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AAFF to recognize local player, coaches

Football players and coaches with Lincoln County ties will beamong the honorees Monday night, Feb. 15, at the All-AmericanFootball Foundation’s 103rd Banquet of Champions. BrookhavenAcademy head coach Herbert Davis, the late Coach John King ofBrookhaven High School and former BHS, Ole Miss and NFL star Ralph”Catfish” Smith will be recognized. The reception begins at 6 p.m.,at the Jackson Hilton Hotel, followed by the dinner/banquet at6:45.

According to AAFF Executive Director Jimmie (Mississippi Red)McDowell, reservations are still available. They can be made bycontacting McDowell at 601-206-8877. Tickets are $125 each. Tablesof 10 are available for groups.

This year’s banquet is dedicated to the 1960 Ole Miss Sugar BowlNational Championship Team. Hotty-toddy!

Davis is fresh from directing the BA Cougars to a perfect 15-0record and the 2009 MAIS Class AA State Championship. Certainly, itwas a Cinderella season for the Cougars and they continue to enjoythe benefits.

The BHS football field is named in honor of King who coached thePanthers in the early 1930s. McDowell recalls a humorous situationwhen King was lecturing his team on the pitfalls of smokingtobacco.

“Coach King gathered his team together before practice and toldthem he didn’t want them acting like drug store cowboys and buyingthose store-bought cigarettes.

“Dave Maddox, a fifth team reserve who recently passed away, was inthe back of the group when he asked King, “How about if we roll ourown (cigarettes)?”

His son, John King Jr., of Clinton will accept the President GeraldR. Ford All-American High School Coach Award. Davis, Buck Cameronof Laurel and Will Glover of Pearl are the other recipients.

Smith starred for the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefsafter an All-American career at Ole Miss. He was a MississippiSports Hall of Fame inductee a few years ago. He will be presentedthe Charlie Connerly Outstanding Pro Football Player Award.

Monday night’s banquet will have a distinct Ole Miss flavor. The50-Year All-American Award will go to former Ole Miss stars CharlesFlowers and Marvin Terrell.

Lawrence County’s Football Banquet always leaves me with a goodfeeling. LCHS head football coach Mike Davis makes it a specialevent for his players and their families. A crowd estimated atnearly 200 filled the Thames Center banquet room last Thursdaynight to see the Cougars honored.

Davis began the evening with a Best-Dressed Award, recognizing themost debonair football player. It’s a light-hearted moment beforethe delicious meal is served.

Near the conclusion of the banquet, Davis seated his 16 seniormembers of the team at the front of the room and allowed them totake turns speaking to the crowd. The majority of them were sincereand well-spoken as they thanked God, their teammates and theirparents for supporting them during their varsity careers.

Some of the seniors’ comments brought tears to the eyes of thelisteners as they opened their hearts. Others brought a twist ofhumor to the open mike and that evoked laughter. Obviously, theCougars are a closely-knit team.

Davis lined up a group of underclassmen to share their opinions andthoughts about the seniors. They thanked them for providingleadership and camaraderie. It was a good feeling all around.

High school football is the heart and soul of towns and communitiesin Mississippi. Folks live to enjoy the Friday night lights. That’sanother good reason schools should have a football banquet,separate for the other sports. Don’t wait until May to celebratethe gridiron sport with the other athletic teams.

Basketball fans are asked to wear pink tonight when the Ole MissLady Rebels entertain nationally-ranked Tennessee in Oxford. It’spart of a unified movement by the Women’s Basketball CoachesAssociation to raise breast cancer awareness across the nation.Tipoff is 8 p.m. at the Tad Pad.

The Lady Rebels (15-8, 6-4) are fresh from a 102-101triple-overtime victory at LSU. Nikki Byrd, a 6-foot sophomore fromBrookhaven, accounted for 12 points and 11 rebounds in thevictory.

All-SEC guard Bianca Thomas scored a team-high 29 points and sackedfour treys as the Rebels won in Baton Rouge for the first timesince 1994. Teammate Elizabeth Robinson had a career-high 25 pointsand Kayla Melson finished with a double-double, collecting 20points and 10 assists.

Coach Sharon Ladner’s team will need a super effort againstTennessee’s Lady Vols (21-2, 9-1) who have won 17 straight meetingsbetween the two teams.

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