branch for Tupelo’s regular-season finale, there was some talk about the hosts not allowing Tupelo’s coaches in or on the home pressbox.

Some said someone got ugly with some Tupelo folk and that may have happened, I don’t know. But I do know the rule isn’t a Tupelo thing. I’m told that when Grenada played here on Oct. 24,  a coach on top of the box threatened to throw a chair at a fan. Since then, OB may be guarded with sending opposing coaches up there.

Looks like the Tupelo coaches are crammed into the visiting box with radio guys across the way, but one person in the home box did tell me that Tupelo was being told they could come over here.

There is your story that means absolutely nothing, but is still sort of funny.

Posted in Football

If you don’t yet know Robert Woodard, you will


NEW ALBANY – Robert Woodard calmly talks about his game, while college coaches are starting to frantically beg him to come to their school, four years from now.

Woodard is a 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard for Columbus High, one big and talented, 15-year-old freshman.

Future150 already has him labeled a five-star athlete for the 2018 class, a sizeable shooting guard, rebounding finisher with a cool shot who can score from all over the floor.

“I like to go down in the post a little and mainly be out on the wing. It depends on who’s guarding me,” Woodard said after Columbus’ game at last weekend’s New Albany jamboree.

Woodard’s versatility is one reason he is rated the 10th best player in the country for the class of 2018 and a big reason he already has scholarship offers from Mississippi State and Tennessee.

Columbus is loaded with talent, including 6-foot-7 junior Artavious McDyess (son of NBAer Antonio),  and should make a 6A run in Mississippi. Woodard is humbly accepting his freshman role, but recruiters will continue to hype his skills.

Columbus coach Sammy Smith knows the ceiling for the freshman is sky-high, but he – and Robert – keep it team. And he isn’t worried about anything going to his young head this season or in showcases.

“All Robert has to do is be Robert and play up to his potential and play within his team. We’re all in this together,” Smith said. “You guys are making this ‘how great his potential can be.’ We know that, but I think his mom and dad have done a tremendous job keeping him grounded.”

Woodard plays AAU with Corinth’s Da House. He finished his eighth grade year last season before joining the varsity team. From the time he joined the varsity club, Woodard led the team in scoring.

In October, Woodard was one of 48 players – joining Malik Newman from Mississippi – to work out in the U.S. Junior National Team mini-camp in Colorado Springs.

“This summer was really a learning experience with the high school team, getting adjusted to the game, getting used to it and seeing how my teammates play,” said Woodard, who sounds well beyond his 15 years. “With the national team, it was a humbling experience, going against players bigger and stronger than I was, seeing what kind of talent is out there.”

Woodard says he is working to improve his ball-handling and leaping abilities. Plenty of eyes are already on him. Woodard though, doesn’t strike as the type to let that affect him, as poised a teenager as you’ll meet.

“A lot of people like to watch me play, but I just have to do what I do and block it all out,” he says.

Woodard grew up – or is still growing up – a Mississippi State fan, but he says his recruitment is fair game to everyone. And that is shaping up as four years that will be as fun to watch as his game.

His ceiling: “Oh my,” said Smith. “He has a chance to be a really, really, really, really good player. Now, however he’s blessed at the end of the tunnel, we don’t know yet because I can’t see into the future, but if he stays on track, I think he’ll be highly recruited. Academically, he’s an honor student. He’s got all the intangibles off the court to make him great.

“Notice what I just said, he has all the intangibles off the floor to make him a great basketball player. And that’s what we’re hoping to do, keep him in that frame of mind and let the basketball work its way through.”

Posted in Basketball, Recruiting, Sports

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