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Tri-County heroes revive glory days

Tri-County’s Heroes conjure up memories of the glorious past. When we say glorious past, that’s less than 10 years ago when these young men provided plenty of heroics and sparkled on the football field.

     Quarterback Jimmy Johns is about eight years removed from directing the Ole Brook Panthers to the 2004 Class 4A state championship. Johns was Mr. Football in the Magnolia State, the smiling, muscular hero of  every youngster and the good friend of every adult in Lincoln County.

     Johns and the rest of the Tri-County heroes are about nine days away from awakening the ghosts of seasons past on King Field. They’ll make their 2012 debut Saturday night, June 2, hosting the Pike County IronHorse . Kickoff is 7 p.m.

     Many members of the Tri-County team are familiar faces with familiar names. Most of them are from either from Lincoln, Lawrence or Franklin Counties.

     Johns and Maurice Townsend are listed as quarterbacks. They could play other positions, too. Johns was projected as a linebacker for his senior year at Alabama after playing quarterback and running back, first for Mike Shula and then for Nick Saban.

     Ronnie McNulty was an elusive running back for those 2004 Panthers. Other runners on the roster are Michael Loving, Keith Johnson, Montrall Smith and Kynshon Reese.

     Wide receivers are Fred Fuller of Hazlehurst, Chris King, Justin Durr, Damon Carroll, Darryl Jackson and Leo Garrett.

     Working in the offensive line are Michael Thrasher, Joshua Cheramie, Mark Jones, T.J. McNulty, Zack Ray, Kris McGruder and Robert Hall. Defensive linemen Charles Peters, Willie Quarles, Bo Tillman, Jazzman Guy and Joseph Owens. They could see action on both sides of the football.

     At linebacker are Mike Hunt, Marcus Smith, Jeffery Newton and John Campbell. Cornerbacks include Anthony Caffie, Roy Howard, Chris Seals and Darius Perkins.

     In the secondary are Courtney Hall and Morero McCoy at strong safety and Richard Kelly and Travon Thomas at free safety.

     There are two punter/placekickers on the team in Ryan Weaver and Dewey Stailey.

     The coaching staff is led by Phil Campbell, Chief Operations Officer at KDMC. Assistant coaches are Everett Brown, offensive coordinator; and Butch Ayers, special teams.


     In case you missed it department. Natchez Cathedra’s Lady Green Wave almost won the MHSAA Class 1A State Fastpitch Softball Championship last weekend at Freedom Park in Ridgeland, beating Smithville 5-2 in Game 1 before the Lady Seminoles rebounded. Senior pitcher Ginny Daggett hurled the victory for the Green Wave, which finished its season 22-8-1.

     Region rival Bogue Chitto had won the last two 1A titles so Cathedral was trying to keep the championship in the neighborhood. By contrast, Smithville (23-10) literally rose from the ashes and beat Cathedral 2-0 and 7-2 as Megan Whitehead (17-4) won both games.

     For sure, any type of victory in Smithville is reason for celebration. The little community in northeast Mississippi was nearly wiped off the face of the earth by last April’s devastating tornado. Smithville’s high school was destroyed.

     In other fastpitch championships, Madison Central swept Harrison Central for the Class 6A crown, winning a third straight crown. Wayne County edged New Hope 4-3 as the Lady War Eagles (22-9-1) captured a third straight Class 5A title.

     In Class 4A, Houston beat Newton County 5-3 in the Game 2 for a sweep. In Class 3A, St. Patrick knocked off 2-time defending state champion Nettleton 6-2.      In Class 2A, Clarkdale bounced back from a Game 1 loss  to beat  Hatley 5-2 and 2-0. It was the third fastpitch title for Clarkdale (29-3). The Lady Bulldogs also own seven slowpitch crowns.


     In the state baseball championships at Smith-Wills Stadium, Oak Grove swept Madison Central for the 6A state title. Pascagoula claimed the 5A crown with a 9-6 win over Hernando in Game 3.

     In Class 4A, the Purvis Tornadoes edged Louisburg 4-3 Wednesday in the rain-delayed Game 3. The Tornados finish 26-5 and claim their third state title. Lewisburg (25-12), a 5-year-old school based in Desoto County, can dream of what might have been.

     In Class 3A, Southeast Lauderdale beat Kossuth 6=3 for its first state title in 46 years. The Tigers finish 32-7. Kossuth ends at 25-8.

     In Class 2A, Bruce swept defending state championship Taylorsville. The Trojans (23-9) beat Taylorsville 7-3 in the decisive Game 2.

     In Class 1A, Nanih Waiya made a successful state title defense, beating Greenville St. Joseph 9-8 in Game 3.


     NASCAR is celebrating a Red, White & Blue Memorial Day Weekend as part of its “NASCAR Unites–An American Salute.” It all starts with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is part of a 6-week NASCAR initiative to show patriotic support for America and U.S. military families.

     NASCAR racing teams are creating red, white & blue color print schemes for their racing vehicles. Looking ahead, the Coke Zero 400 will be held on Independence Day Weekend.

     As we celebrate Memorial Day, hug a military veteran this weekend and tell them, “Thank you,” for their service to our country.

     Also, pray that God continues to bless and watch over the good ol’ USA.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com