Good year for athletic teams

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 28, 2009

This has been a great school year for area athletic teams.

Starting with football and slowpitch softball in early August,coaches, players and fans enthusiastically pursueddistrict/division championships. They tried hard to succeed andreceived lots of community support.

In slowpitch, West Lincoln’s Lady Bears made a strong showing asthey advanced to the Class 1A state championship series in Jacksonbefore being eliminated. Coach Andrew Redd’s Lady Bears should bestrong contenders again this fall.

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In football, where people live and die with the outcome ofFriday night games, there was plenty to cheer about. BrookhavenAcademy won a third straight District 4-AA championship under newhead coach Herbert Davis.

That success helped BA claim a third consecutive Class AAAll-Sports Trophy for the 2008-09 school year.

Brookhaven, Bogue Chitto, Loyd Star and Wesson advanced to thestate football playoffs in their respective classifications. TheBHS Panthers exited in the second round.

Lawrence County, coached by Mike Davis, flexed its footballmuscles and went undefeated in the Region 6-4A football race.Franklin County made another strong run in the Class 3A stateplayoffs, reaching the South State title game where the Bulldogslost to Tylertown.

In basketball, excellence rose to the top as BrookhavenAcademy’s Cougars, coached by Dale Watts, captured a fifthconsecutive Class AA state title. The Lady Cougars finished thirdin state after winning their district crown.

Hazlehurst’s boys made a remarkable run in Class 3A, reachingthe state championship game under coach Robert McDaniel Jr.

Loyd Star’s girls advanced to the Class 2A state playoffs andthe South Mississippi quarterfinals Neighboring Wesson won theDivision 6-2A Tournament and the Lady Cobras were fourth in SouthState, just one win shy of the state tournament.

In soccer, the Franklin County and Brookhaven Academy boys andthe Brookhaven and Wesson girls advanced to the state playoffs.

In fastpitch softball, Loyd Star’s Lady Hornets set a highstandard and made history in winning the Class 2A statechampionship. Coach Jan Delaughter’s team went 31-1-1 and sweptHamilton in the title series.

Neighboring North Pike, coached by Bogue Chitto native SonyaWallace, also enjoyed an outstanding fastpitch campaign. The LadyJags reached the Class 3A state championship series before beingswept by Nettleton.

Baseball saw the Loyd Star Hornets reaching the third round ofthe state playoffs and going 20-10. Lawrence County captured the 4Adivision title and Brookhaven was runner-up. Lawrence County,coached by Cory Keyes, reached the South state semifinals.

At Gallman, the Copiah Academy Colonels made a remarkable rununder head coach Scooter Prince. They lost a best-of-three seriesto Clarksdale Lee in the MPSA Class AA state champinshipfinals.

Overall, area baseball was much improved. Wesson, Enterprise,West Lincoln, Brookhaven Academy, Bogue Chitto, Franklin County andNorth Pike all made the state playoffs. Franklin County advanced tothe second round.

In tennis, Brookhaven Academy’s boys and girls, under thedirection of David Misner, captured the Class AA statechampionships. Ole Brook, coached by Terri Hall, made a strongshowing in Class 4A, reaching the finals of the team championshipbefore losing to Oxford.

In golf, Loyd Star debuted its girls team that participated inthe state tournament. Senior Samantha Guidry was staterunner-up.

Lawrence County captured the Division 6-4A golf crown.Brookhaven Academy sophomore Jennings Mills marched to the Class AAstate crown and won medalist honors in a playoff.

Overall, it was a good year for high school athletics. Whilesome teams whined and underachieved, others stepped up andoverachieved.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College, basketball achievedexceptional success. Both the Wolves and Lady Wolves were statetournament runners-up to Jones County Junior College.

The Lady Wolves reached the Region 23 Tournament title gamebefore losing to East Mississippi.

In softball, Co-Lin’s Lady Wolves authored another exceptionalcampaign. Coached by Allen Kent, they won the state tournament andfinished fourth in the region.

In golf, Co-Lin captured the MACJC Division II state tournament.In tennis, the Co-Lin men’s team tied Hinds for the statetitle.

Feels like summertime in the Deep South.

Judging from the amount of sweat soaking my T-shirt andbluejeans, the thermometer is pushing 90 degrees and the humidityis approaching 100 percent. Mississippians can begin wishing forthose crisp autumn days of late October that seems to be a millionmiles away.

Thank God for air-conditioning.

This is the time of year when folks begin dreaming of vacationsin the mountains. Why someone searching for rest and recreationwould venture south of the Mason-Dixon Line in the summer befuddlesme.

Personally, I’m partial to the mountains when it comes tovacations, or as the Europeans say, “Holiday.” Give me the RockyMountains, the Smokey Mountains and the Adirondacks for aholiday.

Many vacations or holidays are put on hold because families areinvolved in youth baseball and softball leagues. Most of theregular season activity will conclude by the middle of June. Thencome the tournaments and the all-star tournaments. Many of themwon’t begin until after Independence Day, July 4th.

As early as school begins in Mississippi, many WorldSeries-level summer tournaments are going strong in mid August.This makes us wonder aloud, “Whatever happened to school beginningthe Tuesday after Labor Day?”

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