Throng ready to run at Pontotoc

Pontotoc’s Longbow Trails will be the high school cross country place to be Saturday morning.
More than 600 runners, representing 25 schools, will be there to compete in the annual Pontotoc Cross Country Invitational.
Included in the elite field are the following 2008 state champions: Tupelo’s boys and girls (5A), Saltillo’s girls (4A) and Myrtle’s girls (1A).
Race director and Pontotoc coach Mike Bain says awards will be given to runners in all six classes.
“It’s going to be a very competitive meet,” he said. “We’ve got potential state champions in every class.”
Here are the entry breakdowns by class for the meet: (6A) Columbus, Tupelo; (5A) New Hope, Oxford, Saltillo; (4A) Caledonia, Houston, Itawamba AHS, Lafayette County, New Albany, North Pontotoc, Pontotoc, Senatobia, Tishomingo County; (3A) Mooreville, Ripley, South Pontotoc; (2A) East Union, East Webster, Mantachie; (1A) French Camp, Myrtle, Potts Camp, Tremont, Tupelo Christian Prep.
The varsity girls 4K race is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the varsity boys 5K to follow at 10:30. The junior boys and girls races are scheduled for 9 and 9:30 while the JV boys and girls will run together at 11.

Rare open date
– Chad Cook wasn’t quite sure how to handle an open date on his Shannon Red Raiders’ schedule.
“You never know how kids will respond coming off a break,” Shannon’s football coach said.
Shannon, out of the gate at 2-0 after wins against West Point and Memphis East, took last week off.
“We were playing pretty well,” Cook said. “We were making mistakes, but we were playing so hard. Win, lose or draw we laid it on the line.”
Shannon used its off week to get some “banged up” varsity players well and give the junior varsity team some more attention. “The varsity had a chance to get the soreness out,” Cook said.
Running back Keon McGaughy leads the Red Raiders with 501 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The two-quarterback system featuring Legilbert Bogan and Jake Scott has produced 391 yards and six TDs.
Shannon returns to action Friday with a home game against 1-1 Corinth.

Winning works wonders
– Winning’s not everything, but it doesn’t hurt. Just ask TCPS football coach Aubrey Boren, whose Eagles defeated H.W. Byers last Friday, 39-20, for their first win.
“I hate to say it, but one way you gauge success is by a win,” Boren said. “It’s a payoff for all the hard work. You want (the players) to have that.”
TCPS, a 1A independent, visits 2A Greenville O’Bannon, a 2A this week. Both are 1-2.
“They’re big and they run the I-formation,” Boren said. “They’ve got a big, strong fullback and they give it to him. Nothing fancy, they’re going to hit you in the mouth with a running game.”

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio