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Golden year for Ole Brook athletics

It was a golden year for Brookhaven High School athletics. TheOle Brook baseball team started the gold rush by winning a statechampionship in May. It was the first-ever Class 4A state title forthe Panthers who defeated Pontotoc 10-2 in the finals as MVPpitcher Scotty Smith paved the way. It was a banner campaign forBHS baseball coach Randy Spring.

In August, the Panthers began their pursuit of a state footballchampionship. That goal was realized on Saturday night, Dec. 4,when Ole Brook beat Clarksdale 29-23 in Mississippi VeteransMemorial Stadium.

Coach Tucker Peavey’s Panthers were led by all-state quarterbackJimmy Johns, voted Mr. Football in Mississippi. Their 14-1 recordfeatured 13 straight victories after a overtime loss atVicksburg.

In basketball, the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars captured theimagination by winning the MPSA Overall Tournament in March andfinishing 43-0. Four starters return this season as Coach BarryGray’s girls seek a successful Overall title defense plus a fourthconsecutive Class AA state tournament championship.

The BA boys, coached by Dale Watts, made another strong run andadvanced to the quarterfinals of the Overall tourney. The Cougarslost in the semifinals of the AA state tournament.

West Lincoln’s girls made headlines by advancing to the Class 1Astate basketball tournament semifinals under the direction of CoachLane Young.

His father, Co-Lin women’s coach Gwyn Young, continued to setthe high standard for the Lady Wolves as they reached the NJCAARegion 23 Tournament title game before elimination.

Co-Lin’s baseball team, under the direction of Coach Keith Case,made another strong finish, falling in the semifinals of theregional playoffs.

Still at Co-Lin, the golf team fared well. Two team members,Craig Smith and Dale Sykes, advanced to the national tournament inNew York.

In the spring, Brookhaven hosted the Class 4A state tournamentat the Brookhaven Country Club and the Panthers led after the firstround. George County rallied in the second round and took thetitle, beating runner-up St. Stanislaus. Brookhaven settled for athird place tie with Terry.

Ole Brook dominated Division 6-4A tennis and had designed on asuccessful state title defense. But the Panthers came up short inthe state tourney.

At Brookhaven Academy, Nicole Smith and Ben Rowley captured theClass AA mixed doubles state title for Coach Velma Estess.

In track, Brookhaven’s Jimmy Johns showcased his athleticability, wining the high hurdles and discus at the state 4A trackmeet.

In fastpitch softball, Lawrence County took third place in theClass 4A state playoffs. The Lady Cougars, coached by BeronicaStringfellow, were led by all-state pitcher Kelly Stokes.

At Co-Lin, Coach Allen Kent’s Lady Wolves finished third in theMACJC state/regional tournament.

In slowpitch softball, Ole Brook, coached by Lisa Covington,finished runner-up to East Central in the South state 4A finals.Bogue Chitto, under the direction of new head coach Scott Leggettand his wife, Denise, finished runner-up to Ingomar in the Class 1Astate tournament. West Lincoln lost to Bogue Chitto in the Southstate semifinals.

Plenty of coaching changes.

Plenty of coaching changes adjusted the face of area footballfor the 2004 season. In Lincoln County, Wade Henderson replacedSidney Wheatley at Loyd Star; Mac Bezet replaced Scott Leggett atEnterprise and Brooks Burns replaced Ron Dupree at WestLincoln.

In Lawrence County, Mike Davis succeeded Tony Davis as athleticdirector and Trent Hammond as head football coach.

In Copiah County, Mitch Mitchell took the football controls atCopiah Academy. Tommy Clopton replaced Ronald Greer at Wesson andGlenn Davis replaced Dave Poinsett at Co-Lin.

There was a mild upheaval in basketball coaching. ChristiTerrell and Todd Davis replaced Jason Kennedy at Bogue Chitto. JillNations replaced Billy Vaughn at Enterprise and Jenny Vancereplaced Archie Ross at Lawrence County.

In baseball, Johnny Daves replaced Ed Zumbro, Jr. who retiredafter many years at Franklin County.

Football was the main focus in the fall. Franklin County,coached by Anthony Hart, fell one victory shy of reaching the Class3A state title game. Hazlehurst, coached by Willie Brown, also didwell, advancing to the South state 3A semifinals.

What lies ahead for 2005?

Stay tuned.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com