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Smith helps Army celebrate victory

The Black Knights of the Hudson were celebrating a footballvictory last weekend. Brookhaven product Maurio Smith was part ofthe Saturday night victory party as the Army team savored ahard-fought 28-14 win over the University of Houston Cougars.

Smith, all 5-foot-8 and 171 pounds of him, had starred atcornerback. The junior Cadet snared the first interception of hiscollege career in the fourth quarter as the Knights held offHouston in Michie Stadium. He has been credited with six solotackles this year.

The son of Semmie and Kathleen Smith of Brookhaven was astandout football and baseball player at BHS a few years ago. Hewas named The Daily Leader’s 1998 Player of the Year on theAll-Lincoln County Baseball Team as a senior, helping lead thePanthers to the state playoffs.

Army, 1-3 overall and 1-2 in Conference USA, has experiencedsome growing pains under second-year head coach Todd Berry. TheKnights were 1-10 last year as Berry began a massive rebuildingprogram. Their only win came over Tulane, 21-17.

Smith is among 4,000 cadets in the Long Gray Line. These youngmen and women are growing into heroes during the revival ofAmerican patriotism. They will graduate as officers, anxiouslyanticipating active duty.

During a recent “Taps” ceremony at the sacred marching groundoverlooking the mighty Hudson River, Smith and his fellow cadetsstood at ease, hands clasped behind their backs. It was Fridaynight, Sept. 14, and Saturday’s game had been canceled because ofthe terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, D.C.

The last few bars of “Taps” were blown by a lone bugler. Thesounds cascaded off the mountains which surround the beautiful WestPoint, N.Y. campus. There was a 21-gun salute. Then theunmistakable wail of bagpipes filled the air and an emotionalversion of “Amazing Grace” touched the hearts and minds of thesecadets.

It was a quiet time of peace and reflection in a hate-filledworld torn by turmoil. There would be no game that weekend butthoughts about future combat stood front and center.

Army plays East Carolina this weekend in Michie Stadium. Smithwill be wearing jersey No. 1 and he’ll proudly wear the black andgold uniform. The Knights are 0-4 in the series and decidedunderdogs but they remain a crowd favorite, especially in times ofwar. It will be a regionally televised game, kicking off at 11:45a.m. CDT.

There are big games everywhere and Professor Hoopla, B.S., isready to make his predictions, starting with some Friday night highschool specials.

Terry at Brookhaven: Homecoming is a distraction but thePanthers have enough juice to handle the Bulldawgs. Brookhaven24-10.

Oak Forest at Brookhaven Academy: The last undefeated team inLincoln County is going to absorb its first loss. Oak Forest28-14.

Dexter at Bogue Chitto: Bobcats need a win over the toughBulldogs to keep second place in the Region 4-1A race. Bogue Chitto16-14.

Wesson at Loyd Star: This intense game should determine firstplace in the Region 6-2A scramble. Loyd Star 28-17.

Natchez Cathedral at Enterprise: Yellow Jackets encounter theirstrongest test of the season thus far. Enterprise 22-21.

West Lincoln at Salem: Two win-starved teams collide in ruralWalthall County. Salem has a band and a victory. Salem 26-14.

Amite County at Lawrence County: Cougars get a rare break fromthe Region 6-4A wars. Lawrence County 34-13.

Hazlehurst at Franklin County: The Indians’ high-octane offensecranks up in Meadville. Hazlehurst 30-20.

In other area action, Wilkinson County should whip CrystalSprings 52-6, Lamar should nip Copiah Academy 16-10, North Pikeshould clip Jefferson County 27-18, Parklane should pinchMadison-Ridgeland 21-14, McComb should maul Port Gibson 41-8 andSouth Pike should smash Raymond 49-6.

Co-Lin at Pearl River: Saturday night football fever favors thepass-happy Wildcats in Poplarville. Pearl River 28-14.

Southwest at Gulf Coast: Seems to be no relief in sight for thewinless Bears. Gulf Coast 21-10.

Alabama at Ole Miss: Eli Manning will throw some touchdownpasses but the Rebels can’t stop the Crimson Tide. Alabama34-33.

Troy State at Mississippi State: Bulldogs must beware ofoverconfidence and snap 2-game losing skid. State 38-17.

Southern University at Jackson State: Tigers have spent the weekworking on defense. Jackson State 38-28.

In other Magnolia State games, Tennessee State will inundateValley State 48-18, Samford will sack Alcorn state 29-8, MaryHardin-Baylor will sack Mississippi College 27-10, Rose-Hulman willplug Millsaps 13-3, Delta State will sink Southern Arkansas 21-13,Cumberland will dump Belhaven 20-10. Southern Miss has an open dateto recuperate before Tuesday night’s game at Louisville.