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Johns, Pegues destined for NFL

Four years from now, Jimmy Johns of Brookhaven and DerrickPegues of South Panola could be playing football on Sunday. Inother words, these two gifted athletes should be on an NFL team ifthey stay healthy, continue improving and keep their heads onstraight.

For Johns and Pegues, their latest showcase was the 18th AnnualAlabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic. They both sparkled in leadingMississippi to a 21-18 victory, Johns at quarterback and Pegues atrunning back.

The long-awaited victory snapped a 6-game losing streak.Mississippi had last won in 1998 when McComb placekicker Mac Hartbooted 3 field goals in a 9-0 victory.

Last fall Johns and Pegues led their teams to respective statechampionships, Brookhaven in Class 4A and South Panola in 5A.Borrowing a phrase from former Oakland A’s great Reggie Jackson,they are the sticks that stir the drinks.

Next stop for them is the university campus, Johns at Alabamaand Pegues at Mississippi State. Pegues has been penciled in as adefensive back in Coach Sylvester Croom’s scheme. Johns has beenpromised a shot at quarterback by Alabama coach Mike Shula.

Their starting position in college is uncertain at this pointbut they both could see action as freshmen. Pegues has blazingspeed. Johns is big and fast, with a strong arm.

For sure, Johns was the darling of the media during last week’sbuildup for the All-Star Classic. His scholarship with the CrimsonTide caught the attention of print, radio and television media inthe Mobile area. Friendly and well-spoken, complimented byintelligent answers to media questions, Johns became a familiarface in the spotlight.

Prior to, during and after the game, Johns was praised by thepress box media who gathered in Ladd-Peebles Memorial Stadium.Obviously, the Alabama folks are anticipating his arrival inTuscaloosa.

The talk is that Alabama would like to redshirt Johns, but hiskeen competitive spirit would make him an unhappy camper if he hasto watch every game from the sidelines. Johns wants to play thisfall. Tide senior starting quarterback Brodie Croyle is coming backfrom knee surgery.

Backing Croyle in the Tide’s spring game were John Parker Wilson(6-2, 207, Fr.) and Marc Guillon (6-3, 212, Jr.) who has onevarsity letter. For obvious reasons, Croyle was held out ofcontact.

Johns is among three incoming freshman quarterbacks signed byAlabama. Wilson enrolled early and went through spring drills.Jimmy Barnes (6-5, 225) is arriving from Los Alamitos, Cal.

At 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, Johns is expected to grow strongerand faster. He starred briefly at linebacker in last year’s stateplayoffs, displaying his potential on defense. His passing skillssaw dramatic improvement during the 2004 campaign.

Whatever position Johns winds up playing, we wish him well. He’san exceptional athlete and person. We hope he continues his highlevel of success on the gridiron.

BHS product Kenyatta Coleman is representing Ole Miss this weekin the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Sacramento,Cal. Coleman, a freshman, will compete in the 400-meter dash andthe 4×100 relay.

Coleman holds the 26th fastest time in the 400. The Lady Rebelrelay team of junior Marquita Aldridge, senior Chiquita Stephens,sophomore Kimberly Mulkey and Coleman will start the action on thetrack for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss track coach Joe Walker also will have Shantel Glass inthe men’s long jump. Antwon Hicks in the 110-meter hurdles, ChrisLawson in the 200 meters, Brandon Atkinson in the triple jump andLaToya McBride in the heptathlon.

DUI Tragedy: Alcohol raised its ugly head andkilled a promising young athlete in Michael Johnson of JacksonMurrah last week. Johnson, 18, a point guard on Murrah’s 2005 Class5A state championship basketball team, had signed a baseballscholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He was expectedto play shortstop for Coach Keith Case’s Wolfpack.

Around 3 a.m. last Saturday morning, in downtown Jackson,Johnson was driving home when his vehicle was broad-sided by JasonRhea who was speeding and drinking. The accident happened at thecorner of State and Capitol streets. Both young men werekilled.

Rhea, 26, had a record of three previous DUI convictions.Certainly, Mississippi needs tougher DUI laws.

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