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Soccer teams make the best of cold weather

High school soccer fields have resembled the frozen tundra ofCanada the last two weeks. You can’t help but admire the mentaltoughness, determination and fortitude of these teenage boys andgirls who play soccer. Most of them wear shorts, no matter how coldit gets.

The competition is fierce in freezing temperatures on frozenfields. Those summertime bumps and bruises feel like bullet woundswhen the temperature is 32 degrees or lower.

OUCH! It hurts to get hit by an elbow or knee, much less theball when it caroms off your head.

Such is the price that Mississippi high school soccer devoteesmust pay. For most of them, the season begins in early November andruns through January. If you follow the weather patterns inDecember or this month, it’s either raining or freezing.

Please pass the hot coffee.

The soccer playoffs kick off Tuesday and a few area teams areadvancing. Franklin County’s boys are the Class 1A-2A-3A divisionchampions and will host a playoff game next Tuesday. The Bulldogsdrew plenty of support when they played on their new field locatedin Bude. The facility is adjacent to the FCHS baseball field, whichis known better as The Swamp.

The Franklin County girls also have reached the playoffs, ashave the Brookhaven girls who were runners-up to Florence in theClass 4A division. The Lady Panthers are tentatively scheduled toplay at Long Beach next Tuesday.

Brookhaven Academy’s boys have played well this winter and arelooking forward to the Class AA state playoffs. The MississippiPrivate School Association plays girls soccer in the late summerand fall.

The BA Cougars clinched the District 4-AA title with a 3-0shutout of Copiah Academy. The champs are coached by Josh Dixon andClyde Sbravati. They will host a state playoff game Feb. 10, onR.M. “Red” Stuard Field.

While we shiver and wish for warmer days bathed with sunshine,the Junior Wolfpack Championship at the Wolf Hollow Golf Club isfast approaching. It will be held Feb. 7-8.

Age divisions are 12-13, 14-15, 16-18 and 19-22. There will betwo younger divisions: 9 and under and 10-11, that will play 9holes each day.

Entrance fee is $60 for the older divisions and will feature 18holes each day. The younger, 9-hole entry fee is $40.

The entry fee covers several items. It includes a practice roundfor player and parent on Friday, Feb. 6; a tournament gift for eachplayer, a warmup bag of golf balls on Saturday and Sunday, and golfshop prizes for winners.

Spectator carts will be available on a first-come, fist-servebasis.

For more information, contact Wolf Hollow PGA pro Ronny Ross at(601) 643-8779 or e-mail ronny.ross@colin.edu

The Feb. 4, national signing date is fast approaching for highschool football stars. There are no players in Lincoln Countysigning major college scholarships but there are a few in thearea.

At Lawrence County, running back Kendrick Hardy has announcedhis intentions to sign with Southern Miss, following in thefootsteps of his older brother, Wayne, who was a fullback andlinebacker for the Golden Eagles, 2003-06.

At Franklin County, quarterback/safety Jamie Collins andDB/running back Alex Smith have made verbal commitments to signwith Southern Miss. Collins had made an early commitment to signwith Auburn until Tommy Tuberville resigned under pressure.

Defensive end Bo Tillman, a member of Franklin County’s 2006state runner-up team, has enrolled at Ole Miss after attending aprep school in Jackson to improve his grades. He will join hisbrother, senior defensive end Marcus Tillman, on the Ole Misssquad.

In 10 years, Tuberville had a remarkable record of 85 wins and40 losses. That’s an average of 8.5 wins per year.

His Iron Bowl record was an impressive 7-3 but he lost 36-zip tothen top-ranked Alabama in November. The Tigers finished 5-7 andTuberville felt the heat. He had beaten Alabama for six straightyears.

Unsatisfied Auburn alumni were willing to buy out the remainingyears of his multi-million dollar contract.

Gene Chizik, an Auburn alumnus, was lured away from Iowa Stateand replaced Tuberville at the helm. The 46-year-old Chizik was5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State after successful stints runningthe defenses at Auburn and Texas. He coached the nation’s topscoring defense on a 2004 Auburn team that went 13-0 in his thirdand final season with the Tigers before taking the same job atTexas.

Time will tell how wise a move the Auburn administration made.College football coaches receive million dollar-plus contracts butthe pressure to win in enormous.

Personally speaking, college coaching salaries and theunreasonably high expectations football fans have for theirfavorite teams have surpassed absurdity.

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