Football fans can see Heroes on Saturday nights

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

It’s the middle of May and football remains a hot topic in Mississippi. Whatever level, either high school, college or NFL, folks like to talk and read about football.

     In Brookhaven and Lincoln County, a new semipro football team is taking shape. The Tri-County Heroes will play a 10-game schedule, starting June 2, with a home date against the Pike County Iron Horse. The Saturday night kickoff is 7 p.m. on Brookhaven High School’s King Field.

     The concession stand will be open so football fans can purchase some refreshing liquids. King’s Daughters Medical Center is the major sponsor for the Heroes. Phil Campbell is one of the coaches who have been recruited to direct the team.

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     The team itself is led by former BHS and Alabama quarterback Jimmy Johns. He will be supported by a host of former greats from this area, plus standouts from Franklin County and Lawrence County. The team has been practicing on Sunday afternoons at the Alexander Junior High field.

     The rest of the Heroes’ schedule finds them visiting the Vipers at Hammond, La., June 9; hosting the Mississippi Stallions June 16,  and the Emerald Coast Scorpions June 23. They play the Delta Blaze at Greenwood June 30 and host the Vipers July 7. They visit the Storm at Clinton on July 14 and host the Delta Blaze July 21.

     Tickets are $6 per game.

     The Iron Horse invades King Field July 28. In the final regular-season game, Tri-County visits the Scorpions at Pensacola, Fla., Aug. 4.

     Saturday night football should be fun and exciting. Getting out of bed on Sunday morning could be a challenge for some of the older players.


     It has been an outstanding high school baseball season for three Lincoln County-based teams: the Brookhaven Panthers, the Brookhaven Academy Cougars and the Enterprise Yellow Jackets. All three of them won their region/district championships and advanced to the state playoffs. Enterprise and BHS enjoyed opening round byes due to their region success.

     Coach Randy Spring’s Ole Brook Panthers won their most-ever regular season games. They posted a 24-6-1 overall record. They lost a best-of-three series to Pearl River Central in the Class 5A state playoffs.

     Brookhaven Academy, coached by Casey Edwards, posted a 20-13 record. The Cougars defeated Wayne Academy and Central Private of Baker, La. in the first two rounds of the Class AA state playoffs. They battled defending state champion Centreville Academy down to the wire, before losing 1-0 in Game 3 of the best-of-three South State championship. The Tigers then roared past Marshall Academy in the state title series.

     Enterprise, coached by Cass Brister, woke up the ghosts of season’s past when they captured the Region 7-2A championship. It was the first region/district title since 1981. The Jackets knocked off Lumberton in their first playoff series and then lost a third game at Clarkdale in the next round.

     Meanwhile, neighboring Wesson made another strong run in the Class 2A state playoffs. Coach Seth Lofton’s Cobras achieved the South State semifinals before losing to defending state champion Taylorsville.

     In Pike County, Parklane Academy asserted itself as a power in the AAA ranks. The Pioneers, coached by Michael Clements, reached the championship series before losing to Madison-Ridgeland Academy.

     Apparently, the level of baseball skill and talent is improving. That’s good news for the coaches, the players and the communities they represent.

     In case you missed it, Glenbrook School of Minden, La., won the MAIS Class A baseball state championship. Glenbrook beat Winona Christian 9-3 in Game 3 of the best-of-three series.

     The MHSAA State Baseball Championships began Wednesday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson. In Class 6A, Madison Central (25-9) played Oak Grove (33-3). Game 2 is Friday at 7 p.m.

     In Class 5A, Hernando (25-8) tackles South champion Pascagoula (21-9) in game 1 today at 7 p.m. Hernando hasn’t been to the state finals since 1992. It’s the first appearance for ‘Goula since 1996.

     In Class 4A, Lewisburg (24-10) plays Purvis (24-4).

     In Class 3A, Kossuth (24-6) meets Southeast Lauderdale (30-6).

     In Class 2A, defending state champion Taylorsville (26-5) faces Bruce (21-9).

     In Class 1A, Greenville St. Joseph (20-1) tackles Nanih Waiya (22-7), the defending state champion.




     Fresh from winning the Gulf South Conference Tournament championship, the   No. 10 nationally ranked Statesmen (40-12) of Delta State University play today in the NCAA Division II South Region Baseball Tournament.  The Statesmen received the No. 2 seed in the tourney, being held May 17-21 at Spartan Field on the campus of No. 1-ranked and top-seeded University of Tampa.

     The 5-day event features three conference champions and five at-large teams capable of claiming the regional crown and advancing to the NCAA DII College World Series.

      “We are very excited to have this opportunity and believe our resume speaks for itself,” Statesmen coach Mike Kinnison said.  “The South Region is one of the toughest in the country and we will have to play at our very best to get out of here with the crown.”

     How tough is it?

     The South Region is the only one in the NCAA Tournament field with eight teams. Game one features DSU versus No. 7 seed North Alabama, the same team the Statesmen downed 4-0 to advance to the Gulf South Conference Championship game.  Game two pits No. 3 seed Lynn versus No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville.

     The opposite side of the bracket places No. 1 seed and region host Tampa, champions of the Sunshine State Conference, versus No. 8 seed Stillman College, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions.  Game four features defending NCAA DII National Champion and No. 4 seed West Florida against No. 5 seed Nova Southeastern.

     The Statesmen are riding high after claiming their record 12th Gulf South Conference title a week ago with a 14-8 victory over the University of Alabama-Huntsville at State Mutual Stadium in Rome, Ga.  DSU went 5-1 at the tournament, including wins over nationally ranked North Alabama and West Florida.

     Delta State is making its 27th appearance all-time in NCAA Division II postseason play, including 24 in the Division II Baseball Tournament.  The Statesmen are 80-52 in NCAA postseason play, including 10 regional titles and the 2004 NCAA DII National Championship.  It’s also the 10th appearance for the Statesmen in regional play under DSU head coach Mike Kinnison (694-213-1/16 seasons).

     The Statesmen last appeared in the 2008 NCAA South Central Regional, advancing to the title game before falling to Ouachita Baptist 8-1 at Ferriss Field on the DSU campus.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: