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High school stars sign scholarships

Lights, camera, action!

On a cold and dreary Wednesday, National Signing Day brought outthe brightest smiles. Proud parents and happy high school footballstars lit up the rooms as they signed scholarship papers.

Most of the football players preferred a grim look; call ittheir game face. Parents smiled with pride and admiration.

“They might not look happy, but I sure am happy,” said Mrs.Sylvia Wallace-Lewis, grinning as she watched her son, J.P. Lewis,sign with Southern Miss. “My son’s education is being paid for andthat’s important.”

Coaches and parents agreed. Football scholarships are greatopportunities to continue an athletic career. Most importantly,Bubba has an opportunity to obtain a college degree and land a goodjob if he goes to class, studies hard and graduates.

In some 35 years of writing sports for The DAILY LEADER, I havetaken hundreds of scholarship photos. We have wished the youngsterswell and hoped for the best.

The leap from high school to college in athletics and academicsis staggering. Physically, the young men and women will be severelytested by bigger, stronger and faster opponents. Mentally, theirbrain will be expanded by professors.

Confronted by those obstacles, some talented folks just quit.Others struggle against the odds but they persevere and contribute.A few elevate their game to a higher level and shine brightly.

We hope they all become stars.

Area coaches prefer New England

The New England Patriots are the envy of NFL opponents. Callthem the 21st century’s answer to the Dallas Cowboys. They are thenew America’s Team.

Judging from an informal survey of area high school and juniorcollege football coaches, New England is a solid choice to winSuper Bowl XXXIX. Most coaches believe the Patriots will win by XIVpoints or more.

Tucker Peavey, Brookhaven: I like the Patriots.They are a very sound team, always very well prepared. They don’tmake many mistakes. They don’t thrive on controversy. New England28-14.

Anthony Hart, Franklin County: I hopePhiladelphia wins this time. I want somebody new to win. But Ithink New England will win, 24-17.

Mac Bezet, Enterprise: I’m for the Patriots.They are a team unit, not a bunch of superstars. I like thembecause they play great defense. They also have character. I thinkit will be a close game. New England 21-14.

Glenn Davis, Co-Lin: I kind of like thePatriots. They play together. I like some of the comments theirplayers have said. Some of them have turned down more money to getanother ring. I think it will be a close game, probably New England24-21.

Mike Davis, Lawrence County: As a coach, youhave got to like how the New England Patriots go about theirbusiness. They do their job and play as a team. I’d say NewEngland, 27-13.

Tommy Clopton, Wesson: I don’t keep up with thepros very much. I’ll probably pull for the Patriots even though theEagles have more of a Mississippi flavor. New England always risesto the occasion. I like their attitude. New England 24-14.

Ray Ishee, Brookhaven Academy: I think NewEngland will win because they have been there and done that. Theirquarterback is experienced in that arena. They pose too manydifferent looks defensively. I think New England will win by twotouchdowns, say New England, 21-7.

Brooks Burns, West Lincoln: I don’t keep upwith the NFL too much because most of them are just just out therefor the money. I’ll be pulling for the Eagles because I went toschool at Southern (Miss) with Todd Pinkston. I’d like to see him aget a Super Bowl ring. But, based on what I know, I can’t see thePatriots losing. New England 24-17.

Adam Barron, North Pike: New England isconsistent at what they do. The players and the coaches do theirindividual jobs. They are a team. Their offense is great but theirdefense has been overlooked. That has made them solid. I’ll say thePatriots by 14 points, 28-14.

Randall Huffman, South Pike: They’ve won itthree out of the last four years. Their defense is very good. I’llsay New England 28-21.

Dom Green, Southwest: I think New England willwin. They know how to win. They’ve been there and done that. Ithink Brady will be a key. The Super Bowl is second nature to him.New England 24-14.

Gareth Sartin, Bogue Chitto: I’ll pull for thePatriots. Tom Brady is a class act and their whole team plays witha lot of class. It should be high scoring. Probably New England31-28.

Mitch Mitchell, Copiah Academy: New England isplaying great and they have Brady. I think the game will be close.New England 24-17.

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