Bogue Chitto 11-0 & No. 1
Published 9:00 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
BOGUE CHITTO – Football players dart in and out of the coach’s office located in the Bogue Chitto field house. There is a table laden with after-school snacks. They usually choose chips or honey buns from the array of food.
Most of them exchange pleasantries with Bogue Chitto head coach Gareth Sartin and assistant coaches Chad Norton and Adam Moak. It is a relaxed, buffet-like atmosphere; completely contrary to the high intensity level displayed on Friday nights when the lights come on at Troy Smith Field.
Sartin’s Bobcats are enjoying their greatest-ever season. They are unbeaten in 11 games and ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Prep Poll of Class 1A teams.
West Lowndes invades Bogue Chitto tomorrow night for the opening round of the state playoffs. Obviously, the Bobcats have a state championship on their minds.
“It’s hard to go undefeated,” mused Sartin, reflecting on the campaign. “We were lucky sometimes. Good players help you win.”
Sartin is in his 10th year at the BC helm. That’s a long time for any high school coach to stick with one job. He credits administrative and community support as two keys to his success.
Sartin quickly points to his assistant coaches, Chad Norton and Adam Moak. “They have put in a lot of long hours in our program. They have made our defense a lot better and that’s one of the main reasons for our success this season.”
Sartin graduated from Dexter and later played for Mississippi State. Football runs deep in his family. His father, Bill Sartin, has provided an extra set of eyes and a wealth of football knowledge this season, looking down from the press box.
“He gives us a view from above.”
There are five seniors on the BC squad and all of them start, either on offense or defense. Several play on both sides of the football. They are wide receivers Brandon Wells and Germie Martin, tailback/defensive end James Blackwell, cornerback Jimmy McNulty and fullback Robert Bonds.
Martin wears dark-rimmed glasses and smiles brightly. His 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash has made him a major college prospect.
“I’ve been dreaming about this season since I was in grade school,” said Martin. “We are a powerhouse. We are a little cocky sometimes but we can back it up.”
Wells is another speedster (4.4) for the Bobcats who can play quarterback, running back or wide receiver. He has made a verbal commitment to sign with Mississippi State and could wind up as a defensive back in college.
Martin and Wells are primary targets for junior quarterback Brock Roberts.
Blackwell, nicknamed “Piero,” excels on both sides of the football. His twin brothers, Jeremy and Jermaine, are juniors who anchor BC’s line on offense and play linebacker on defense.
“I like defense best,” said James Blackwell. “We start talking to the other team and it gets offensive. We get fired up.
“We have had a good season but we want more. Hard work can win state for us.”
McNulty, gold earrings shining in both lobes, said he believes in a strong work ethic, too. “We try to get better every day. If we play like we are supposed to, we can win state.”
Bonds said the Bobcats are versatile. “We can run and throw the ball on offense. Last summer I was looking for us to have a good season.”
Neither the Bobcats nor their fans have been disappointed thus far. Standing between them and a coveted state title are four playoff victories during the next four Fridays.
Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S. is trying to make it to Thanksgiving Day. He loves to feast on turkey.
Hoopla nearly choked on his list of predictions last week. He previewed the winners of 21 games and managed to get 13 right. Four area teams made a first round exit from the playoffs.
He’ll start this weekend’s fearless forecast with some Friday night playoff games.
Brookhaven at Picayune: Panthers need an enormous effort similar to their showing against Wayne County two weeks ago. Otherwise, it could be a long night. Picayune 28-17.
West Lowndes at Bogue Chitto: Bobcats made the most of a home field advantage in the opening round. Bogue Chitto 30-14.
Lamar at Brookhaven Academy: The giant killers upset Centreville Academy last week. Can they do it again? Almost. Brookhaven Academy 28-21.
Hazlehurst at Sumrall: Undefeated Indians must beware of an ambush in Lamar County. Hazlehurst 30-20.
McComb at Pearl River Central: Tigers have difficulty dealing with the Blue Devils. PRC 33-18.
In other area action, Noxapater over Dexter, Stringer over Nanih Waiya and Pelahatchie over Natchez Cathedral.
Hoopla begins Saturday’s menu with the MACJC State Championship game at picturesque Perkinston.
Co-Lin at Gulf Coast: Expect the Wolfpack to make a much better showing than last time’s encounter with the powerful Bulldogs. Gulf Coast 34-17.
Mississippi State at LSU: The SEC West heavyweights are taking their toll on the reeling Bulldogs. LSU 32-12.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss: Both teams have postseason bowl expectations. Rebels by a whisker. Ole Miss 21-17.
Southern Miss at SMU: There is no joy in Hattiesburg as the Golden Eagles remain winless in 10 games. SMU 42-19.
Alabama A&M at Jackson State: Tigers are making a late-season run at a SWAC championship. JSU 32-23.
In other Magnolia State action, Texas Southern over Alcorn State 28-14, Delta State over Shorter 17-14, Millsaps over Birmingham Southern 31-21, Mary Hardin-Baylor over Miss. College 36-17 and Belhaven over Bethel 20-10. Valley State has an open date to savor its big win over Alcorn.
Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: email@example.com