1. Gerri Green gets drafted by NFL’s Colts
April 27, 2019
Special to the DD-T
With the 199th pick of the sixth round in the 2019 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Gerri Green, defensive end from Mississippi State University.
With family and friends gathered in his apartment on Saturday at 3:20 p.m. Green got the call and his mom’s Facebook live account allowed us to take in the emotion of the moment.
Green attentively listened to the Colts representative on the phone, choked back tears and held his daughter as his family cheered in the background.
All of the congratulatory messages and well-wishes added to the magnitude of the moment that kids dream of from the first day, they don a helmet. “I’m so thankful to hear my name called today and a couple of my teammates names called before mine in the past couple of days,” Green said. “It’s been a long process and I’ve enjoyed every part of it.”
Green’s rush of emotion with the culmination of a dream was tempered with some official business. Amid the celebration, he fielded calls from the Colts coaching staff with instructions and next steps.
“Next week, I’ll be going to Indianapolis for mini-camp,” he said. “I can’t wait to get inside the facility and get to work.”
Draft boards and NFL prognosticators all over the land projected Green to go a little later in the draft in the same round.
Green battled injuries during his MSU career and his ascension in the draft may have been due to Colts scouts going back looking at film of his freshman and junior years-his most productive and injury-free of his Bulldogs career.
To him, just having his name called is enough and he knowns that he has landed with a franchise that will give him the opportunity to succeed.
“I grew up watching the Colts,” Green said. “They’ve had some excellent players and excellent coaches. They’ve always been a great organization and I’m glad that they have decided to make me a part of it.”
2. Irish three peat
November 22, 2019
Special to the DD-T
JACKSON — The St. Joseph Catholic School football team trailed by two points early in the second quarter when Fighting Irish senior Dillon Johnson ran around the Indianola Academy defense and raced down the left sideline for a 72-yard touchdown.
Johnson’s run was just the beginning.
The Fighting Irish turned the last minutes of the second quarter of the MAIS Class 3A state championship at Jackson Academy game into a triumphant coronation as Johnson and his teammates put an exclamation point on their third straight MAIS state championship with a 55-24 victory over Indianola Academy.
Johnson and his teammates finished the season with a 13-0 record.
“It was the perfect ending to the perfect season,” said Johnson.
Johnson, along with his all-star teammate Trey Benson, now leave a legacy at St. Joseph that will not soon be forgotten as the two good friends move on to play football at the highest collegiate level. Johnson has committed to Mississippi State, and Benson has committed to the University of Oregon.
“I do not think what Trey and Dillon did will ever be matched,” St. Joseph coach John Baker said. “This was a special way to end the season for two of the most special young men that I have coached.”
Indianola Academy (9-5) head coach Tommy Nester gave total credit to St. Joseph. The Colonels, who defeated the Fighting Irish in 2018, were the last team to beat St. Joe who now has a 24-game winning streak.
“Congratulations to them,” Coach Nester said.
“They were a great team, and they definitely deserved to win.”
Johnson backed up his 72-yard run in the second quarter by intercepting an Indianola pass on the Colonels’ next possession. One play later Benson broke through two Colonel tackles and dashed for a 60-yard score. Moments later, after a successful St. Joe onside kick by Frank Joseph Serio, St. Joseph quarterback Mekhi Norris connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass to junior Kaleb Lockett to put St. Joseph up 28-10 with seven minutes until the half.
3. Bzzzz! Honeybees win 31 straight games
February 18, 2019
David W. Healy
CLINTON — There are not enough superlatives to describe just how successful this year’s Greenville High School girls basketball team has been.
Coached by the hard-nosed and driven Dakedreon Lampkin, the Honeybees improved their record to 29-0 this season after they defeated Clinton 58-48 in the 4-6A District Tournament at Clinton. This season is the best season of any Greenville basketball team in history.
With the victory Friday, the Honeybees now have a week to prepare until their next game in the state tournament. Greenville has a bye in the first round of the state tournament, and the Honeybees next game will be at home Friday against the winner of the Columbus-Southhaven game. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“This week will be good for us,” Lampkin said. “We need to heal up and get ready for the state tournament.
No matter what obstacles have been thrown in front of this year’s Honeybees, they have pushed right through them as if they were tumbleweeds in the road.
Once again Friday the Honeybees used a balanced scoring attack to propel them to the title. Jeanee Anderson led Greenville with 20 points. Clarkaju Warren scored 13 points and Mary Starnes scored 12 points.
Warren and Starnes also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game, and Anderson dished out five assists.
Senior Kristieon Reed scored eight points, and junior Lazericka Rhodes scored five points.
The Honeybees have been a selfless team all season, and it has never mattered to the players who got the most points, and junior Lazericka Rhodes scored five points.
“Yes, we could have played better,” Lampkin said. “But I really like how balanced we were scoring in the game.”
Friday’s victory was the third time Greenville has defeated Clinton this season. The Honeybees defeated Clinton 65-36 on January 11 and 60-52 on January 25.
While he was pleased with his team’s effort, Lampkin said he believes his team can play even better. The Greenville coach said his players need to keep working on their free throw shooting because making free throws will be critical during close state tournament games.
4. Devilettes dance all the way to state title game
March 4, 2019
David W. Healy
JACKSON — The Devilettes were nervous before the game started Monday, but when tipoff came it never showed.
The Simmons girls basketball team defeated Hamilton 43-33 in the semifinals of the MHSAA Girls 1A State Semifinals at the Jackson Coliseum.The Devilettes will play Pine Grove for the state championship Gold Ball Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Coliseum.
“Before the game started, some of the players came up to me and said they were so nervous, they were shaking,” Simmons girls basketball coach Bernita Alexander said. “They were not used to playing in an arena as big as the Coliseum.”
But, when the ball was tipped, the Devilettes collected themselves and immediately showed their poise.
No player was more calm under pressure than senior leader Jalelia Gadison. Gadison’s great play was a big reason why Simmons had made it this far in the first place, and on Monday she played one of her best games ever. Gadison led the Devilettes with 17 points and also grabbed a team-high six rebounds. But, it was the little things Gadison did, that may have been even more important to her team’s victory.
“She has been leading us all year, and today was no different,” Alexander said. “It was not just on offense, but also her defense that helped control the game for us.”
Along with Gadison’s fine play, Simmons (26-7) ability to control the pace of the game played a big role in the win as well. Players like Taylor Lucas-Howard, who scored 11 points in the game, and Tiara Willis helped the Devilettes decide how the game against Hamilton would be played.
“We controlled the flow of the game and were able to get what we wanted,” Alexander said. “They did an awesome job of making the right decisions at the right times.”
Willis scored seven points, while sophomore Na’Riah Robinson scored six points and also grabbed five rebounds. While the Simmons players and coaches are proud of all they have accomplished this season, and especially proud about what they achieved Monday, they also realize how meaningful Thursday’s game will be.
Before the season started, the Devilettes dedicated the season to legendary Simmons Coach George Willis, the father of star player, Tiara Willis, who died last July.
Coach Alexander played for Coach Willis from 1984 until 1987. She was also an assistant coach under Coach Willis when the Lady Blue Devils won back-to-back Class 2A state championships in the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. The Lady Blue Devils finished both of those seasons at 36-0, and during those 72 wins Simmons never trailed in a single game.
Back in November, Tiara Willis said “My teammates and I are going to push through all the adversity and come out on top.”
Just one more win and they will have reached the summit.
5. Local youngsters sign on to great heights
David W. Healy
Judging by the number of college scholarships signed by high school athletes in Washington County, 2019 can be called an unqualified success.
Students from across the county signed scholarships in a wide range of sports, including football, basketball, soccer, softball, track and cheerleading.
Greenville High School’s Ty’Mitchell McCollough, for example, recently signed a baseball scholarship to play at East Central Community College. McCollough, a shortstop, signed his letter of intent at the Greenville High School library, and his high school coach Jeffrey Jones said he was extremely proud of McCollough’s accomplishment.
“Ty’Mitchell is a very versatile player, and he can play anywhere on the baseball field,” Coach Jones said. “He has worked hard to accomplish this, and he deserves credit for sticking with baseball and being dedicated to the game.”
McCollough, however, is just one example of so many students who put the work in, both on the field and in the classroom, to achieve their goals.
These scholarship signings were the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and each one of them was celebrated by their families, teammates, coaches and teachers.
Below are pictures of just a few of the many young people in our community who signed scholarships this season. Good luck to all of them in their college careers.