The annual Pontotoc Cross Country Invitational steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday at Longbow Trails on Black Zion Road.
PHS coach Mike Bain has lined up an impressive field that includes his Warriors and Lady Warriors, Tupelo, Alcorn Central, Amory, Corinth, East Union, Fairview Junior High, French Camp, Hickory Flat, Houston, Itawamba AHS, Mantachie, Mooreville, New Albany, North Pontotoc, Oxford, Potts Camp, Saltillo, Senatobia, South Pontotoc, Tupelo Christian Prep, Tishomingo County, Tremont and West Union.
The competition begins with the junior high races, followed by the high school varsity races, which have been divided into two classes: 1A-2A-3A and 4A-5A-6A.
The Pontotoc meet is the first off three consecutive Saturdays of Northeast Mississippi cross country competition. Next week is the annual Saltillo Invitational, which is followed Sept. 24 with the Tupelo Invitational.
"That's three very competitive meets in a row," Bain said. "It doesn't get any easier, but that's the only way to get better."
Saltillo's Chase Watson continues to lead state
Saltillo QB Chase Watson remains the state's leading passer, according to statistics reported to MaxPreps, through three weeks of the 2011 season.
Watson, who directed the Tigers to their first victory last week - 26-23 over Baldwyn - has completed 47 of 97 passes for 919 yards, six TD and four INT.
The two top receivers are - surprise, surprise - from Saltillo: Jalen Gaston, 13 catches, 389 yards, four TD, and A.J. Rye, 14 catches, 372 yards, two TD.
Pontotoc RB Deonte Dilworth is sixth in the state in rushing with 487 yards on 54 carries and two TD.
On defense, New Albany LB Riley Alef is eighth in the state in tackles with 42. According to Tupelo's statistics, LB Ladarius Watkins has recorded 35 tackles in three games. He had 10 stops against Starkville.
Tupelo transfer shines in Saltillo's big victory
While he may not know how to spell his player's first name, Saltillo High head football coach Pat Byrd knew exactly how to use running back Demontarus Irby in last Thursday's 26-23 win against Baldwyn.
Irby, a transfer from Tupelo, rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
In a wild second-half comeback - the Tigers trailed 23-6 with 90 seconds remaining in the third quarter - Irby's 3-yard scoring run pulled the Tigers to within three with 11:01 remaining.
MHSAA's new website will be more user-friendly
The Mississippi High School Activities Association is poised to launch its revamped and upgrade website this fall.
Misshsaa.com will offer a user-friendly medium for students, coaches, administrators and fans to keep up with all of the latest news and happenings with the MHSAA.