• 73°

If frogs can fly, West Lincoln can win on gridiron

Yes, my dear, frogs do fly.

     Buy a plane ticket for your favorite amphibian, either first class or coach, and put them on board.  That plane will take the frog wherever he wishes to go.

     Yes, miracles happen every day. For example, West Lincoln does have a winning football team, a 5-4 final record.

     Twenty years from now, when you huddle around that wood pellet-burning heater in the living room, you can tell your grandchildren about West Lincoln’s historic achievement.

     “Well, I remember back in 2012. West Lincoln had its first winning record in football.”

     Twenty years from now, perhaps the Bears will be competing for a state championship in football. Stranger things have happened.

     In the meantime, congratulations to Coach Willie Brumfield, his players and assistant coaches at West Lincoln.  They did a great job this season, bucking the odds and working hard to improve.

     Brumfield came aboard last spring. He moved his family from Ellisville to western Lincoln County. He had been an assistant at South Jones. Early in his coaching career, Brumfield had spent one season at West Lincoln in 2002 before moving to Oak Grove Middle School, where he would be able to pursue a Master’s degree at Southern Miss.

     Although Brumfield didn’t realize much success 10 years ago when the Bears finished 1-10, he felt a special attachment to the community. A 1996 Salem graduate, he stayed in contact with West Lincoln principal Jason Case as the seasons rolled past.

     Chris Calcote, the last West Lincoln coach, resigned after four years at the helm and a 4-37 record. He became athletic director at Franklin County, his high school alma mater.

     Calcote had spent the previous 16 years as AD at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He moved back home and elected to come out of retirement for a change to coach again. He had been the first head coach at Natchez when North and South Natchez consolidated.

     Coaching stability was a phrase intended for the tradition-rich basketball program at West  Lincoln.  Four years with the same football coach was remarkable.

     Upon his arrival on West Lincoln’s campus last spring, Brumfield began preaching a stronger work ethic and dedication to the task of building a football program. His first intention was to ask every male student on campus to play football.

     Enthusiasm for the summer workout regimen grew in leaps and bounds. It carried over to the 2012 campaign. Finally, the players started seeing positive results on the scoreboard.

     After 14 years, football became a fun-filled experience on Friday nights. The stadium lights burned brighter, the players played harder and the fans cheered louder. It felt good to wear a West Lincoln uniform.

     Brumfield has indicated his long-term commitment to West Lincoln. His young daughters attend the school.

     Realistically, this is the first step in a long journey to success. West Lincoln’s 2-year residence as an independent will change dramatically in December. The school expects to be raised to Class 2A by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

     The Bears will face Region 6-2A foes like Enterprise, Loyd Star, Wesson, Amite County, Puckett and powerhouse Madison St. Joe. Meanwhile, Class 1A Bogue Chitto is anxious to play the Bears on an annual basis. It’s a good gate, with a lot of rivalry.

     Bogue Chitto, by the way, is on a state championship quest this year. Coach Gareth Sartin’s Bobcats are unbeaten in nine games, with Region  4-1A tests remaining against St. Aloysius and Dexter.

     Sartin has a strong and talented team. They will host an opening round state playoff game Nov. 9, on Troy Smith Field. Be there or be square.

 

     Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S. is warming up for the playoffs. He flirted with perfection last week, predicting the winners of 24 games and missing only one. Special congrats to Delta State’s Statesmen for their upset win.

     Hoopla begins this week’s preview with a Thursday night community college special.

      Co-Lin at Southwest:  It’s now or never for the Wolfpack. They need a win over their archrivals to make the state playoffs. Co-Lin 24-13.

      Wayne County at Brookhaven:  War Eagles are the kings of Region 3-5A when they invade King Field. They’ll still be on the throne at 9:30 Friday night. Wayne County 28-17.

      Trinity at Brookhaven Academy:  Cougars launch their potent passing attack for District 5-AA title-clinching win over the Saints. Brookhaven 31-14.

      St. Aloysius at Bogue Chitto:  Bobcats flex their muscles as they approach the state playoffs. Bogue Chitto 36-12.

      Amite County at Loyd Star:  In an offensive show, the Trojans put up some big numbers. Amite County 40-21.

      Madison St. Joe at Enterprise:  Expect the unbeaten Bruins to start fast and rest their starters the second half. St. Joe 44-8.

      Puckett at Wesson:  Cobras regroup after losing to St. Joe and claim second place in the Region 6-2A race. Wesson 29-13.

      Lawrence County at Purvis:  If the Cougars didn’t have bad luck, they would have no luck at all. Purvis 21-20.

      Jefferson County at Franklin County:  Bulldogs need a win to secure a Class 3A state playoff berth. Franklin County 17-14.

      Crystal Springs at Hazlehurst: Indians continue their domination of this Copiah County rivalry. Hazlehurst 44-18.

      In other area action,  East Rankin over Copiah Academy 37-17, Jackson Prep over Parklane 28-12, North Pike over South Pike 14-12 and West Jones over McComb 35-22.

     After touring the Bogue Chitto library and huddling with BC Alumni Association officers, Hoopla reveals the winners for Saturday’s collegiate games.

      Mississippi State at Alabama:  Bulldogs will hold a narrow halftime lead before wilting down the stretch. Alabama 30-17.

      Ole Miss vs. Arkansas:  Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium provides the setting for this SEC shootout. Arkansas 27-17.

      Southern Miss at Rice:  Golden Eagles are struggling through a losing season and are desperate for a win. Won’t happen. Rice 21-14.     In other games,  involving Magnolia State institutions of higher learning, Arkansas-Pine Bluff over Valley State 28-10, Delta State over West Alabama 38-24, Mississippi College over East Texas Baptist 37-20, Belhaven over Faulkner 14-7 and Millsaps over Trinity 23-13. Open dates for Jackson State and Alcorn State allow them extra time to promote the basketball program.

 

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