Catching up with some local products at the next levels of athletics
Published 1:39 pm Monday, February 27, 2023
A big part of running the sports page at a small-town newspaper is keeping up with how the folks from your immediate area are doing once they’ve moved on to the next school they’ll play ball at or the next stop on their coaching journey.
It’s something that I try to do in a column from time to time. It’s been called a notebook cleanout or a “where are they now” section in the past. It’s past time for me to run one of these and let me start out by apologizing to some of the folks I might have missed since the last time we checked in on our area alums.
Former Brookhaven Academy standout Gage Posey is the head football coach at Canton Academy. Back in November, Posey and Canton finished a 12-1 season by beating Central Holmes Christian School 47-14 for the MAIS 3A State Championship. The 28-year-old Posey is a combined 22-4 in two seasons at Canton, and he also serves as the head baseball coach at the school. Posey and his CA baseball team recently got a 12-9 win over his alma mater in an early season meeting with BA.
Here’s a look at what some other products of local schools have been up to lately.
The Ole Miss women’s basketball team is having a heck of a season and Brookhaven High alum Snudda Collins is a big part of that. The 6-foot-1, junior forward is averaging 10 points and two rebounds per game for a 22-7 team.
Last week Ole Miss came close to doing something no other team has done this season, beat no.1 ranked South Carolina.
The Gamecocks were able to escape Oxford with a 64-57 win in overtime. Collins played 34 minutes in the loss and scored 11 points, second highest on the team.
Collins played her last high school basketball game in The Pavilion at Ole Miss as BHS lost to Columbus in the 5A state title game her senior year.
She was an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2021 and played in all 32 games last season for an NCAA Tournament team. She scored 15 points in a 78-63 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 26.
Ole Miss has a double bye in the SEC Tournament this week in Greenville, South Carolina. They’ll play a yet to be determined opponent on March 3rd.
If you’re a regular reader of this page, then you might remember the story of Brookhaven High alum Kat Wallace putting her all, or as she calls it — two-cheeks — into being a manager on the Mississippi State softball team last season.
Wallace came to MSU after a decorated career as an infielder at Jones College, where she helped the Bobcats to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament as a sophomore.
The Mississippi State coaching staff saw the way Wallace attacked her tasks as a manager and surprised her after last season with a spot on the 2023 team.
MSU is 11-4 on the young season and Wallace has played in 13 games and drawn seven starts at second base.
In a weekend win over Louisiana Tech in Mobile, Wallace went 3-for-4 at the plate in an 8-4 victory for MSU.
Local fans wanting to see Wallace in action, but hoping to save themself a drive to Starkville, will mark the weekend of April 21 on the calendar. That’s when MSU will travel to Baton Rouge to play LSU in a three-game series.
Another Lincoln County native playing on a diamond shaped field right now in Starkville is baseball pitcher Landon Gartman.
Gartman joined the Bulldogs after pitching last season for the University of Memphis. The Enterprise product struck out eight and walked one last weekend in his first start at MSU, a 9-3 victory over Virginia Military Institute.
On Sunday against Arizona State, Gartman struck out seven in five innings to earn the win for the Bulldogs in the series finale.
South Pike High hasn’t played for a championship in boys’ basketball since 1990. Former Copiah-Lincoln assistant basketball coach Jake Reed has the Eagles one win away from playing for the MHSAA 4A title in his first season.
Reed won multiple state championships as a high school player at Brookhaven Academy. He played collegiately at Co-Lin and William Carey and then came back to his alma mater as an assistant coach for the men’s program at CLCC.
Last season, Reed was an assistant coach for a Clinton High team that won the MHSAA 6A State Championship. Seeking his first head coaching position, Reed took over at South Pike and hit the ground running with a senior laden team this season.
The Eagles play in a stacked region with perennial 4A title contenders Lanier High and Raymond High. South Pike started the playoffs off with a 49-42 win at Pass Christian. They then went on the road and won 43-39 at Quitman High.
On Wednesday at Pearl River CC, Reed and his team met Lanier for a third time this season in the 4A Quarterfinals. After splitting the regular season matchups, South Pike punched a ticket to the Big House aka the Mississippi Coliseum with a 35-31 victory against Lanier.
South Pike will match up with Yazoo City (28-5) in the semi-finals on Monday at 7 p.m. YC has a Co-Lin basketball signee on its roster in point guard Will Grayson.
When Reed was coaching at Co-Lin, he and former head coach Kenny Bizot did a great job of taking in student coaches who had an interest in pursuing a career in basketball.
One of those former CLCC student assistants is current Salem head coach Tanner Allen. Another is current Southern Mississippi graduate assistant Landon Lewis.
Lewis has also spent time working with the Pearl River CC basketball team during his career and this season he’s gotten a front row seat in helping coach one of the best stories in all of college basketball.
Last year Southern Miss, finished 7-26 overall and had a team that lacked much chemistry or cohesion. USM head coach Jay Ladner remade his roster and much of his coaching staff.
The new-look Eagles started the year out hot and have kept that same energy by putting together a 25-6 record. The team clinched the regular season Sunbelt championship by beating Texas State in the regular season finale on Friday.
A graduate of Wesson Attendance Center, Lewis has had a memorable season working alongside Ladner and his staff to revive Southern Miss basketball.
When the annual Gridiron football magazine is published later this year, former Brookhaven High tight end KD Wells will again be featured on the page that highlights area alums at the next level.
He’ll be wearing a different jersey in the pic this year though, as well recently signed to play at New Mexico State University.
Wells signed with Alcorn State in 2020 and was part of that program for a couple of years, before transferring to play last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The 6-foot-2 Wells is joining a team in Las Cruces, New Mexico that has tons of momentum. The Aggies finished 7-6 last season under first year head coach Jerry Kill.
The winning season last year for NMSU was just the second winning campaign in the last 20 years for the school.
Former Wesson and Copiah-Lincoln wide receiver Koy McFarland has hitched his wagon to the defensive side of the ball since becoming a football coach.
The son of Co-Lin offensive line coach Robert McFarland, he played at the University of Arkansas-Monticello after graduating from Co-Lin.
From there, McFarland began his climb up the ladder at Louisiana Tech during a time when his dad was the O-Line coach under Skip Holtz.
McFarland later coached as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State for three seasons with the defense. When Ohio State hired OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles away to run the Buckeye’s defense, he brought McFarland to Columbus with him as the GA in charge of linebackers.
Kevin Wilson, the new head coach at The University of Tulsa, knew McFarland from his recent stint at Ohio State as the offensive coordinator. When Wilson was hired at Tulsa, he brought on McFarland as a full-time staffer to coach the Golden Hurricane linebackers.
Cliff Furr is the sports editor at The Daily Leader. He can be reached via email at email@example.com