Five more great sports moments from 2017
Published 2:39 pm Friday, December 29, 2017
Top 10 lists are dumb. Fifteen is a better number.
After realizing there were way too many great moments in sports in Southwest Mississippi during the past 12 months, we’ve decided to expand Friday’s Top 10 sports list with another five great moments from 2017. Here are five more local sports stories from the past year that made us all proud, in no particular order.
No. 1 — Bogue Chitto wins the 1A softball state title
In the middle of the second week of May, the Lady Bobcats of Bogue Chitto waxed Hamilton in the MHSAA 1A fast-pitch state championship, winning game one 4-3 and game two 6-2.
The moment coach Scott Leggett had prepared for came to fruition when he put the winning medals around the players’ necks after the game, hugging and embracing them as tears streamed down their faces.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world and I’m extremely proud of these girls,” Leggett said. “They definitely deserve this. They don’t know how to quit. They kept fighting and fighting. It was just our year.”
The win gave Bogue Chitto its fourth state championship in fast-pitch softball and their first since 2014.
No. 2 — West Lincoln’s Clark sisters pack the trophy case with tennis titles
Heading into the championship match in May, Kara and Katy Clark of West Lincoln hadn’t lost a doubles tennis match since they were in eighth grade.
That streak culminated in four straight state championships for the sisters, including the 1A-2A state championship this year. They blazed through the competition with ease, never dropping a set on their way to the state championship in doubles play.
The Clark sisters claimed their fourth straight 1A-2A title by defeating Caroline Upchurch and Lauren Williamson from Tupelo Christian Prep in straight sets 6-0, 6-2.
No. 3 — Wesson’s Erich Fischer wins 3A boys singles tennis title
Back in May, Wesson’s Erich Fischer claimed the 3A boys singles state championship in impressive fashion in Oxford.
Fischer plowed through the first three rounds at the tournament without losing a single game against Damien Harbin of Kossuth, Evan Hodum of Alcorn Central and Brant Mullins of Franklin County.
The third seed in the brackets, Fischer won all three of those matches 6-0 to set up a championship match against St. Patrick’s Anthony Schloegal, the top seed in the tournament, who only lost two games in the first three rounds.
“It’s really an unbelievable feeling,” Fischer said. “To win the championship in my last high school tennis match is pretty dang cool. It’s great to have so many people here and in Wesson who supported me the whole way. This is the best day of my life so far.”
No. 4 — Ole Brook’s kicker keeps his brothers in playoff loss
Brookhaven’s football season ended with a playoff loss to Laurel in November, but the year proved to be about more than wins and losses for the Panthers. Kicker Tyler Mixon personified the spirit of determination that carried the Panthers through a difficult season off the field.
With his mind on his two deceased brothers — sweat-brother Jordan Blackwell, a senior linebacker murdered the Sunday before Memorial Day earlier this year in a mass shooting; and blood-brother Cody Mixon, a sophomore teammate who passed away on Oct. 24 — Mixon kicked a perfect game in that final loss.
“I’m praying before every kick. I say, ‘I’m going to do this for my brother Jordan and my brother Cody,’” he said of the two fallen athletes.
He scored half the team’s points, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts while hitting a career-long of 42 yards, and he nailed his only extra point try of the night. For the season, he finished with 10 field goals and 64 extra points and was second on the team in scoring with 94 total points.
“I hope my brothers can be proud of me now,” Mixon said.
No. 5 — Brookhaven native Norlando Veals is SWAC’s top player
Brookhaven’s Norlando Veals, a wide receiver for Alcorn State University, was named the SWAC Player of the Week in November after his breakout performance in the Braves’ 59-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State.
Veals caught nine passes for 253 yards and found the end zone three times, but he gave credit for the award to ASU quarterback Noah Johnson.
“I give my quarterback a lot of props for getting me the ball,” Veals said. “I’m just thankful that he made it happen. I’ve gotten close to player of the week on a couple of occasions but never hit the mark. When I finally got it this week I just smiled.”