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Coaches share expertise on Super Bowl

Take your pick. The Oakland Raiders of silver and black fame arethe grizzled veterans in Super Bowl XXXVII. Tampa Bay’s Buccaneersare the newcomers on the block and the underdogs.

Speaking of underdogs, where are the New Orleans Saints?

Area football coaches were contacted by this column and askedabout THE GAME. They provided some interesting responses, with adefinite tilt toward the Raiders. Lawrence County head coach TrentHammond provided the most fascinating response, reliving a24-year-old encounter with the Raiders in New Orleans.

Here are the coaches’ picks.

Ray Ishee, Brookhaven Academy: I like theRaiders. The guy (Rich Gannon) taking the snaps is a seasonedveteran. He’s been there before in the big games. I think theRaiders have the complete package. I think Oakland by 10, say20-10.

Ronald Greer, Wesson: I’m sentimental so I’mpulling for the old guys. I’m for the Raiders. I’d like to see TimBrown win one. It should be pretty low scoring. Tampa Bay is sosalty on defense. Let’s say, Oakland 17-14.

Willie Brumfield, West Lincoln: I’m a Tampa Bayguy. I’m a defensive-minded coach and they have the best defense inthe NFL. They’re aggressive and they have fun. They hit. TheRaiders have the NFL’s MVP so they should score some points. I’llsay Tampa Bay, 27-17.

Tucker Peavey, Brookhaven: I feel experiencewill win out in the end. I’m going with the Raiders. They arepretty well-rounded team. It will be interesting to see if Tampacan cover Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. Oakland 28-17.

Gareth Sartin, Bogue Chitto: I like the TampaBay Buccaneers. They have a tremendous defense. In playoff gamesand big games like the Super Bowl, you have to have a defense towin it. It will be hard for the Raiders to move the ball on them.Tampa Bay 17-14.

Ricky Deere, Enterprise: I’m for Oaklandbecause of Jerry Rice. Oakland 27-24.

Trent Hammond, Lawrence County: The Raiders!I’ve always been a Raiders’ fan. When I was 11 years old, I was ina bike (motorcycle) wreck. I was in a body cast. I talked to(Coach) Tom Flores on the telephone. He told me if I was out of mybody cast by the time they played in New Orleans, he would have mesome tickets for the Saints game. It was a Monday night game. CoachFlores met me at the hotel and introduced me to the players. Ithink it will be a close ballgame. Oakland 28-17.

Ted Milton, McComb: I don’t watch professionalsports much because we work on Sundays. I couldn’t tell you who’sstarting for either team. I’m just going to watch it and see whowins.

Adam Barron, North Pike: Oakland by 10! TheRaiders have a real good offense and a great offensive line. IfTampa (defense) keeps coming at them hard, Oakland can block them.I’ll say Oakland 31-21.

Willie Brown, Hazlehurst: Tennessee was myteam. I would put my money on Oakland but not very much. It shouldbe a close game. Let’s say Oakland by 3, maybe 24-21.

Anthony Hart, Franklin County: I’ll pickOakland because they have people my age playing. It should be agood defensive game but when you say that, they usually score abunch. Oakland 24-21.

David Poinsett, Co-Lin: I’m a Florida guy. I’vegot to pull for Tampa Bay. Miami was my team when I was growing upbut they didn’t make it. I think it will be a game of turnovers, avery defensive game. It’s game of who messes up and whocapitalizes. Special teams will be a key. Both teams have a threaton special teams. I’ll say Tampa Bay, 21-17.

Dom Green, Southwest: I’m from Tampa but Ithink Oakland has the better offense. Tampa’s defense is very good.I don’t know if they have the offense to score enough points towin. Oakland 24-10.

Super Bowl Trivia: Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege claims a Super Bowl connection in Oakland defensive endTony Bryant, a 4-year NFL veteran from Marathon, Fla. Bryant playedtwo years at Co-Lin, 1995-96, earning all-state honors and evenplaying a little basketball before transferring to Florida State.He is on injured reserve for Sunday’s game.

Mississippi’s Brookhaven-based team made a strong showing in theCadillac National Kidney Foundation championship at Pebble Beach,Calif. last weekend In a 4-person, scramble format, David Colemanof Madison and the Brookhaven trio of insurance agent Mike Smithand Dr.s Ray Montalvo and Braxter Irby made the state proud. Theteam was nine strokes better than last year, shooting a 33-underpar and gaining a share of 16th place. A 49-under by a team fromAlabama won the 100-team tournament.

The championship featured four rounds. The first round was onthe picturesque Pebble Beach layout. Scenery is so beautiful,golfers have difficult time concentrating on their game.

“The weather was beautiful,” said Smith. “There wasn’t a cloudin the sky the first two days and the temperature was 72degrees.”

They also played courses at Spanish Bay, Del Monte and BayonetPoint on the Monterey peninsula. Bayonet, played the final day, wasa monstrous 7,200 yards long, including a 660-yard par-5. Since itwas a national championship, the courses were set up to be extratough. That’s especially difficult for a team with a combined 43handicap.

Coleman, the team’s A player, shot an eagle on the 440-yard,par-4 16th hole at Pebble Beach. He used a 6-iron to eagle from 175yards out. That shot won $545 in a skins game.