Blue Devils’ hoops team patiently awaits footballers

Entering his third game of the season, Booneville boys basketball coach Michael Smith was missing six players from his team on Monday night.
The reason? Those six guys are still playing football.
Centers Bo Brown and Shaquille Prather, guards Jerion Jones, Tre Welch and Grant Vandiver, as well as guard-forward Bryson Beene, will be in Friday’s MHSAA Class 3A football semifinal game against Aberdeen.
“They’re three that started last year,” Smith said of his players still with the football team. “We’ve been playing a lot of young kids – freshmen and sophomores right now.”
Those young kids and the rest of the Booneville hoops team split their first two games of the season; they beat Saltillo but lost to New Site in the championship game of last week’s New Site Invitational Tournament.
Brown, a running back/linebacker, led the Blue Devils in rebounding last year. “What we’re missing right now is what he gives us: a post presence,” Smith said of the senior.
The Booneville hoops coach said his roster is a lot deeper this year. Even when the football players rejoin the team, it’s still going to take a while for them to get adjusted.
If the Blue Devils football team wins its semifinal Friday, the six players’ first basketball game of the season will probably be a division game at Corinth on Dec. 8 due to the state championship game being held on Dec. 5.
If the football team loses, their first game will likely be the division opener against Belmont on Dec. 4.
“Kind of after Christmas will be the time frame to get them where we need to be,”Smith said. Possibly, we’ll have only one practice before we play them. We have to be realistic and patient.”
But Smith is all for those six guys playing football late into November and possibly through the first weekend of December.
“You want to have everyone out there,” Smith said, “but at the same time they’re doing a really special thing in football.
“I want them to have success in football. … We just want them to do well and hopefully win it.”

John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal