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Great week for winning football championships

It will be remembered as a great week for area football teams.Starting last Thursday and going through Saturday night, thesouthwest Mississippi area celebrated three state championships anda community college bowl victory.

Can it get any better than that?

Copiah Academy and Natchez Trinity Episcopal School stepped upand won Mississippi Private School Association state titles lastThursday. The Gallman-based Colonels captured the Class AA crownand the Trinity Saints took home the Class A trophy.

On Saturday afternoon, Franklin County’s powerful Bulldogsdefeated Nettleton for the Mississippi High School ActivitiesAssociation’s Class 3A state title. It was the first-ever footballcrown for the Meadville-based canines.

Earlier in the day, the Copiah-Lincoln Community CollegeWolfpack howled to a 21-0 victory over Georgia Military College inthe Golden Isles Bowl Classic in Brunswick, Ga. It was the firstshutout in the 12-year history of the bowl which is sponsored bythe Sea Island Company.

Ranked No. 9 in the last NJCAA football poll, Co-Lin’s Wolfpackmade a strong statement against the No. 8 GMC Bulldogs. Theylimited GMC to just 48 yards total offense.

For sure, Coach Glenn Davis finally turned the Co-Lin footballprogram around. They finished 9-3 and should climb several rungs inthe final poll.

Obviously, Co-Lin has endured some dark, frustrating days on thegridiron. Davis inherited a struggling program. His first two teamswon a total of two games. The Pack was 1-6 in thehurricane-shortened 2005 campaign.

It was 1996, 10 years ago, when Co-Lin last managed to win morefootball games than it lost.

Now for the rebuilding effort. Davis must replace 9 offensivestarters, plus a place-kicker/punter. On defense, 5 starters returnfor 2007.

Overall, it has been a productive year for high schools in theCo-Lin recruiting district. Several prize athletes are available.Coaches will tell you that recruiting is about as predictable asthe weather. There are a lot of possibilities.

On offense, Davis must replace his entire starting backfield,led by quarterback Cedric Johnson, the Golden Isles Bowl MVP; andleading rusher Aaron Johns.

Look for the Pack to garner more post-season honors. Co-Lindefensive tackle Jesse Bowman has been named to the NJCAAAll-America First Team. Johnson is an honorable mention.

Bowman originally signed with Mississippi State Universitycoming out of Brookhaven High School. However, higher academicstandards would have made him ineligible as a freshman at MSU, sohe elected to play for Co-Lin.

According to the Ole Miss Spirit, Bowman ranks high onthe Coach Ed Orgeron’s recruiting list. Bowman has maintained tieswith MSU but he plans to visit Ole Miss. In the OMS interview,Bowman said he wouldn’t graduate from Co-Lin until May. Staytuned.

Looking back for a moment, the Co-Lin football team enjoyed itsdays in Brunswick. Their team buses were escorted around the GlynnCounty area by police vehicles.

One of the stops on Co-Lin’s sight-seeing tour was the FederalLaw Enforcement Training Center. Firearms experts gave ademonstration of different weapons. Then some players were allowedto test the guns.

Linebacker Michael Britt, a freshman from Brookhaven (Loyd Star)impressed the instructors with his shooting accuracy. He smackedthe bulls eye several times with a high-powered rifle. Britt is anavid deer hunter so he knows how to handle a gun. Call him TopGun.

Co-Lin coaches and administrators were given courtesy cars touse during their stay in Brunswick. Co-Lin president Dr. HowellGarner was a special guest rider in the Brunswick Christmas paradewhich was held last Saturday morning.

At last Friday night’s awards banquet, players and coaches fromboth teams were recognized. They were presented with commemorativebowl wrist watches.

One of the drivers for the Co-Lin spirit bus was former FranklinCounty principal/teacher Pat Reid who now resides in northernFlorida. The bus changed drivers in Lake City, Fla. Reid proudlyannounced that he was a 1963 Co-Lin graduate and shared how much hewas looking forward to seeing the Wolves play in that bowlgame.

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