Gridiron action fills big weekend

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

With visions of footballs dancing in my head, I staggered off tobed, confident that there would be a game somewhere at sometimetomorrow. On the local scene, fans can catch a full weekend ofgridiron action, either on TV, in person or on the internet. Youcan read about them in The DAILY LEADER.

“Grrrrrr.” Even my faithful yellow lab had his game face on as Idecorated Benton’s daily portion of dry dog food with some leftoverscraps and chicken noodle soup. Yes, it’s worth growling about on afrosty morning in Mississippi.

Football fans are fired up about the Brookhaven Panthers playingfor the MHSAA Class 5A state championship Saturday night inJackson’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Panthers arethe Cinderella team of the 2010 state playoffs, knocking off threefavorites in the last three weeks.

For sure, the Panthers (9-4) face a formidable foe in the WestPoint Mustangs (14-1). West Point is the defending state championand is seeking a seventh crown.

Obviously, Ole Brook is playing its best football of the seasonright now. After a 2-3 start, the Panthers have progressed onoffense and defense.

An overflow crowd, estimated at 5,000 fans, witnessed lastFriday’s thrilling 27-26 win over previously unbeaten West Jones. Acold, northerly win swept across the gridiron at kickoff andcontinued to chill the teams as the temperature plunge. There wasfrost on the goal posts and the end zone pylons in the fourthquarter.

Another large crowd should be present Saturday night to cheerfor the Panthers. They are seeking their first state title since2004 when they captured the 4A crown.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey and his coaching staff andhis players should be congratulated on a great season, no matterwhat happens Saturday night. We’ll see you there and you can readall about it in Sunday’s DAILY LEADER.

Talk about football, the state championship games begin Fridayat 11 a.m. as defending state champion Mount Olive (10-4) meetsDurant (14-0) for the Class 1A title. Calhoun City (15-0) hopes tobeat Lumberton (13-1) in the 2A title game at 3 p.m. and become thefirst team in the Magnolia State to finish 16-0.

The night game, featuring South Panola (14-0) and Meridian(14-0), promises to be a classic. A large crowd is expected for the7 p.m. kickoff.

On Saturday, Forest (14-0) meets Aberdeen (14-1) for the 3Atitle, starting at 11 a.m. In Class 4A, Lafayette County (15-0)tackles North Pike (14-1) at 3 p.m., followed by Brookhaven versusWest Point.

The MHSAA is proud of its state championship week and activelypromotes the games. They will be televised statewide on PBS.

Tickets to the Brookhaven-West Point game are on sale at theBrookhaven central office. They are $12 each in advance and BHSreceives 50 percent of the sales.

Some tailgaters gasped when they heard that they would becharged $25 per vehicle to set up a tent, table or chairs in thestadium parking lot. They can spend Friday night and the cost is$50 for the weekend. The main object is to be compensated for thespace used by recreation vehicles.

Tailgaters are advised to circle the stadium on the north sideand then take a left on West St. to the parking area behind thescoreboard. For more information, contact Tom Cooper at601-507-0904.

In another change, the stadium has received a grant from theHomeland Security Commission to improve security in and around thestadium. Restrictions have been elevated, especially on thesidelines.

No one, other than game officials, players and coaches areallowed on the playing surface. Photographers and writers havelimited access, too.

MHSAA officials said that a representative from HomelandSecurity will be present Friday night to review the securitymeasures. Unfortunately, in this day and time, even some highschool events in Mississippi can be targeted by a terrorist.

Meanwhile, over at Mississippi College in Clinton, the MAISAll-Star Football Game participants are gearing up for a 4 p.m.Friday kickoff in Robinson-Hale Stadium. Brookhaven Academy’sHerbert Davis is directing the South squad. Representing the BACougars in the game are quarterback Chandler Rogers, wide receiverJennings Mills, linebacker Michael Allen Allred and defensive endC.J. Duckworth.

Davis said he wished there were more days to practice. The teamsreported Tuesday. Working with Davis on the South coaching staffare Dalton LeBleau from River Oaks, Paul Hayles of Adams CountyChristian School and Jason Soules of Heidelberg Academy.

The South is loaded with talent. Among the super stars areGiovani Dent of Natchez Trinity and Cody Prewitt of Sylva-Bay. Bothare projected as college stars on defense but their offensiveskills were sensational in high school.

Davis has been involved in several all-star games during hiscareer. This is his fifth in private school and he had one injunior college.

Speaking of junior college, Co-Lin will be represented by fiveplayers in Saturday’s 37th annual Mississippi Association ofCommunity/Junior Colleges All-Star Football Game at Northeast inBooneville. The quintet include center Keith Dee, wide receiverMichael Berry, defensive linemen Jason Catchings and Roland Dampeerand defensive back Terrance Green.

Coach Glenn Davis and his Co-Lin Wolfpack enjoyed a greatseason. They captured the South Division championship and posted a9-2 record. They lost to Gulf Coast in the state title game,falling to the Bulldogs for the second time this season.

Professor Hoopla B.S. was busy decorating the Christmas tree sohe didn’t have much time to review his weekly football forecast.Only a few games remain on the menu as the season winds down.Hoopla predicted the winners of six games last week and got fivecorrect. Special congrats to Delta State for its upset win overNorth Alabama in the NCAA Division II playoffs

Hoopla will share his wisdom on this weekend’s statechampionship games.

Brookhaven vs. West Point: It appears to beanother wild and exciting contest Saturday night as the Panthersprevail by a whisker in the 5A finals. Brookhaven 16-14.

North Pike vs. Lafayette County: Runners-uplast year, Coach Anthony Hart’s Commodores realize a Class 4A crownby defeating the Jaguars. Lafayette 26-14.

In other state title games, South Panola over Meridian 42-24,Forest over Aberdeen 26-6, Durant over Mount Olive 20-12, andLumberton over Calhoun City 28-24.

Delta State at Albany State: Quarterback MicahDavis directs the Statesmen to another Division II playoffs upsetwin, this time in Georgia. Delta State 38-27.

Auburn vs. South Carolina: In another PeachTree State extravaganza, quarterback Cam Newton keeps the Tigersunbeaten in the SEC championship game. Auburn 34-20.

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