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Maroon & White day for Byrd’s baseball signing

Maroon and white balloons decorated the Brookhaven Academylibrary Wednesday. It was a dreary, rainy day outside but there wasa feel-good, warm-all-over feeling within the walls of the privateschool.

Students, friends and family filled the library to capacity.Kolby Byrd, the object of their attention and affection, wassigning a baseball scholarship with Mississippi State University.Grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, teachers andadministrators smiled with approval as Byrd officially planned hisfuture with the MSU Bulldogs.

The soft-spoken Byrd was amazed by all the attention. MSU headbaseball coach John Cohen called to congratulate Byrd. A hush fellover the crowd and all eyes focused on the muscular catcher as heexchanged pleasantries with Cohen.

“Boy, was I nervous,” admitted Byrd. “Talking to Coach Cohen infront of all these people was something.”

Folks feasted on sandwiches, cookies and red cake covered withmaroon-colored icing. “Have some Bulldog cake, Tom,” was theinvitation provided by Paul Jackson.

Byrd’s accomplishments in baseball and football will reachlegendary status as the years roll by. Seriously, he is anexceptional athlete, blessed with strength and quickness, plus asharp mind.

Usually, the leading tackler on the gridiron, Byrd used hisathletic skills to help the Cougars win a third straight District4-AA football championship as a linebacker and running back.However, baseball is his specialty.

A left-handed batter, Byrd can swing the bat with power. Workingat catcher behind the plate, Byrd’s arm strength and pop-time drewthe attention of Major League Baseball scouts.

When MSU hosted a tryout camp for a select group of high schoolprospects in September, Byrd was hurting. He had sustained aseparated shoulder in the Friday night football game. He wasexpected to perform on the diamond the next morning inStarkville.

Obviously, Byrd impressed the coaches again. They made an offerand he accepted.

His parents, Terry and Liz Byrd, were impressed with the MSUbaseball facilities and the campus. Their daughter, Kelli, is asenior at Ole Miss, who made a quite a name for herself in highschool basketball. She is majoring in speech pathology.

Kolby Byrd plans to major in forestry and wildlife management atState. He is projected to do well on the baseball diamond. He alsohas a future in his family’s lumber business when his playing daysare finished.

Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S. is looking forward to theweekend and another busy slate of football games. He predicted thewinners of 19 games and got 13 correct.

Hoopla will kick it off with some Friday night high schoolplayoff games.

Brookhaven at West Jones: Looking to avenge last year’s Class 4Astate playoff loss, the Panthers try to saddle the Mustangs intheir home pasture. Brookhaven 24-21.

Bogue Chitto at Durant: Bobcats make a long road trip and swaptouchdowns for a little while with the powerful Tigers in the Class1A playoffs. Durant 34-19.

Lawrence County at Northeast Jones: Cougars encounter aremarkably strong defense but they manage to eke out a win.Lawrence County 21-14.,

Franklin County at Hazlehurst: Bulldogs find themselves in aClass 3A ambush as the Indians go on the warpath. Hazlehurst31-24.

Columbia at South Pike: Wildcats scratch out a victory inMagnolia. Columbia 17-12.

Before revealing Saturday’s winners, Hoopla wants tocongratulate the Gulf Coast Bulldogs for their resounding 52-7 romppast Pearl River in the MACJC State championship game. The Bulldogs(9-2) will host the Mississippi Bowl, Dec. 7, in Biloxi, against ahigh-ranked opponent.

Mississippi State at Alabama: Still enjoying the overtime win atLSU, the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide will start slow but finish fast.Alabama 42-12.

Louisiana-Monroe at Ole Miss: Known best for their upset ofAlabama last year, the ULM Redhawks will worry the Rebels for alittle while. Ole Miss 27-14.

East Carolina at Southern Miss: Encouraged by their upsetvictory at Central Florida, the Golden Eagles continue flying high.Southern Miss 29-19.

In other Magnolia State action, Jackson State over AlabamaA&M 32-22, Prairie View over Alcorn State 18-6, Arkansas-PineBluff over Valley State 28-17, Millsaps over Birmingham Southern30-14, Mississippi College over Texas-Lutheran 21-10 and Union(Ky.) over Belhaven 17-7. Delta State has an open date to preparefor the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com