Tuesday, December 28, 2010
One Chance: Legally blind mother rises through turmoil to witness her 10-year-old son become a Black Belt
“I’m a single mother,” said Harris, “and in the world we live in, I didn’t want him to grow up and have to depend on other people to fight for him.”
Fast forward seven years to last week, and Chance’s transformation from a eager 3-year-old to a 10-year-old black belt is complete.
But the Harris family journey has been a long one, to say the least.
In 2007, a complication during surgery caused her to lose sight in her right eye.
She was eventually diagnosed as legally blind and is forced to wear dark shades to protect her eyes.
“Your whole life changes,” said Harris. “It’s like someone stole a part of me.....I could have lost both of them, but God is so good.”
But without a ride to Taekwondo lessons, Nellie was still forced to walk her son, Chance, three to four miles on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. Nellie estimates the routine of her walking Chance to his class lasted for about five years before the instructor, Rickie Johnson, intervened.
“She was walking (Chance to class) in the rain, sleet and snow,” recalled Johnson, who has been teaching the sport for 15 years. “I realized she was doing that and I told her ‘I will pick him up and take him home. You don’t have to do that anymore.’”
For the last two years, Nellie recalls, Johnson has been picking Chance up religiously twice a week. The Harris family lived not far from Johnson’s workplace at the time, Masterfoods — now known as Uncle Ben’s.
“It was a load off my shoulders. I was just so thankful,” said Harris. “I asked him if I can do anything for you, just let me know.”
Johnson said when he first met both Nellie and Chance, he could sense their determination.
“She said she didn’t want to lose her child to the streets,” recalled Johnson.
Johnson also remembers the first time he met Chance.
“He was only 3 years old and he did a counter-clockwise,” Johnson recalled. “I said I’ll take him.”
Chance’s road to a black belt, however, was a long and bumpy one for both he and his mother. Nellie’s out-of-town eye surgeries and Chance’s Taekwondo tournaments forced them to travel a lot.
“Sometimes we had money,” Nellie recalled, “sometimes we didn’t.”
“We walked, hitch-hicked rides....we just kept pushing.”
Nellie still remembers those days of walking Chance to Johnson’s Taekwondo classes. She would walk him there, walk back home to gather his school clothes for the next day, and then return to pick him up.
“Sometimes it was cold and raining,” she recalled. “Chance helped me a lot of times. And I could kind of feel where I was going because I was used to the route.”
Nellie’s determination must have trickled down to Chance, said Johnson. Chance has been one of his star pupils.
“The average 10-year-old kid can't touch him,” said Johnson.
Chance, an A-student, is one that his peers look up to, said Nellie. Especially since he became a black belt.
The day after he earned his black belt, a group of friends was at the front door to walk with him to school. They wanted to be in the presence of the 10-year-old Taekwondo master.
“I was scared to let him walk to school,” said Nellie,” but I went on and let him walk. I called the school to make sure they all made it safe.”
The now 54-year-old, who said she has special lights at home to accommodate her disability, is thankful for Johnson and expects even more from Chance.
“We'll never forget Mr. Johnson,” said Nellie. “....We're going higher (and) further....(Chance’s) goal is to be the youngest Sensei.”
Monday, December 27, 2010
Debrille Grant (Simmons)
Donald Jackson (GWHS)
Damian Samuels (Simmons)
Read Kelly (Washington)
Rashuun Alexander (Simmons)
Mark Wooley (Deer Creek)
Nicholas Mosby (Leland)
Secundus Jackson (Leland)
Larry Griffin (GWHS)
Colton Witherspoon (Riverside)
Kentzevious Flowers (Simmmons)
Greg Foster (GWHS)
Cordell Edmonds (OBHS)
Jamarkus Harris (Leland)
Terrell Williams (GWHS)
Jerry Lyons (OBHS)
David Motton (St. Joe)
Broderick Fordham (Leland)
Kenya Dennis (Leland)
Curtis Carter (GWHS)
Nathan Noble (Washington)
Evan Russell (St. Joe)
Justin Leavy (Greenville Christian)
Coach of the Year
Jimmy Jennings (Greenville Christian)
Eric Brozovich (Washington)
Jamaros Barnes (Leland)
Ryan Gober (Washington)
Roderick Richardson (Simmons)
Justin Short (Riverside)
Miekell Gray (Simmons)
Matt Menchaca (St. Joe)
Shaifer Bell (Washington)
Kentrell Canada (GWHS)
Ellis Sims (Simmons)
Cornelius Thomas (Riverside)
Mardarius Booker (OBHS)
Philantes Jarrett (Simmons)
Hunter McGaugh (St. Joe)
Qvanthony Hamilton (Leland)
Willie Mosby (GWHS)
Jamal Ezekeil (O’Bannon)
Elbert Foules (GWHS)
Bronson Bell (Leland)
Jalyn Brown (St. Joe)
Ladarius Goodman (Riverside)
Freddy Cosey (Simmons)
Seve Signa (Deer Creek)
Kendarius Bryant (OBHS)
Archie Dennard (Simmons)
J’Daylan Jackson (St. Joe)
Lea Turner (Washington)
Andrew Steinle (Washington)
Mike Hardy (Greenville Christian)
Devontae Overton (Leland)
Marquel Richardson (Riverside)
He’s too physical for anything else.
“That’s why I don’t play basketball,” Williams said, “because I’ll probably foul out.”
Thankfully, though, Williams knows his calling. A calling that has transformed the junior athlete from a shy kid on a Coleman Middle School football team in ’06 to this year’s Delta Democrat Times’ Football Player of the Year.
“Of all the players we brought in this summer,” said first-year coach Todd Lott, “(Williams) bought into what we were trying to do.”
Williams racked up 93 tackles on defense and nearly 250 yards and two touchdowns this year while playing fullback.
Williams, along with junior running back Donald Jackson (1,119 rushing yards, 8 TDs), carried the load for a Hornets team that took strides under new leadership – former Washington School coach Lott.
“I owe it all to my coaching staff,” said Williams. “They worked us hard all summer. They had us weight room and we ran for days.”
Apparently it paid off. Since his middle schools days, the 5-foot-10 Williams has always played linebacker. This year he picked up the fullback duties, as well.
On offense, Williams served as the team’s short-yardage back, and started the season with a bang – rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown in his fullback debut.
On defense, Williams really found his groove later in the year, racking up 40 tackles in the last three games against some of the state’s toughest competition.
“Middle linebacker is not an easy position in our scheme,” said Lott. “You have to be aware of what everyone is doing around you – and he was very valuable in helping other players line up right (and) keep their assignments.”
Williams reverted back to the team’s workouts this summer as the credit for his improvement. Those two-a-days from 8 to 11 in the morning 2 till 4 in the afternoon really paid off, he said.
And don’t forget about the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Gatorade, Williams chuckled.
The bruising linebacker still has another year so his college options are still up in the air. So far he said he’s received letters from Ole Miss and Arkansas.
He doesn’t know what his plans are after 2012, but he does have an idea of what position he would like to suit up at in college.
“I’m not tall enough to be a linebacker (at the next level),” said the 5-foot-10 Williams, “but I’ll play fullback.”
This year, the Hornets were just shy of their first playoff berth since 2001. GWHS finished the season 4-7 after winning three of their first five.
Despite playing in a region boasting two of the state’s top 6A teams – Northwest Rankin and Madison Central – Williams has high hopes for his Hornet team in 2011.
“We,” he said, “wanna be state champs.”
Friday, December 17, 2010
“The guys that I was hanging around, I knew I wasn’t going to make it too far,” said Williams, a senior defensive back at Delta State who will lead the Statesmen in the Division-II national championship game Saturday against Minnesota-Duluth.
Williams enrolled in the South Delta School District his seventh grade year where he picked up football — and “it just went from there,” Williams recalled.
The “there” Williams speaks of is his transition from a troubled kid on the streets of a poverty-stricken city to an All-American football player. Thursday, it was announced that Williams’ team-leading 115 tackles and eight interceptions earned him Associated Press Little All-America Third-Team honors.
Williams’ eye-popping numbers, however, are shocking compared to his first three years at DSU. Williams played only sparingly through his first three seasons, registering just 55 tackles — including 30 last year playing outside linebacker.
“When guys have those type of years.....I don’t know if you can say I expected it,” said DSU coach Ron Roberts. “You hope for those guys, you think they have a chance to have a great year.....(But) I didn’t expect it.
“I knew he had the potential to be great. I knew he would be a great player for us.”
Williams’ coach at South Delta High, Derrick Hooker, remembers a polite kid who was quick to answer “no sir and yes sir.” He “never shied away from anything,” and quickly adjusted to the various position changes he went through in high school, Hooker recalled.
“Scooter” — Williams’ nickname since he can remember — played tailback as a freshman; switched to quarterback as a sophomore; and made the transition back to tailback and safety his junior and senior year. Williams rushed for, Hooker estimates, for 1,500 yards and “20-plus” TDs his senior year and had over 100 tackles on defense.
“I thought he could have played (Division-I) football,” said Hooker. “I knew he could play at any position — he’s that kind of kid.”
Williams was recruited as an athlete and has played on both sides of the field during his tenure in Cleveland. He started out as a receiver before moving to cornerback and then to the secondary — where Williams plays the Nitro position, a mix between a safety and linebacker.
Williams said he came into the season just wanting to compete. But the 5-foot-10, 190 pound defensive back, who was repeatedly told while growing up that he was too small, has put up numbers that has even him scratching his head.
“I wasn’t expecting this kind of year,” said Williams. “It’s been an awesome year. I just wanted to come out and compete.”
Saturday’s national championship game in Florence, Ala. is expected to have a crowd full of DSU fans, especially those rooting for “Scooter.” Williams said he expects about 25 family members to show up, and Hooker added that he may be in the stadium cheering his former athlete on as well.
The “Let’s go, Scooter” calls from the crowd will likely be louder than they’ve ever been in Williams’ final game. But that begs the question: Where did the name Scooter come from?
“I’m not sure,” said Williams. “People have just always called me Scooter. It came from my dad’s side of the family.”
No one calls him Garrett, said Williams — not the coaching staff, not his teammates, not even teachers.
“I don’t think I’ve ever called you Garrett,” DSU defensive lineman Matt Melton joked at Monday’s media conference.
“I guess,” Williams added, “I’m just blessed with the name.”
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Here are a few odds and ends from around the Delta.
First off, Gentry High football coach Jerry Walker is looking for a new coaching gig. Walker, who was in his first year at Gentry after a successful career at Ray Brooks, was recently released of his coaching duties. Sources say
Back to high school news: Even without their top three scorers from last season, the Greenville-Weston Hornets basketball team has a 6-3 record going into Friday’s showdown with
THIS JUST IN: Delta State defensive back Garrett Williams was named to the AP Little All-America Third-Team. The Leland native has had an impressive season in his first year in a starting role. Williams has racked up 115 tackles and eight INT's, including two picks in the postseason — tying a D-II record.
In all, the three games – including the Oct. 2 homecoming game against Prairie View – put the district in the hole, nearly $6,000.
Back in September, Greenville Superintendent Dr. Harvey Franklin waived the rental fee of up to $5,000 – and said the district would recoup their investment by selling concessions.
“This is what was best in the long run, and by selling the concessions, it offered us the better value,”
However, the sparse crowd at the Valley games brought their own food, taking a bite out of the district’s plans. The money the school district had planned to gain was going to be used to fund Greenville-Weston’s six non-revenue producing sports, which were suspended this summer. The six sports have since been re-instated.
MVSU retained the revenue from each game’s ticket sales.
Of the three games at Greenville-Weston, the Oct. 23 game against Grambling saw the highest announced attendance at 3,197. The Oct. 2 game against Prairie View produced an announced crowd of 2,210 and season finale vs. Alabama A&M on Nov.13 had 2,398. (For the record, announced attendance is usually off from the number actually in attendance.)
But why so few people?
Here’s several reasons why attendance may have been so low:
- Leflore County MVSU alumni boycotted the games because they felt it made more sense for the games to be held in
Greenwood, which is less than 10 miles away, instead of 45 miles away in . Greenville
- There was some unwanted company at the Alabama A&M game – rain. I personally counted no more than 30 people on the visitor’s side – and a very sparse home crowd.
- Have you heard? Valley didn’t win a game this year.
Although the cash-strapped school district lost nearly $6,000,
“It was a gamble, but it was well worth it,” he said. “We showed we were more than capable of hosting and preparing for a large crowd.”
He did say, however, he would do it differently if there is a next time. “If we ever go through this in the future, we’ll use different strategies,” said
Compare the numbers
Let’s take a peek at the two other state SWAC schools, in regards to attendance. JSU, who hosted Southern Oct. 16 in front of an announced 42,053, averaged 25,583 fans per home game this season.
Look for more of the details on the blog and in Thursday's Delta Democrat Times.
CLEVELAND — Each week during the Division II playoffs, Delta State hasn’t been the most popular pick amongst football fans.
But each week they’ve proved critics wrong.
In the second round, they revenged a regular season loss to Gulf South Conference rival North Alabama before dismantling previously-undefeated Albany State in the quarterfinals and one-loss Shepherd last week in the semifinals.
Even after winning three playoff games by a margin of 104-48, DSU is not the favorite in Saturday’s national championship game against undefeated Minnesota-Duluth.
And that’s fine, said DSU coach Ron Roberts.
“I know in most eyes we’re the underdog — and I don’t think we would want it any other way. That’s fine with us,” he said. “We’re obviously going to have earn our respect.”
With a host of new players on both sides of the ball, expectations weren’t high for a Statesmen team that finished 5-5 in 2009. But DSU players are hoping history repeats itself Saturday, being that the last DSU team to win a national title — in 2000 — weren’t the most popular bunch around either.
“Pretty much like us, they weren’t even picked to win the Gulf South (Conference),” said DSU defensive lineman Matt Melton....”If I’m not mistaken, they were picked fifth...”
Now the Statesmen only need to pull off one more upset to earn their second-ever national title. But they’ll have to bring their A-game against a Minnesota-Duluth team who won the title in 2008, said Roberts. The Bulldogs (13-0) scored over 40 points in all but one game during the regular season.
“No question, they’re the best football (we’ll) play this year,” he said.
“(But) we’re not going to blink. (They’re) not going to scare us,” Roberts added.
Melton said his focus isn’t on the No.1 ranked Bulldogs. His mindset is on the Statesmen.
“At the end of the day, it’s about how hard we wanna work or how hard we play. It’s not necessarily too much about what they do or what they’ve done — it’s all on us,” said the Cleveland native.
Roberts said he’s heard the chatter that “we don’t have a chance....(and) they’re going to blow us out.” And as for Minnesota-Duluth’s No. 1 ranking in the AFCA Poll — “The only poll that matters is the one at the end of the game,” he added.
Roberts said he has received several calls from players on the 2000 national championship team, and a lot of them will be at the game Saturday.
Melton, meanwhile, wants to end his collegiate career the same way the seniors of 2000 did — as national champions.
“What would be better than us holding a trophy next to (their championship picture)...,” said Melton. “It would be nice to have our name up there too.”
Saturday, December 11, 2010
CLEVELAND — There were road blocks scattered everywhere Saturday in the way of Delta State’s second-ever Division II national championship berth.
The Statesmen were up against a 12-1 Shepherd team who scored 90 points in their last two games; there was a 39-minute lightening delay which turned McCool Stadium into a mudbath; and DSU quarterback Micah Davis threw three picks.
But through it all, the Statesmen (11-3) clawed their way to a 29-17 victory and advanced to this Saturday’s Division II national championship game against Minnesota-Duluth in Florence. Ala. The game is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be broadcasted live on ESPN2.
Minnesota-Duluth defeated Northwest Missouri State 17-13 Saturday night to advance to the title game.
“I can’t even explain (this feeling),” said DSU running back Trevar Deed, who finished with 105 yards on 20 carries. “A lot of guys are amped up...(But) we still have one more to go. We want to feel the ultimate excitement.”
DSU coach Ron Roberts echoed Deed’s statement and added that there still is work to be done.
“I don’t wanna be satisfied,” said Roberts. “We still have unfinished business.”
DSU felt the same way even before the game concluded. With DSU sporting a 17-14 lead midway through the third quarter, Davis threw his third interception of the game — the last play before the lightening delay.
The break gave the Statesmen a chance to alter their gameplan, Roberts said.
“It was time to hand the ball to Trevar (Deed) and let him do his work,” he said.
Deed kept DSU in the game, but Leland native Garrett Williams dotted the “i” on the national championship berth when he picked off two Kevin Clancy passes — one with less than two minutes remaining.
“He’s done it all year....He’s our guy on defense,” said Roberts. “I think somebody needs to recalculate the All-American honors and make sure (he’s on the list).”
Shepherd scored first capping off a 9-minute first quarter drive with a four-yard TD scamper by Nate Hoyte. But it would be the first and the last time the Rams would have the lead.
Bill Franks scored on a 12-yard reverse run, L.J. Castille caught two touchdown passes (6 and 12 yards) — and Davis connected with his former JUCO teammate Carlton Ollie on a 64-yard toss.
But the most impressive aspect of DSU’s team was their defensive unit. They limited a run-happy Shepherd team to only 69 yards on the ground, a season low.
“We just can’t be stopped as long as we keep playing our game,” said Deed.
And “their game” has catapulted a Statesmen team that was once on the outside looking in — into a team searching for a second national championship, their fist since 2000.
“We don’t want to go home. That’s what we keep saying in the locker room,” Deed added.
Since the season kicked off, Roberts has marketed his team as one of — if not the best in the nation. Now he has some clout to back that statement up.
“That’s the beauty about playing a playoff system, (that) you get a chance to prove it,” said Roberts. “If you are, you’re going to get a chance to prove it.”
NOTES: DSU outgained Shepherd 347 to 281...Micah Davis went 14-of-22 for 193 yards, three TDs and three INTs....L.J. Castille led DSU with five catches for 64 yards and two TD’s.
Friday, December 10, 2010
As we all know, Delta State and Shepherd face off Saturday at 1 p.m. in Cleveland for the chance to play in the Division 2 championship game Dec. 18 in Florence, Ala.
But what you probably didn't know was that DSU's top three receivers, who are all transfers — L.J. Castille, Maurice Moore and Chance Dennis — were all born in Texas.
Here are some of the highlights from today's Delta Democrat Times' article:
- Castille, a senior transfer from Houston, was born in La Marque; Moore, a transfer from the University of Wisconsin, grew up in Fort Worth; and Houston-born Chance transferred from Stephen F. Austin.
- The trio has combined for 149 catches, 2,030 yards and 16 TDs this season, with Castille leading the pack with 55 receptions for 756 yards and 10 TDs.
- Of the three, Dennis' trek to Cleveland may be the most interesting. Dennis hasn't played football since 2004, his sophomore season at Stephen F. Austin, under current DSU offensive coordinator Greg Stevens. An injury at SFA stalled his football career, but Dennis decided to give football another shot after Stevens came to DSU this season. "I didn't too much know anything about Delta State before I came here," said the 25-year-old Dennis. "I was just coming here to compete to see if I could still make big plays, catch the ball, and run around with these young guys." Dennis has 10 catches for 133 yards and two TDs through two playoff games.
- DSU coach Ron Roberts said, before the season, he could point out 16 teams who had a shot at winning a title. "And (DSU) was one of them," he said. For weeks, even after a loss, Roberts has stood behind his offense, calling them one of the best in the nation. DSU's semifinal berth "gives validity to things we're saying," said Roberts.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Saturday's 3 p.m. game against Talladega College will tip off at MDCC's newly-renovated coliseum (see pictures below in an earlier blog post) because repairs are still being made to the coliseum floor due to a leak in the roof.
It is not yet known when the gym when be complete or if it will be available for the Delta Devils' home-opener Jan. 8 against Alabama A&M.
MVSU currently has its practices at Threadgill Elementary School in Greenwood.
MVSU's Smith and Joyner honored by SWAC
Mississippi Valley State senior Orlando Smith was named SWAC men’s basketball Player of the Week, while teammate Terrence Joyner earned SWAC Newcomer of the Week honors.
Smith (F, 6-5, 210, Sr., Columbus, Miss.) averaged 11.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in three contests for the Delta Devils. He had 12 points, six rebounds and two assists against Liberty and posted a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Georgia Southern.
Joyner (G, 6-2, 175, Jr., Mendenhall, Miss.) averaged 12.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game for MVSU last week. He notched 14 points and a game-high five steals against Liberty and contributed 19 points on 7-8 shooting (88%) from the charity stripe versus Georgia Southern.
A look around DSU: Scouting Shepherd
Delta State is just one game away from playing in their second-ever Division 2 national championship game. They'll host Shepherd (12-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. in a semifinal bout. Shepherd's lone loss came on Nov. 13 against Glenville State, 28-24.
A quick glance at their stats show that — like DSU's one-two punch of Trevar Deed and Brandon Lucas — the Rams have their own Thunder and Lightening. Tommy Addison (1,630 rushing yards, 19 TDs) and Nate Hoyte (761 rushing yards, 16 TD's) have carried Shepherd a long way.
Shepherd has put at least 40 points in eight out of 13 games. And another player to look out for will be Shepherd defensive back Keon Robinson, who has nine INT's and two TD's.
Shepherd is the first-ever school from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) to reach the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the Delta State Lady Statesmen still hold the No.1 spot in USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 poll. DSU (7-0) will host West Florida Sunday at 2 p.m.
High school notes
Grenada High football coach Lamar Pitcock recently resigned after three years at the helm. Last year the chargers went 4-8 before falling to eventual 6A champion South Panola in the first round of the playoffs. Grenada Star Sports Editor Chuck Hathcock sites Pitcock's unwillingness to shake up his staff as the cause of his resignation. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/dVIy4y
The O'Bannon High girls basketball team stayed undefeated Tuesday night after blowing out South Delta, 63-30. Myiesha Stewart continued her dominance, scoring 20 points. The Lady Waves are now 9-0 on the season.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
PHOTO CUTLINE: Greenville native Anthony Evans (center) is joined on the Mississippi Delta Community College team by former area players Cadarrius Nelson (left) who played at O’Bannon High and Danny Bolden (far right) who played at Greenville-Weston High.
MOORHEAD — Like most 18-year-olds, Anthony Evans wanted to venture off after graduating from high school. The former Greenville-Weston basketball standout was recruited by nearby Mississippi Delta Community College, but the idea of signing with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, a "basketball school" three hours away from the confines of home, were too tempting.
But after a year at the school in Wesson, Evans is back in the Delta, playing an integral role for the MDCC Trojans (4-2).
And he's as happy as ever.
"I feel more comfortable here. And I like the system here," said Evans, who scored 10 points in last night's overtime loss to Coahoma Community College.
"I struggled at (Co-Lin), sometimes homesick," said Evans. "I tried to maintain, but I just didn't feel too comfortable there."
Evans doesn't seem to be having that problem now that he's back in the Delta. He's been the spark off the bench for the Trojans, scoring in double-digits in all but one game. He put up 11 points in his Trojan debut against Hinds and had a season-high 20 in a loss to Pearl River. Evans is one of six Trojans averaging double figures this season, putting up 10.6 points per game.
MDCC coach Derrick Fears said just because Evans, who plays both point guard and shooting guard, isn't a starter doesn't mean he's not a top talent.
"He kind of catches people off guard a lot because they don't realize that he can play," said Fears. "By the time they can realize that he can play, he's warmed up and hit two or three shots. He's did that before and took us into another gear."
Fears said Co-Lin, who the Trojans defeated earlier in the season, has been known to have one of the best basketball teams in the state. "That image kind of wins kids over," he said. "We haven't been a basketball school. But since I've been here, we've kind of turned that around."
And Evans isn't alone at the Moorhead campus; he's surrounded by two former teammates, Danny Bolden and DeMario Calvin, and O'Bannon High product Cadarrius Nelson. Another former teammate of Evans at GWHS, Glenn Ford, also transferred from Co-Lin to MDCC, but isn't playing basketball this season.
Being surrounded by the people he grew up around — and the fact that his parents only have to make a 30-minute trip to watch his games, makes life a lot easier, said Evans.
"(My parents) enjoy it. They get to watch me play, because it's not too far from home," said Evans.
Not only does coach Fears have a new special player, but the school's newly-renovated gym opened up for the first time Monday night to a packed house, during a game against Coahoma. The Trojans lost in overtime, while the Lady Trojans (1-5) defeated Coahoma in OT in their first win of the season.
Before the renovation, the gym was gold and blue — but the school's colors are red and black. Now the newly renovated black and red coliseum gives the games a new atmosphere.
"It makes you feel like you're in a college setting," said Fears. "And it's going to help me recruit too."
Monday, December 6, 2010
The No. 18 Statesmen (10-3) defeated previously-unbeaten Albany State last Saturday 28-7 to advance to the Division 2 semifinals. Then, late Saturday night, DSU got more thrilling news: they would be at home this Saturday in a semifinals matchup against Shepherd (12-1).
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at McCool Stadium and the game will televised by CBS College Sports.
Saturday will mark DSU's third semifinal appearance. The Statesmen's last appearance this far into the playoffs came in 2006 when they lost 49-30 to Grand Valley State. Their other appearance was in 2000 when DSU won the Division 2 national title.
In the other semifinal showdown, 2008 champion Minnesota-Duluth (13-0) will host defending champion Northwest Missouri State (12-1). The winners of the two semifinal games will meet Saturday, Dec. 18, at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala. in the title game. ESPN2 will televise the contest starting at 10 a.m.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
MOORHEAD — Mississippi Delta Community College basketball teams are no longer homeless.
MDCC was forced to play their first six games on the road and cancelled their Nov. 29 game against Co-Lin due to renovations to J.T. Hall Coliseum.
But on Monday, Dec. 6, the teams will suit up on their home floor for the first time this season when they host Coahoma at 6 p.m.
The $1.7 million renovation features a completely reworked basketball court and stands. The old aluminum bleacher-type stands and open-area atmosphere have been replaced by permanent stands featuring Trojan-red, chairback seating. The stands and the court are now completely enclosed with individual access to the court and to the stands.
“It has been a long time in the planning and construction, but it has been well worth the wait,” said MDCC Athletic Director Dmoino Bellipanni. “We now have a true basketball arena that the Delta can be proud of. I think this is truly a star in the Delta and a much-needed facelift on a 30-plus year-old building.”
A glass paneled railing now separates spectators from the activity on the court. And a new red, white, and gray paint scheme runs throughout the building and all coaches’ offices now feature glass-paneled front walls.
The entrance/foyer of the coliseum has been reworked with new rubber flooring featuring the Trojan logo. The concession stand has been relocated to the right outer wall as fans enter the building and a new ticket booth is now located on the left as fans enter the doors on their left.
“We are excited to be able to offer such a wonderful renovated space to the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of MDCC,” said MDCC President Dr. Larry Bailey. “This renovation adds a collegiate atmosphere to the facility that was built in the early 1970’s.”
The coliseum will also be used for college events such as ceremonies and career fairs, said Bailey.
The four sophomores include offensive lineman Will Kent of Greenwood, receiver Labrodrick Barnett of Rosedale, offensive lineman Tommy Buford of Cleveland, and defensive lineman Tevin Wells of Rolling Fork.
Thirty-three players comprise each roster with each of 13 community colleges contributing three players. The remainder of the roster is selected by the All-Star coaches with no more than eight players from one team. There are only 13 colleges involved in the game because State Champs Gulf Coast is obligated to play in the Mississippi Bowl Dec. 5 in Biloxi.
During last year’s Classic, the South evened the series 17-17-2 with a 28-0 win over the North and picked up its second win after knocking off the North 16-14 in 2008. The North won 17-14 in 2007.
The All-Star Classic is showcase of Mississippi’s community college athletes and has been a springboard for numerous players over the years to four-year colleges.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
CLEVELAND — Despite losing to North Alabama 31-7 in the regular season, Delta State coach Ron Roberts said he told his team Friday night, before their Round 2 Division II playoff game against the Lions, that this time around it would be different.
"I told the team Friday night don't be surprised if we put it on them bad," said Roberts.
Either Roberts has a crystal ball or he really thinks highly of his DSU offense, which he touts as one of the best in the nation.
Either way, Roberts' prediction was right on point, as the Statesmen (9-3) ran over North Alabama 47-24 in their fifth posteason game under Roberts.
DSU, known for their high-powered passing game, leaned on the run this time. The Brandon Lucas and Trevar Deed one-two punch led DSU en route to a 359-yard rushing display. Quarterback Micah Davis added 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
"(Our) defense got whipped about as had as we've been whipped," said UNA coach Terry Bowden.
The 23-point DSU victory, however, can be deceiving. The Statesmen led 47-10 at the end of the third quarter before removing their starters.
Two UNA fourth quarter touchdowns against DSU's second-team defense made the "whipping" look a little more presentable.
"I told (coach Roberts) after the game," Bowden said, "(that) I've never worked so hard to make a game not look like a butt-whopping...."
DSU struck first with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Chance Dennis and never looked back — scoring three more times in a four-drive span.
The Statesmen held a 27-7 lead at halftime.
Davis rushed for a 25-yard TD and Lucas added another score on a 23-yard scamper in the third quarter. A 13-yard TD pass to Blake Swain put the game out of reach during the waning seconds of the third quarter — giving the Statesmen a 47-10 insurmountable lead.
The UNA defense which marched all over DSU in the regular season was non-existent Saturday afternoon. The Lions were held to 274 total yards, with a bulk of those coming in the fourth quarter against DSU’s backups.
Meanwhile, DSU gained 524 total yards, including 359 on the ground. Deed rushed for 109 yards and a TD on 15 carries while Lucas added 106 yards and two TDs on 11 attempts.
The Lucas-Deed one-two punch is one to be reckoned with, said Deed.
“You can’t stop all of us,” he said. (If) you stop me, we have (Lucas). It’s scary....I don’t see anyone stopping us from here on out if we play our game.”
Roberts said his team “played their most complete game of all season.” That may be an understatement.
DSU held UNA to 66 rushing yards and forced Lee Chapple to throw two picks.
DSU’s Davis, meanwhile, went 19-of-25 for 165 yards and three TDs. Chance Dennis had five catches for 60 yards and two scores.
The Statesmen punted only twice during the game.
“You talk about what (Davis, Deed and Lucas) did today and their ability to step up in big games and make those plays...It puts them among the elite people who have played football at (DSU).”
DSU’s 47 points were the most scored against the Lions in the 53-year history between the two schools.
Kickoff for next week’s game at Albany State will be at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
CLEVELAND — Shepherd Tech isn’t the most appealing draw for basketball fans — but coming out to watch a former SEC talent is.
Phil Turner, a senior transfer from Mississippi State, made his Delta State (2-2) debut Tuesday night, coming off the bench and scoring 12 points and adding three blocks in a 89-69 victory over the small Christian academy school based out of Memphis.
Tuner nailed his first shot in green and white — a 3-pointer. He finished the night hitting 4-of-6 shots, including 2-of-3 from downtown.
Turner was suspended for the team’s two exhibition games and the first three games of the regular season due to unspecified reasons.
“He gave us a big spark off the bench,” said DSU coach Jason Conner. “We’re looking for big things from him.”
Turner was one of four Statesmen in double-figures. Chris Poelinitz had 19 points while Marqueys Brown (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Jamarkus Holt (14 points, 13 points) each had a double-double.
“We played much better offensively,” said Conner. “If we would have hit it anything from the free throw line, we would have beat them like we should.” DSU went 11-of-27 from the charity stripe.
DSU lead for most the game and held 32-26 halftime lead before sprinting away with the 20-point victory.
As for Turner, Conner said he still has a little work to do, but he’s happy to have him back with the team.
“We’re glad he’s back with us,” said Conner.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Delta State quarterback Micah Davis and Mississippi Valley State defensive back Markkus Davis were named two of the 10 Conerly Trophy finalists.
There’s a 70 percent chance a quarterback will take home the trophy when it’s announced Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson.
Of the 10 finalists for the trophy, which is awarded to Mississippi’s top college football player, seven are quarterbacks.
The finalists at the state’s big three schools include QB Jeremiah Masoli (Ole Miss), linebacker Chris White (Mississippi State) and quarterback Austin Davis.
The other finalists include QB Brandon Bridge (Alcorn State), QB Alex Williams (Belhaven), QB Micah Davis (Delta State), QB Casey Therriault (JSU), running back Shane Brower (Millaps), QB Tommy Reyer (Millsaps) and defensive back Markkus Davis (MVSU).
Davis ranks No. 4 in the SWAC in tackles, while Davis has led the Statesmen a first round playoff bye and threw for 3,310 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his passes.
The banquet starts at 5:30 p.m. at Hall of Fame Museum at 1152 Lakeland Drive in Jackson.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, Nov. 27
Wingate (8-3) at Albany St., Ga. (10-0), Noon
Shepherd (10-1) at Kutztown (10-1), Noon
Bloomsburg (10-2) at Mercyhurst (9-2), Noon
St. Cloud St. (10-2) at Minnesota-Duluth (11-0), 1 p.m.
Grand Valley St. (11-1) at Augustana, S.D. (10-1), 1 p.m.
Central Missouri (10-2) at Abilene Christian (11-0), 1 p.m.
Northwest Missouri St. (10-1) at Texas A&M-Kingsville (10-1), 1 p.m.
North Alabama (9-3) at Delta St. (8-3), 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 4
St. Cloud St.-Minnesota-Duluth winner vs. Grand Valley St.-Augustana, S.D. winner, TBA
Central Missouri-Abilene Christian winner vs. Northwest Missouri St.-Texas A&M-Kingsville winner
Wingate-Albany St., Ga. winner vs. North Alabama-Delta St. winner, TBA
Shepherd-Kutztown winner vs. Bloomsburg-Mercyhurst winner
Sunday, Dec. 12
TBD, 2 p.m.
TBD, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 18
At Braly Municipal Stadium
TBD, 11 a.m.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
GREENVILLE – After the Greenville-Weston girls basketball team walked off the court Friday night following their win over Humphreys County, GHWS coach Curtis Stovall stayed around.
Not just to shake the opposing team coach’s hand, but his night wasn’t over just yet. Following a $163,000 cut to the athletic budget, Stovall is now the head coach of both Greenville-Weston basketball teams.
But this isn’t the first time Stovall has had such duties. In the past, Stovall has served as the Greenville-Weston boys and girls junior varsity coach while assisting with both varsity teams.
He admits it’s a challenge coaching both high school teams, but it’s one he’s willing to take head-on.
“It’s a challenge; it’s not a problem,” said Stovall. “It’s a challenge that I welcome because it’s not like I haven’t done it before. It’s just on a larger stage now.”
As of Friday night, Stovall has led the Honeybees to a 2-2 record while the Hornets sit at 3-1.
Both teams are coming off an impressive 2009-10 campaign, where the Hornets closed out their season with a loss to Meridian in the Class 6A semifinals and the Honeybees fell to Horn Lake in the 6A championship game.
When the news broke that Stovall would be pulling double-duties, his Honeybee players thought “they were losing their coach.” But as time has passed, both sets of players have bought into the idea of sharing not only the basketball – but their coach as well.
“They’re beginning to buy in,” said Stovall. “I explained to them I need their help to help them. So they’re being a little bit more understanding.”
Some small high school coaches in the state have been known to pull double-duties – including legendary Hollandale Simmons’ coach George Willis, who made a big mark on both teams.
But that practice has been seldom used in 6A programs with larger athletic budgets. GWHS, however, had to slice $163,000 from its athletic budget, resulting in the suspension of six sports – baseball, slow-pitch softball, golf, soccer, tennis and power-lifting. The sports were eventually reinstated and volunteer coaches appointed to most of them.
In an effort to save money, Stovall, who coached only the girls team last year, was appointed as the coach of both high school teams on a temporary basis – at least for this year.
Stovall, who also teaches at the school, said he’s having the time of his life. He’s been in a similar position before and welcomes this opportunity with open arms.
“I’m just a little older,” said Stovall, “other than that I love it. This is a passion, not an interest. This is a passion.”
It’s not known yet whether Stovall will have the same duties next year, But as long as he’s in this position, he said will make the most of it.
“I just welcome any chance to impact a kid’s life, whether it’s on the court or off,” said Stovall. “I don’t know how long I will get to do this, but we’re going to make it fun while we have it.”
Thursday, November 18, 2010
GREENVILLE — Demolition has been scheduled to start in late December for the visitors side of Mississippi Valley State’s football stadium, according to an MVSU official.
The renovations will continue during the 2011 football season; however, Rice-Totten Stadium will be available for the team’s six home games in 2011. MVSU played their home games 50 miles away at Greenville-Weston High School this season due to structural damage to the stadium’s visitors side.
Construction on the new East Grandstand is scheduled to begin in Feb. 2011, with final completion slated for early 2012. It will be completed in several phases.
The final costs to renovate the East Grandstand has not been finalized because “the stadium bid process is under way and a construction figure is not available due to the scope and complexity of the project,” according to an e-mail from MVSU’s public relations department.
According to the e-mail, the renovations will be funded by the “state of Mississippi.”
For now, the renovation will only include the visitors side, but “renovations/additions/repairs to other portions of the overall stadium complex are being evaluated for future projects.”
Key components of the new visitors side design include: 5,000 seats, including a section of chairback seating; storage for track and football; concessions; merchandise vendor stalls and university bookstore stall; restrooms and ticket booths; a façade wall; and two ciruclation aisles.
The track facilities will remain available for use throughout the entire period of construction.
The renovations do not include the Devils Den or the visiting team’s dressing rooms.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) released its reclassification process plans for the 2011-2013 academic years Wednesday afternoon — and all five schools will be moving down from their current classification.
Gentry will begin play in Class 4A in 2011 while J.J. McClain moves to 3A. South Delta, S.V. Marshall and Riverside, who all played in Class 3A this year, trickled down to 2A.
All other area schools will remain in their respective classes.
The classification of schools was based on the student enrollment reported on the October monthly report filed with the Mississippi Department of Education Finance and Statistic Division.
A school may appeal their enrollment by submitted in writing a breakdown of the total enrollment that caused an error in the report. The appeal must be in the MHSAA office by Monday, Nov. 22, at 4 p.m.
The cutoff for Class 6A was 1,085 students; 760 for 5A; 487 for 4A; 305 for 3A; and 197 for 2A, with those schools whose numbers fall below 197 making up Class 1A.
Greenville-Weston High - who will remain in Class 6A, ranks as the third largest school in the state - with 1,751 students, according to the report.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
GREENVILLE – Mississippi Valley State head football coach Karl Morgan has a message for recruits: if you want to play right away, MVSU may be your best shot.
“The No. 1 thing we can sell here – besides the chance to get a quality education – is opportunity. The opportunity to come in and be a part of something right now,” said Morgan, whose team just wrapped up an 0-10 season after falling to Alabama A&M 21-7 at Greenville-Weston High.
Needless to say, the Delta Devils need help. They’ve lost their last 11 games; their last victory came in Nov. 2009 when they defeated then-winless Lincoln University, 16-6.
This year, MVSU sits dead last in the SWAC in both scoring offense and defense. The Delta Devils didn’t score their first touchdown until the third game of the season during a 27-9 loss to Alcorn State.
Next year, Valley will retain quarterback Oliver Hughes and their two top receivers Paul Cox (21 catches, 520 yards, five TD’s) and Chris Williams (32 catches, 315 yards).
But Morgan contends that everyone’s job is up for grabs this offseason.
“We have a lot of positions that we need help and upgrade (in)….We have nobody really set in stone as far as coming back for next year…..All positions can be upgraded,” said Morgan.
So, coach Morgan what exactly is your living room pitch to recruits?
“If you want to play (and) wanna play right now, you want to come in and really be a factor in helping us turn it around, you can do that here,” said Morgan.
“You won’t have to go and sit, let’s say, if you go to a place like Jackson (State) or Alcorn (State) maybe. You may have to spend a little more time in the waiting process. Our deal is wide open. I’m not going to guarantee anybody is going to start, but I’ll tell you what – I can give you pretty good odds that you have a real good chance at coming in and playing.”
One area Valley looks to need an immediate upgrade in is at running back. Chris Watkins’ 406 yards and two touchdowns lead the team in both categories. It marked the second straight season MVSU didn’t have a player to reach the 500-yard mark.
Morgan said he has his eyes on both high school seniors and transfers – anybody that can make an immediate impact.
“I think it’s gotta be a mix. We need immediate help in a lot of positions,” he said.
One of those positions Morgan refers to is his injury-riddled linebacker corps.
“Linebacker-wise, I think we finished the year with five guys that are traveling (from different positions),” said Morgan. “We lost three guys to (season-ending injuries) at linebacker. So at that position, we need numbers and we need an upgrade.”
Morgan was announced as the team’s head coach in early January, which put him several steps behind on the recruiting trail, resulting in no announced signees a few weeks later on Signing Day.
But there’s an upside to that scenario, said Morgan.
“We have money left over because we didn’t sign many (recruits) last year,” he said during a recent SWAC teleconference.
Despite having no signees in January, no home stadium in 2010, and an athletic budget of only $3.3 million — which is $1.9 million less than Alcorn State and $3.5 million short of Jackson State — Morgan says money isn't the problem.
“Money isn’t the reason we’re losing," Morgan said in an interview with the Associated Press. “We’ve got to get some better players...”
Saturday, November 13, 2010
GREENVILLE — There was a chance here and a shot there. But by the end of Saturday's season-ending game against Alabama A&M at Greenville-Weston High, MVSU was left with an all-too familiar taste in its mouth — a loss.
The Bulldogs (3-7, 2-6 SWAC) used two first quarter touchdowns and a 1-yard Justin Jones score to escape with a 21-7 victory over the winless Delta Devils (0-10, 0-9). It was their 11th straight loss.
MVSU's last win came on November 14, 2009 when the Delta Devils defeated Lincoln University, who was winless at the time, 16-6.
MVSU coach Karl Morgan said he thought they had a chance, but weren't "over confident."
"We had hope, but I don't know if we were over confident, because they've lost seven games and we've lost nine. They've won two and we haven't won any," said Morgan. They're the defending (SWAC Eastern Division champions) so we knew they weren't a team that would come in here and lay down. So we felt good about our chances, but we weren't over confident."
It looked as if the game might get out of hand early after the Bulldogs scored two early touchdowns — one on a 14-yard run by Tony Green midway through the first quarter and another on a 33-yard scamper by Kaderius Lacey near the end of the first.
But MVSU held A&M scoreless through the second quarter.
MVSU's lone touchdown came with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 12-yard run by Tristian Hudnall (32 yards, 12 carries).
MVSU had several chances at a comeback, recovering two Bulldog fumbles, but each drive ended with a punt or a red zone interception.
"Not enough. Same thing the whole year, basically," said Morgan.
Besides a 92-yard pass to G'Alonzo Milton, MVSU stalled A&M passing attack. But they had no answer for Green and Lacy, who combined for 255 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
MVSU's Oliver Hughes was 10-21 for 123 yards and an interception. Hudnall, Chris Williams and Paul Cox each had three catches.
Christopher Watkins led MVSU's rushing attack with 54 yards on 12 carries.
MVSU ends its season without a game with an 100-yard rusher.
Morgan said he now wants his team to focus on academics and thanked his senior players for their effort.
"(Returning players), enjoy your off time, but be disciplined...don't go crazy the last couple weeks of school. And for the seniors, I wish you the best," he said.
Friday, November 12, 2010
West Alabama’s 24-21 victory over No. 7 Valdosta State gives the Statesmen (7-3, 6-2 GSC) a share of its fifth GSC title and coach Ron Roberts’ third in four years.
“It’s a great feeling to get a piece of this thing,” said Roberts. “We play in one of the toughest leagues in the country and to say you’re a champion is a huge accomplishment in the GSC.”
DSU is currently tied with Valdosta, North Alabama and Henderson State for the league crown. North Alabama will close out their regular season slate with at Harding, while Henderson State will face off with West Georgia. Valdosta has now concluded its conference schedule.
DSU will close out their regular season Saturday at Lambuth, which will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Trinity Christian Academy.
A win Saturday will guarantee the Statesmen a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The NCAA will announce the field on its selection show Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN News.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
GREENVILLE – Saturday’s 1 p.m. game against Alabama A&M at Greenville-Weston High School will be Senior Day for 21 Delta Devil players. And MVSU coach Karl Morgan said he hopes to give his departing players something “positive” to remember.
“It’d be nice to go out a winner,” said Morgan, whose team is 0-9 on the year. “One win and we would still be 1-9, but one win would be huge in the grand scheme of things.”
Last week at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Delta Devils lost by 29 points, but Morgan said he saw some things to build on going Saturday’s game and into next year: Oliver Hughes threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns, Paul Cox and Tristian Hudnall both had over 100 yards receiving and as they scored 20 points, tying a season-high.
And if it’s any consolation, Alabama A&M (2-7, 1-6 SWAC) hasn’t had a season to remember either.
So can this be considered a winnable game for MVSU?
“I don’t know about that, because you’re talking to the head coach of an 0-9 team, so they’ve had a little more success,” said Morgan.
Both of the Bulldogs’ wins came in September – a 45-0 victory over Central State and a 34-14 win over Southern. Last week, Alabama A&M fell victim 41-24 to an up-and-coming Alcorn State team.
Currently, both the Bulldogs and Delta Devils rank last in the SWAC in total offense. Alabama A&M does, however, rank second in total defense, allowing just over 306 yards per game.
Despite the Bulldogs’ offensive woes, MVSU can’t overlook the team who edged out a 17-12 victory over the Delta Devils in last year’s season-ending game, said Morgan.
“Offensively they’ve struggled some, but nobody in our situation, in our plight, is a guaranteed anything for us,” he said. “So we’ll have to be prepared to come in and play a real good football team in order to get a win.”
Area MVSU senior players to be honored include Milton Gaston, Jr. (Greenville), Chris Watkins (Greenwood), Donta Reed (Belzoni) and Johnvonta Brooks (Winona).
GREENVILLE — Most high school athletes are thankful to get interest from colleges in one sport. But Eric Brozovich isn’t most athletes.
The Washington School senior baseball and football standout said he received interest from several colleges in both sports. But when it came down to his true passion, he knew his love for throwing a baseball was greater than launching a football.
And on Wednesday afternoon, he answered the final question: What college should he attend?
Brozovich signed a scholarship to play baseball at nearby Delta State.
“I just wanted to stay close to home,” said Brozovich, who has been the Generals’ go-to guy on the diamond and the gridiron. He was Washington School’s ace pitcher last season and has led the Generals to two MAIS state state titles in three years as quarterback.
Brozovich said he considered going with football, but he couldn’t overlook his love for baseball.
“I like football, but I have a deep passion for baseball, so I’m pretty sure I made the right decision,” he said.
It was also good news for Washington School baseball coach Jeff Walls, who once pitched for DSU and helped lead the Statesmen a Gulf South Conference title in 2000.
“It’s a real exciting day for me because I know what’s in front of him. And I really think he’s going to fit in there,” said Walls. “And it’s a place where I’ll get to go watch him play.”
Brozovich said he will be on the mound at DSU, but Statesmen coach Mike Kinnison will also give him the opportunity to branch off to other positions.
“(Coach Kinnison) said I can try dual positions, so I’m going to try that out and see where that goes,” said Brozovich.
Brozovich, who was named the Delta Democrat Times’ Pre-season Offensive Player of the Year in football, is quite talented on the gridiron as well.
So, what are what chances DSU fans will see him on under center one day in Cleveland?
“There’s still a slight chance,” said Brozovich. “....Right now probably not, but you never know. Things change.”
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
But thanks to a 33-27 comeback victory over Ouachita Baptist last Saturday and a loss by formerly ranked No. 3 Catawba, the Statesmen are now at No. 5 in the poll and control their own destiny for a playoff berth.
A win for DSU (7-3, 6-2 GSC) at Lambuth Saturday would advance the Statesmen to the playoffs for the third time in four years under Roberts.
“(It’s) down to a one-game season,” Roberts said Monday before he heard the news of where his team was ranked. “It’s win or go home. If you don’t want to go home, yo have to take care of business.”
If both Valdosta State and North Alabama win this week, half of the six teams from the region will be from the Gulf South Conference.
Also, there is still a possibility that four GSC teams can end up in a tie for first place in the conference. DSU, Valdosta State, North Alabama and Henderson State all have a shot at the title — depending on this weekend’s results.
If there is a tie, conference officials will be responsible for selecting the automatic qualifier.
DSU will travel to face Lambuth for a 2 p.m. kickoff Saturday. The game will be played at Trinity Christian Academy.
GREENVILLE — The Delta State and Mississippi Valley State men’s basketball teams closed out the exhibition portion of their schedules Monday night at the Washington County Convention Center.
MVSU used a strong second half effort to put away the Statesmen 90-72 in the 30th meeting between the rival programs. The two squads last met on December 1, 2003, with MVSU holding on for a 64-61 victory in Itta Bena.
With the victory, MVSU holds a 15-14 series lead over DSU.
Through two quarters, the two teams looked to be on the same page, with the Statesmen holding a 37-35 halftime lead.
DSU’s Chris Poellnitz caught fire in the first half, scoring 16 first half points while knocking down 2-of-4 from the arc.
But MVSU’s fast-paced offense blew by DSU in the second half with Orlando Smith, Jason Holmes and Mississippi Delta Community College transfer Falando Jones taking over the game.
MVSU shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half compared to DSU’s 41.4 percent.
Smith led MVSU with 18 points while Jones and Holmes added 17 points each.
DSU was led by Central Arkansas transfer Poellnitz, who had 25 points. Jamarkus Holt added 18 points while Arian Maliqi and Marqueys Brown put up 10 each.
DSU, who lost both of their exhibition games, begins regular season play Friday when they travel to Valdosta, Ga. to compete in the SSC/GSC Classic against Rolins College at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, MVSU, who won both of their pre-season games, will tip-off their season Friday on the road at Georgia.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Yamala Ebru and Liana Knight both scored a goal each for JSU. MVSU fell to 7-13 on the season.
Mandi Quirk, Jency Jose and Shelby Willcoks all earned All-Tournament honors for MVSU.
Ruleville’s victory snapped Leflore County’s nine-game winning streak and sent the Tigers to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Ruleville will host Water Valley (10-2) Friday night.
Leflore County's loss ended their season and dropped them to No. 5 in the Delta Touchdown Club Power Poll. Meanwhile, West Bolivar moved up to No. 2 after their 52-0 win over West Tallahatchie Friday night in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
No. 8 South Delta also saw their season come a close Friday night after falling victim to No. 3 East Side 34-18.
1. Charleston (11-1)
2. West Bolivar (10-2)
3. East Side (10-2)
4. Greenwood (11-1)
5. Leflore Co. (9-2)
6. Leland (9-3)
7. JFK (8-4)
8. Simmons (8-4)
9. South Delta (7-5)
10. Ruleville (7-5)
LELAND — The opening round game against the Palmer Dragons was supposed to be an easy victory for the Leland Cubs.
Instead Palmer (6-4) fought till the end, but still came up short in a 18-14 defeat at the hands of Leland (9-3) in an opening round Class 3A playoff game.
Leland will be on the road this Friday against Aberdeen, who defeated Kossuth 50-8 in their first round matchup.
Leland coach Eugene Sanders said everyone else may have thought Palmer was a push over, but he knew the Cubs were in a battle.
“I know about 15 years ago (Palmer coach Aaron Holden) had the program on the rise until he got sick. But now he’s back,” said Sanders. “And we knew if we ran into them later on in the year they were going to be tough.”
And Palmer wasted no time flexing their muscles Friday night, as they scored on a Lakendrick Conley 67-yard interception return for a touchdown on the fourth play of the game. A Terrell Emerson 2-point conversion run gave the Dragons an early 8-0 lead.
Leland didn't strike back until midway through the second quarter when Davantae Overton capped off a 95-yard drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak. Leland failed the 2-point attempt and found themselves down 8-6.
But the Cubs would take the lead on their next drive after Jamaros Barnes scored on a 15-yard scamper. Leland then held a 12-8 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.
With both team’s defenses playing stout, it would be late in the third before either team would score again. Palmer took a 14-12 lead with over minutes left in the third quarter when Conley rammed in a touchdown on fourth on goal.
A 8-yard touchdown pass from Overton to Nicholas Mosby in the fourth quarter was the final touchdown of the game — and it was all the Cubs needed to move on to the next round.
Palmer used a three-back backfield and rushed the ball nearly every play.
“We knew they would do that coming into the game,” said Sanders. “Their offense was their defense.”
Now Leland has to travel to face one of toughest teams in Class 3A - Aberdeen. The Bulldogs (11-1)has scored over 40 points in seven of 12 games.
SHELBY — The Simmons High Blue Devils held on for a 28-26 victory Friday night over Broad Street in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Simmons (8-4) will host Calhoun City (12-0) Friday night at 7 p.m. Calhoun City defeated Hamilton 40-3 Friday in their round round matchup.
CHARLESTON — The Charleston High Tigers rushed for 362 yards Friday night as they defeated Riverside in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Riverside ends their season with a 4-8 record. Charleston will now travel to Winona for a second round showdown.
GREENVILLE — The Greenville Christian Saints saw their season come a close Friday night after falling victim to Tunica Academy 48-7.
GCS (6-5-1) ended their season by winning five more games than last year. Tunica will be on the road at Winona Christian this Friday night.
CLARKSDALE — The O'Bannon Greenwaves lost to Coahoma County Thursday in their first round game.
O'Bannon's (4-8) lone touchdown came from a 33-yard Maurice Homes touchdown run. Coahoma County will host Baldwyn this Friday night.
GREENVILLE — The playoffs have escaped Greenville-Weston for the ninth straight year.
GWHS (4-7) closed out their season Friday night after falling 29-19 to heavyweight Madison Central (10-1). The loss marked Hornets' fifth straight.
Donald Jackson led GWHS's rushing attack with 86 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He finished with 1,234 yards and eight touchdowns on the season.
Donnel Corbin had a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown - his second of the year.
Terrell Williams had two catches for 63 yards. Williams also finished the season with a team-high 93 tackles.
Jaleel Bolden had two sacks Friday night. Kendrell Canada had 11 tackles while Chucky Moore picked up nine tackles.
The St. Joseph Fighting Irish capped off their regular season with a 37-26 victory over McAdams, but the Irish were still unable to capture a playoff birth.
St. Joe (3-8) had an explosive output from their offense, as the Fighting Irish put up 21 first half points before adding 16 more in the second half.
J'Daylan Jackson had his night of the season, finishing with three touchdowns on runs of 17, 5, and 5.
Matt Menchaca had two touchdowns — one on a 7-yard run and another on a 20-yard pass from Jacob Reifers.
Evan Russell hit a 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Friday, November 5, 2010
And that’s a far cry from an earlier DSU squad who used their high-powered offense to outscore opponents at will. But two losses later - including a heartfelt 38-35 loss to Harding on homecoming and a 31-7 defeat last week against North Alabama - the playoff situation looks dicy for DSU.
The Statesmen (6-3, 5-2) find themselves on the outside looking in after they found out they were ranked No. 8 in the Super Regional II Poll, which was released Monday. Only the top six teams advance to the playoffs.
DSU may be down, but they’re not out. If they can win their final two games (Ouachita Baptist and Lambuth), the Statesmen will have a better shot at the playoffs.
Currently, DSU is tied for second place in the Gulf South Conference with Henderson State at 5-2. No. 10 Valdosta State holds the No. 1 spot with a 5-1 record.
DSU coach Ron Roberts said he can’t worry about how the other teams finish; his focus is solely on the Statesmen.
“No matter what happens we need to win these last two games and finish 8-3,” he said. “It’s not good to put your destiny in somebody else's hands.”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
GREENVILLE — When Delta State travels to Ole Miss Friday, they will be without their only player with SEC experience.
Phil Turner, a senior transfer guard from Mississippi State, has been suspended indefinitely, said DSU coach Jason Conner. WABG-TV broke the news Tuesday evening.
“Right now, the suspension is indefinite, and I just want and need Phil to have the time to take care of his overwhelming circumstances,” said Conner. “He's coming from (a larger university) Mississippi State, some family issues and it's a big time change for him.....I want him to have this time to know where he is with his attitude and work ethic...”
Conner would not go into details as to what brought about the suspension or how long it would last.
According to several sources, an incident at practice may have played a role in the suspension.
“I have the best interest for all parties,” said Conner, although he wouldn't go into detail as of who the “parties” were. “....I never can overlook the ultimate importance of the team and program.....There are so many things that are involved with that.”
Turner spent the last four seasons — one year as a redshirt — at MSU, playing a key role for the Bulldogs. This summer, he decided to transfer to DSU to play his final year of eligibility after his scholarship was not renewed at MSU.
Conner said the transition from a large conference like the SEC to the Division II level Gulf South Conference may have played a role in the suspension.
“This is probably like going from steak and potatoes to chicken fried steak....There is certainly a transition....(But) the team must always come first,” said Conner.
DSU is scheduled to open their season Friday with an exhibition at Ole Miss before playing Mississippi Valley State Nov. 8 at the Washington County Convention Center in Greenville.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Regional rankings will be released every Monday throughout the end of the regular season. The top six schools in the final poll advance to the NCAA Division II Football Championships. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receive byes in the first week of the playoffs with seeds three through six facing off in the first round.
1. Albany State (9-0/8-0)
2. Valdosta State (7-1/7-1)
3. Catawba (6-2/6-2)
4. Wingate (6-2/6-2)
5. North Alabama (7-2/7-2)
6. Morehouse (7-2/7-2)
7. Fort Valley State (8-1/7-1)
8. Delta State (6-3/6-2)
9. Carson-Newman (6-3/5-3)
10. Henderson State (6-3/6-3)
GREENVILLE — During last year’s boys basketball season at Greenville Christian School, several opposing teams went to extreme measures to stay within reach of the Saints — several teams went as far as holding the ball an entire quarter to have a chance at defeating GCS.
Now it looks as if GCS’s success on the hardcourt has trickled down to the gridiron.
The Saints (6-4-1, 2-1 District) defeated Deer Creek last Friday night 49-21 en route to a district title and a spot in the MAIS playoffs. And it’s been a long time coming for a team who finished 1-10 last year.
The last time the Saints made an appearance in the playoffs was in 2001. And their last state title was in 1982.
GCS coach Jimmy Jennings said he told his team at the beginning of the season that if they followed instructions, good things will come.
“We told them if they worked hard and did what we asked them to do, they had a good shot at having a successful season,” said Jennings, a longtime coach who is in his his first year as head coach after working as an assistant last season.
This year’s Saints team seems to have had a rebirth. Their offense is clicking thanks to quarterback Justin Leavy, who rushed for 316 yards and two touchdowns last week over Deer Creek. He also had 112 passing yards, including a touchdown pass to Michael Hardy for the first score of the game. For his performance, Leavy was named one of two Southern Sports and Travel Players of the Week.
The Saints have scored over 20 points in all but three games, including shutout wins over Strider Academy and Byers.
Jennings said his team set their goals high before the season began.
“Before the season, our goals were to have a winning season, get to the playoffs and win the district — and from there we have one goal left: a state title,” he said. “We’ve accomplished three of our four goals. You can’t ask for anything else.”
This Friday the No.1 seeded Saints will take on Tunica Institute at 7 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs. The last time the two teams played, the game was called off because of lighting issues at Tunica’s stadium.
The two teams didn’t make up the game, but Jennings said he knew they would have meet again.
“We had a feeling that might happen,” said Jennings. “We talked about it after the game and said we may end up seeing each other again anyway.”
It’s been 28 years since GCS has held up the state title trophy.
Coach Jennings, what would it mean to bring that streak to an end?
“It would be something else,” he said. “If they do that, they would have really accomplished a lot.....It would be the greatest thing in the world if that happened to those kids.”
Monday, November 1, 2010
2. Leflore Co. (9-1)
3. West Bolivar (9-2)
4. Eastside (9-2)
5. Greenwood (10-1)
6. Leland (8-3)
7. JFK (8-4)
8. South Delta (7-4)
9. Amanda Elzy (7-3)
10. Simmons (7-4)
GREENVILLE — After winning their last nine games and their regional title, the Charleston Tigers have ended the regular season as the top ranked team in the Delta, according to the Delta Touchdown Club Power Poll.
Charleston (10-1) defeated East Side last Thursday 29-12 to win the Region 3-3A championship. They will host Riverside Friday night at 7 p.m. in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
Shifts in the poll from last week include previously unranked Amanda Elzy (7-3), who moved to No. 9 in the poll.
Simmons’ 49-6 loss to West Bolivar (9-2) cost them the Region 4-2A title and dropped them from No. 9 to No. 10 in the poll. Simmons (7-4) will be on the road at Broad Street Friday night in the first round of the playoffs.
Washington School, who was ranked No. 10 in last week’s poll and are unranked this week, saw their season come to a close last Friday night after falling to Madison-Ridgeland Academy 34-12.
Leland defeated district foe South Delta 21-15 last Friday night, but they remain at the No. 6 spot in the poll. Leland (8-3) will host Marks Palmer this Friday night in the first round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile South Delta (7-4), who swapped places with JFK this week in the poll, will travel to East Side Friday night for their playoff showdown.
Made in Mississippi, a weekly series which profiles athletes with Mississippi ties now playing in the NFL, continues this week with a host of former Magnolia State athletes making their mark on a national scale.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis (Patriots)
The Former Ole Miss Rebel carried the ball 17 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns for the New England Patriots as they held on for a 28-18 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Jason Campbell (Raiders)
The Laurel, Miss. native completed 15-of-27 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 33-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Mario Haggan (Broncos)
The Clarksdale, Miss. native and former Mississippi State Bulldog linebacker had eight tackles against the 49ers.
Patrick Willis (49ers)
The former Ole Miss standout racked up 9 tackles (one for loss) Sunday in a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos.
Mike Wallace (Steelers)
The former Ole Miss receiver led the team with three catches for 43 yards, but the Steelers fell to the Super Bowl champion Saints Sunday night.
Kendrick Lewis (Chiefs)
A New Orleans native and former Ole Miss Rebel, Lewis had three tackles in a 13-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Michael Spurlock (Buccaneers)
The Indianola native had three catches for 60 yards, as the Bucs moved to 5-2 on the season after beating the Cardinals 38-35.
Quentin Groves (Raiders)
The Greenville native and former Auburn Tiger had two tackles (one for loss), as the Raiders moved to 4-4 on the season after defeating the Seahawks 33-3.
Brandon Jackson (Packers)
The Horn Lake native rushed for 55 yards on 15 carries Sunday in a
9-0 victory over the Jets.
Donald Lee (Packers)
The Maben native and Mississippi State alum had one catch for five yards.
Brett Favre (Vikings)
The former Southern Miss standout went 22-of-32 for 259 yards and an interception. He was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter, but said he plans to play next week at Arizona.
LaGarette Blount (Buccaneers)
The former East Mississippi Community College star led the way with 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries..
Deion Branch (Patriots)
The former Jones County Junior College standout had one catch for 21 yards.
Jamarca Sanford (Vikings)
The former Ole Miss safety had two tackles.
Ashlee Palmer (Lions)
The Ole Miss alum had four tackles in a 37-25 win over the Redskins. He racked up 13 in his last game – which was two weeks ago.
Anthony Dixon (49ers)
The rookie running back from Mississippi State had 11 yards on five carries.
Greg Hardy (Panthers)
The rookie defensive end from Ole Miss had two tackles and a QB hit, but the Panthers continue to struggle as they dropped to 1-6 on the season after losing 20-10 to the Rams.
Simmons at Broad St.
Coahoma AHS at JFK
O'Bannon at Coahoma County
West Tallahatchie at West Bolivar
South Delta at East Side
Marks Palmer at Leland
Riverside at Charleston
Winona at Booneville
Ruleville at Leflore County
Kosciusko at Cleveland
Amanda Elzy at Louisville
Caledonia at Greenwood
McClain at Noxubee County
Bayou Academy at Desoto, Ark.
Tunica Academy at Greenville Christian
Benton at Winona Christian
Manchester at North Delta
Indianola Academy at Winston
Academy AAA, Division II
East Rankin at Pillow Academy
West Bolivar High sophomore running back Kalio Moore has all the ingredients to be one of those players.
The Simmons Blue Devils (7-4, 2-2 Region) and a crowd full of fans lining the entire stadium witnessed Moore rally West Bolivar (9-2, 4-0) to an easy 49-6 victory Friday night over the Blue Devils to win the Region 4-2A championship.
"I've never seen a kid like him," Simmons coach Carlos Thompson said of Moore, who finished with 184 rushing yards and four touchdowns in just two quarters of play.
"He's probably one of the best athletes that I've seen in a long time," Thompson added.
West Bolivar's explosive rushing attack — along with a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Terrance Matthews — provided the Eagles with a cushy 42-6 halftime lead.
Then a 35-yard scoring strike from Kylan Johnson to Corey Smith gave West Bolivar a 49-6 third quarter lead before they retired most of their key players for the game.
Simmons' lone touchdown came early in the first quarter when Debrille Grant sneaked in a touchdown from two yards out. From that moment on, West Bolivar controlled the game on both sides of the ball.
Moore's touchdowns came from three, five, six and 34 yards out. And Jovious Wade had a 30-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to up the lead to 40-7. Moore then punched in the two-point conversion to make it 42-7.
West Bolivar's ability to spread the ball around is what makes them a tough task for opposing teams, said Eagles coach Henry Johnson.
"Kalio is our main guy, everything we do centers around Kalio," he said. "But he opens things up for those other guys, and when those other guys start making plays, that's when it becomes very hard for the defense — and that's kind of what's going on right now."
The loss marked Simmons second straight and dropped them to No. 3 in the region behind West Bolivar and JFK, who defeated O'Bannon 18-0 Friday night.
Simmons will now now have to travel to face Broad Street this Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
"I think we should come out well against (Broad Street)," said Thompson, who added that he thinks his Simmons squad has the talent to at least make it to the second round. "I'm not saying it's an automatic win, but I know we have our work cut out for us."
Meanwhile, West Bolivar will host West Tallahatchie Friday night at 7 p.m. And Coahoma County Agricultural will travel to JFK, while O'Bannon (4-7, 1-3) will be at Coahoma County.
CLINTON — The Greenville-Weston Hornets saw their playoff chances dwindle Friday night after allowing two fourth quarter Clinton touchdowns, as they Hornets (4-6, 2-4 Region) fell 24-9 to the Arrows.
Willie Mosby scored GWHS's lone touchdown on a 7-yard scamper. Junior running back Donald Jackson finished with 124 rushing yards, upping his season total mark to around 1,200 yards. GWHS linebacker Terrell Williams added 12 tackles.
GWHS will close out their season this Friday night when they host Madison Central.
ARCOLA — The Greenville Christian Saints won the MAIS District 2-A Friday night after defeating rival Deer Creek 49-21.
GCS (6-4, 2-1 District) will now host Tunica Academy this Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Deer Creek (5-5, 2-1) saw their season come to a close.
RIDGELAND — The Washington School Generals won't have a shot at a third straight title after falling to Madison-Ridgeland Academy 34-12 Friday night, ousting the Generals from the playoff picture. Washington School ends their 2010 campaign with a 5-6, 3-4 record.
GREENVILLE — The O'Bannon Greenwaves lost 18-0 to John F. Kennedy Friday night in the final regular season game. However, OBHS (4-7, 1-3 Region) are still in the playoffs.
O'Bannon will be on the road to face a top-ranked Coahoma County Agricultural squad Friday night at 7 p.m.
LELAND — Leland held on for a 21-15 victory Friday night over South Delta. The win gave the Cubs a 8-3, 4-1 region record.
Now Leland will face Marks Palmer this Friday night in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
South Delta, on the other hand, will travel to face a East Side team who lost to Charleston last Thursday for their regional title.
ITTA BENA — The Riverside Bulldogs closed out their regular season with a 36-0 loss to a tough Leflore County (9-1, 5-0 Region) squad.
RHS (4-7, 2-3) will now have another huge obstacle in their way this Friday night when they travel to face the Delta's No. 1 team, Charleston. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.