Hall finds recruiting hassle good problem to have
Amory tight end Rufus French, who has just had Parade All-America added to his long list of honors, cancelled a trip to Notre Dame, not because he didn’t want to go, but because of the weather conditions, coach Bobby Hall said.
French, the top tight end prospect in the U.S., has been the main focus of a recruiting frenzy that had infected the school. Two of the four atheletes still in the Division I hunt have already committed. Linebacker Reggie Smith and record setting-running back Joe Gunn (2,602 yards in a season) have picked Ole Miss.
French says he will end speculation Monday. Defensive lineman Darius “Boone” Brown should follow soon.
The coaching parade that was filtered through Amory in the past few weeks has crowded the timetable for the coach, “all day long, every day,” Hall said, “but I’m not complaining.”
He can’t. That is one of the prices for going 30-0 in two seasons.
Hall predicts another recruiting hassle next season with four players, or more. It will be hard for them to match the attention of this class, but offensive linemen Sam Gregg (6-5, 280) and Justin Markham (6-3, 275) and defensive ends Lennie Adams (6-3, 215) and Gerald Tubbs (6-5, 220) will have a chance to take over from a remarkable senior class.
Hall is looking forward to more hassle.
Measuring for No. 1: The longest winning streak in the area has to be the 20-game streak by the Oxford girls (23-1), who beat the state’s No. 1 Harrison Central girls Sunday at Ole Miss. Ironically Oxford is No. 4 and Central (17-2) still No. 1 in the latest AP poll.
A freshman, Meg Banahan was the leading scorer for the Lady Chargers with 16 points.
“She doesn’t play like a freshman,” coach Jeff Nelson said. “She is playing on pure desire. I haven’t had time to teach her anything. I just brought her up from the freshman team. But she has told me that playing her against Lynndy Fitts and Nicki Johnson everyday in practice has really helped her.”
As a measure of how tough playing against Johnson is, Nelson said Johnson holding Harrison Central’s Tiffany Travis who had 20 points may have been why Oxford won it’s 20th straight.
“Travis is a scoring machine. She had 40 points against Biloxi the week before,” Nelson said. “Defense was the difference.”
When The Lady Chargers play at No. 5 Baldwyn, it will wrap up a tough week that has included wins over the area’s No. 9 Tishomingo County, Harrison Central and No. 4 Lafayette. Nelson said that was intended to give the girls a taste of tournament conditions.
Paying dues: Banahan isn’t the only youngster carrying a big load. The extreme may be the Ingomar boys, who at times have three sophomores and two freshmen, Trent Adair and Willie Siddell, paying their dues on the court. The youngsters held their own against the No. 2 Alcorn Central boys during the New Albany Hot Bed Classic Saturday until experience won out. But the kids never lost poise. That promises a bright future as Ingomar struggles at 10-17.
Tight Races: This year several divisions are going to have more than their normal share of stout second and third teams playing to survive of the other side of the tournament bracket.
Look at Class 1-4A. There are three boys teams battling for playoff berth in that tournament with Oxford (17-4), Alcorn Central (21-4) and Lafayette (13-9). Ditto the girls, with Oxford, Alcorn Central (22-3) and 17-5 Lafayette; and throw tournament host Tishomingo (16-5) into the mix.
How about Division 1-3A boys: New Albany (22-2), Shannon (21-3) and Corinth (19-6)? Or Division 1-2A girls: Hatley (21-3), Baldwyn (20-4) and Nettleton (12-5); Division 2-2A boys: Ashland (17-3), Potts Camp: East Union (14-10) and the mysterious Calhoun City Boys, whose 5-7 overall records hides a 4-1 division record.
There is a double triple-threat in Division 2-1A with Myrtle (25-4), West Union (17-8) and late blooming Falkner (13-7) in boys and Hickory Flat (18-5), West Union (19-4) and Myrtle (16-9) in girls.