It’s been a while I know. And may I say it’s good to be back with another look at “What’s Going On Around Here” this week … and beyond.
Before we dive into the specifics allow me to preface this column by pointing out how busy the beginning of the prep and college sports seasons are.
And this year has been no different … not even the least little bit.
High school football began its regular season last week while our favorite colleges and universities will kick off this week.
That includes the Northeast Community College Tigers. There’s a full story on their upcoming season in today’s edition.
Now, let’s get started.
Week one offered several impressive performancesFans that thrive on individual performances and astronomical stats had to be pleased by what they saw last Friday.
I must start with the Corinth Warriors and their two offensive leaders – quarterback Brawner Cregeen and running back Chris Rodgers.
I have to wonder what Cregeen could do in a pass-happy, west-coast style of offense. Even with limited passing attempts in a blowout opening game win over Saltillo the 6-2, 195-pound junior was money-in-the-bank. He completed seven of his ten passing attempts for 261 yards and four touchdowns with an interception in the end zone.
For Warrior fans that were at the game, everyone could plainly see that pass interference could have very easily been called on the Tigers defensive back but the defender ended up with the ball in his hands.
Hey, those things happen to the best quarterbacks.
What did the Corinth signal-caller do? He responded with three more TD tosses (he had thrown a 34-yard scoring strike to Rodgers on the opening drive to give CHS an early 7-0 lead).
To show that he’s not a one-dimensional quarterback, Cregeen made it a 35-7 contest late in the first half with an unexpected 13-yard touchdown run. The play looked to be a designed RPO and it appeared he chose to run instead of pass when a hole opened on the right side of the line. A pair of Saltillo defenders got their hands on him but couldn’t hold on.
Cregeen finally scored after running over a third Tiger defender.
In my opinion, if the Warriors engineer keeps up this pace, he will not only be receiving calls from schools like Cincinnati and Memphis … he’ll be hearing from Power-5 schools before it’s over.
As for Rodgers, first-year coach Justin Dye told me before the season began that the junior two-way standout could be as good as he wants to be, even on the same plains as Tam Patterson and current Northeast Tiger Cayden Betts.
Rodgers was the focus of nearly every offensive play Corinth made Friday. Yet, the multi-sport athlete still put together MVP numbers. He rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while adding two catches for 115 yards with both going for scores. Adding it all up, Rodgers accumulated 250 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 touches.
The Warriors had several other playmakers show out during the game, including transfer Broderick Alexander who returned two fake punts for 73 yards while catching two passes from Cregeen for 60 yards and a touchdown in his debut in the red-and-black.
I could go on, but suffice it to say it appears the Warriors will be just fine on the offensive side of the ball. They appear to need some more work shoring up some defensive breakdowns in the passing game, allowing several Tiger receivers to get behind them for big gains. However, CHS fans shouldn’t be too concerned. Kossuth did the same thing to them last year and they still won the division crown and advanced to the third round of the MHSAA 4A playoffs.
Other individual performances that stood out included 202 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (a 12.5 ypc average) from Booneville freshman running back Zion Nunn in the Blue Devils 44-34 home win over pass-happy Mooreville. Even more impressive, albeit under the radar because it’s a defensive stat, was head coach Mike Mattox pass defense, which limited a solid Trooper passing game to 150 yards on 21 completions. For the record, that equates to a mere 7.1 yards per completion. That’s how you beat an air-raid team
Want to hear a stat that is really impressive? How about the 4-7 passing performance for 194 yards and a touchdown from Biggersville quarterback Drew Rowsey.
That’s 48.5 yards per completion … unreal. If Rowsey keeps up that pace look for him to be among the top honorees in 1A football this season.
On a totally different note, please keep Biggersville junior lineman Cole Butler – the only Alcorn County student-athlete to play for consecutive state football titles – in mind. He suffered a broken back last season, even playing with it for a while, though in great pain. Butler has experienced more severe pain in his back recently and is hoping to have an MRI done soon to see just what the core of the problem is. Anyone that has a back issue, myself included, can attest to how painful back injuries can be. Here’s a prayer and a wish that Butler receives a good report after sitting out the Lions’ season opener.
Defending state champions start strong in Alabama meetThe defending Class 4A state champion Corinth cross country teams both had successful days at Brook (Ala) Meet last Saturday in Florence.
The Warriors, led by an eighth-place overall finish by Parker LeGoff, won the boys title over second-place Athens (Ala) and third place Tupelo high schools
The Lady Warriors finished third behind first-place Lawrence (Tenn) County and Florence (Ala) high schools. Emma Hall was the top CHS finisher crossing the finish line in seventh overall.
The Corinth boys had eight runners finish in the overall top 25 while the CHS girls had seven in the top 25. Catherine Grisham was just outside the top 25 at No. 27.
The Kossuth Aggies cross country teams begin their season this Thursday. The Lady Aggies are the defending Class 3A champions.