Notebook: Memorial Stadium a house of horrors for Wildcats

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – For the third time in four years, the Calhoun City High football team left Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on the short end of a state championship game.
With Friday afternoon’s 26-24 loss to Lumberton in the Class 2A state title game, the Wildcats have lost their last three state championship appearances by a combined 15 points.
Calhoun City lost to Puckett 25-21 in the 2008 Class 1A championship game and East Marion defeated the Wildcats 36-27 in the 2A title game in 2006.
The Wildcats only title came in 1989, away from Memorial Stadium, when they beat Bay Springs 28-14.
Calhoun City lost in the 2A finals in ’94 and ’95.
“We’d rather be here than not be here,” Calhoun City head coach Perry Liles said before entering his team’s locker room after Friday’s game. “I’m very proud of our kids. They played hard.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but it was a great game and everybody got their money’s worth.”
On a side note, Lumberton also defeated Calhoun City in the 1983 Class BB state championship game, 27-14.
Toughing it out
Calhoun City quarterback J.R. Jennings played in Friday’s game with a hip pointer and a sore knee.
The senior still led his team back from a 17-point deficit against Lumbertown with three touchdown passes.
“He’s had that all week,” Liles said of Jennings’ hip pointer, “and he hurt his knee a little bit, but he still played hard.
“There’s no excuses, and we laid it on the line and we just lost the game. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Even though his team lost, a couple of South Panola High players – who were waiting to warm up before their Friday night Class 6A championship game against Meridian – went over to congratulate Jennings on his valiant effort.
“We’re friends,” a teary-eyed Jennings said of the South Panola players he will be teaming up with in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star game on Dec. 18 in Gulfport.
A big leg
Calhoun City kicker Raheem Roberson certainly uses his size to his advantage.
The junior, who is listed as 5-foot-10, 270 pounds, kicked a 22-yard field goal and three extra points in Friday’s game against Lumberton.
Roberson wears a special kicking shoe with a straight, square toe that costs around $150. Since he also plays offensive guard and defensive end and that kicking shoe is awfully expensive, Roberson had to come out of games to change cleats so that he doesn’t ruin that special shoe.
The cousin of former Mississippi State player Kendall Robertson also happens to be a standout in other sports. He is a member of Calhoun City’s powerlifting team and is one of the Wildcat baseball team’s best pitchers.
Extra points
The Lafayette High football team was on hand for the Class 2A state championship game on Friday afternoon. … Doing the color commentary for Mississippi Public Broadcasting is former Shannon High and Ole Miss standout Romaro Miller. … Durant running back Cortez Frizell fell one touchdown short of tying Dicenzo Miller of Weir for the most touchdowns in a season (47).
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or

Click video to hear audio