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Football teams enjoyed success

It’s been fun.

Covering area high school football teams, and their marchthrough the state playoffs, definitely provided a few challengesfor The DAILY LEADER’s sports department. Everything worked out forthe best and the coverage was excellent.

DL sports writer James O. Covington shared his lament the otherday. “Well, there won’t be any teams from southwest Mississippiplaying for a state championship in Jackson. That’s too bad.”

Certainly, there were some high expectations as the stateplayoffs got under way four weeks ago. Loyd Star (10-0), undefeatedand ranked No. 3 in the state among small schools in The AssociatedPress Prep Poll, saw its Cinderella season smashed by an explosiveHeidelberg squad in the opening round.

Dreams of a Class 2A state title went down the tubes but theHornets, coached by Sidney Wheatley, still had much to be proud of,especially after the 3-7 mark of last year.

Wesson, the No. 3 seed in Region 6-2A, salvaged some respect ina major rebuilding campaign. After back-to-back regionchampionships, the Cobras struggled. After losing big to Loyd Starin a region showdown, a couple of starters quit the Cobras.

However, the rest of Ronald Greer’s Cobras hung in there andkept working. They upset Hinds AHS in the regular-season finale toget No. 3 seeding in the playoffs. The Cobras faced the monumentaltask of playing at Taylorsville in the first round of the playoffs.They put a lot of points on the scoreboard before bowing to theTartars.

Franklin County, fresh from winning the Region 7-3Achampionship, also felt the upset bite in the opening round. CoachAnthony Hart’s youthful Bulldogs were upset by No. 4 seed Richland.In an unusual game, the offensive-minded Bulldogs were shut out10-0.

Brookhaven, coached by Tucker Peavey, had high expectationsafter winning the Region 6-4A championship. The Panthers got pastPearl River Central in the opening round and then faced giganticWayne County in Round Two. Wayne County, the 2002 Class 5Achampion, managed to escape King Field and Lincoln County with a25-20 victory.

With a lucky bounce or two, the Panthers could have knocked offWayne County. For sure, another touchdown would have won it.

Peavey believes his Panthers could be better in 2004. Troubleis, South State is so strong. There are a number of powerfulprograms located south of Jackson, not to mention McComb, SouthPike and Lawrence County in Region 6-4A.

Coaches will agree that Class 4A is stronger overall than Class5A. There are definitely some exceptional 5A programs, led by SouthPanola and Oak Grove this year.

Lawrence County made the strongest run of the 4A area teams.Coach Trent Hammond got his Cougars to the third round, beatingLaurel and Northeast Lauderdale before falling to West Jones.Still, the Cougars had a great year. They overachieved and exceededexpectations after being picked to finish fifth in the preseasonpoll of region coaches.

Although West Jones has a lot of speed, some great receivers, anoutstanding kicker and a strong-armed quarterback, we will besurprised if the Mustangs (13-0) beat Wayne County (12-1) for asecond time tonight in the South State championship game atWaynesboro.

West Jones could have a secret weapon in running back ArchieSims, a swift and powerful 198-pound junior. West Jones coach ScottPierson calls Sims “the best football player I’ve evercoached.”

Bogue Chitto, coached by Gareth Sartin, also produced a bigturnaround this season, going 9-4 and reaching the second round ofthe Class 1A state playoffs. They were 4-7 last year.

The Bobcats were runners-up to Mize in the Region 4-1A race.They beat South Leake in the opening round of the playoffs beforelosing to deep and talented Scott Central in Round Two.

Sartin loses 15 standout seniors to graduation so the rebuildingtask will be extra large. Bogue Chitto has made some big strides onthe gridiron in recent years under former head coach Carl Cole andnow with Sartin who is in his second year. Community support isstrong so hopefully the Bobcats will keep the tradition going.

In Class 3A, Hazlehurst’s Indians came within a touchdown ofbeating Forest last Friday night in the third round. Coached byWillie Brown, the Indians had shaken the 3A foundation a weekearlier, shocking previously unbeaten Tylertown 22-21, atTylertown.

The Indians were runners-up to Franklin County in the Region7-3A race and they should be strong again in 2004. Next season willbe here before you know it.

Heard this Thanksgiving Day poem on American Family Radio. Itwas composed by J.J. Jarvis and can be located on his web page,jjjarvis.com.

AN ODE TO THANKSGIVING

‘Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn’t sleep.

I tried counting backwards and I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned, the dark meat and white,

But I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation, the thought of a snackbecame infatuation.

So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door and gazed at thefridge, full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes, pickles and carrots,beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling, so plump and so round, ’til all of asudden, I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky with amouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.

But I managed to yell, as I soared past the trees,

Happy eating to all! Pass the cranberries please.

May your stuffing be tasty. May your turkey be plump.

May your potatoes ‘n gravy have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious. May your pies take the prize.

May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz at P.O. BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com