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Is there a hint of autumn in air?

We have truly enjoyed the cool morning air the last few days. Myyellow lab, Benton, definitely loves the early romp through theyard before I saddle up and head for the office.

Unfortunately, the sultry, sweat-soaked dog days of August arestill ahead of us before the slight hint of a northerly breezearrives in late September. However, there was a quickening of thepulse rate as preseason practice for Mississippi Private SchoolAssociation football teams got under way this week.

Next week the public or Mississippi High School ActivitiesAssociation members join the preseason action.

On Monday morning in Gallman, Copiah Academy held its annualTeam Picture Day. New head coach Mitch Mitchellhad directed his players through a 7 a.m. practice before theColonels put on their game uniforms.

In most cases, Picture Day for football photographers requires,a generous application of sun screen, plus sun glasses, awide-brimmed straw hat and shorts. It helps to have a bottle ofwater and a towel tucked away in the camera bag, too.

But on this occasion, the sky was overcast and the temperaturewas in the low 70s. For sure the players and coaches enjoyed thecooler-than-expected environment.

Mitchell is excited about his team’s prospects for 2004. Infact, he was the first coach to return The DAILY LEADER’s GridironQuestionnaire. That entitles him to a week’s vacation in Bude.

Loyd Star’s new head coach, Wade Henderson, wasthe second coach to return the questionnaire. That earns him twoweeks in Bude.

Coaches are encouraged to return the questionnaires as soon aspossible. Information will be compiled for the DL’s annualGridiron Preview which will be published Aug. 27.

Certainly, the coaches and players have been working hard allsummer with weight training and conditioning programs. Football isa demanding sport and the players must be in good condition whenthey hit the practice field for the first official day of preseasondrills.

Their ultimate goal is to play for the state championship inlate November (MPSA) or early December (MHSAA). There are 13-14games during that stretch and a lot can happen before the titletest arrives.

BHS Panthers get No. 1 recognition

The Brookhaven Panthers are anticipating a great campaign.Apparently, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger agrees with them.Tucker Peavey’s Panthers are going to featured asthe C-L’s preseason No. 1 team.

Brookhaven has 15 starters returning from last year’s 9-3 squadthat lost to eventual Class 4A state champion Wayne County in theSouth State quarterfinals.

BHS quarterback Jimmy Johns and defensivetackle Jessie Bowman have been chosen for theC-L’s Dandy Dozen Team. Both of them, especially Johns,are receiving some major recruiting interest. Johns has achievedthe required ACT score and is reported to be leaning towardsMississippi State, Southern Miss, Auburn and Memphis.

Season tickets sales are up at BHS. Reserved, chairback seatingwill be increased by 48 seats in the near future. Peavey said thereare 50 people on the waiting list for chairbacks.

The Panthers kick off their season Aug. 27, hosting theHazlehurst Indians.

Area softball action starts next week

Believe it or not, area high school softball cranks up nextweek. Brookhaven Academy, coached by Mike Rhodus,plays a fastpitch game Aug. 5, at Centreville Academy.

Bogue Chitto’s Lady Bobcats, coached by Scottand Denise Leggett, host Natchez Aug. 6 for aMHSAA Classic Game twinbill, starting at 5 p.m.

Lawrence County, coached by Tarvey andSuzi Ward, debuts Aug. 6, at Natchez Cathedral.The Lady Cougars will host Tylertown Aug. 10.

Bogue Chitto and the rest of the public schools play slowpitchin the fall while the MPSA teams play fastpitch. In the spring,it’s turnabout time for the slowpitch and fastpitch.

Area softball coaches are asked to submit rosters and schedulesas soon as possible to help us provide coverage of their respectiveteams.