The Year in Review-SportsBy JAMES PHILLIPS PHOTO BILLY FREEMAN,
The 2019 sports season was exciting throughout the entire year. Local high school teams made deep playoff runs and the LHS Lady Hornets softball team brought home a state championship with a magical season.
Numerous local high school athletes signed scholarships to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level. The Defending 2A State Champion Scott Central Rebels fell one game short of making it back to the big game and local players helped one junior college win a national championship. It’s all covered right here in the 2019 Sports Year in Review.
• Morton High School announced the hiring of Sean Gerald as the new head football coach for the Panthers.
• Sebastopol High School’s Lady Cats and Bobcat basketball teams hosted a home game versus Nanih Waiya. Both Sebastopol teams won their game over 20 points.
• The Forest High School boys and girls basketball teams both dominated on their way to winning the Scott County Tournament Championships.
• Four Scott Central Rebel football players signed National Letters of Intent to continue their football careers in college. Carson Williams signed with Arkansas State University. Kimond McDonald signed with East Central Community College. Navonteque Strong and Hydee Barow both signed with Gulf Coast Community College.
• Forest High School’s Orlandrea McGee signed a scholarship to play basketball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
• Jeffery Johnson of Forest established an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team in Forest. The team would be Forest 3CG Elite and planned to travel to numerous tournaments throughout the Southeastern United States.
• Sebastopol Lady Bobcats Rylee Burkes, Kala Hunt, Haven Morehead and Krystal White were named to the Region 7 All District Team. Burkes and White were named to the district tournament All-Tournament Team and White was named Region 7 District Offensive Player of the Year.
• The Class 3A No. 2 Forest Lady Bearcat basketball team won their way back to the Mississippi Coliseum to play in the Final Four of the 2019 Mississippi Class-3A State Basketball Championship.
• The Scott County Sports Hall of Fame named 12 inductees as part of the class of 2019.
• Lake High School’s Reagan Clark was selected as an All-Star to participate in the 2019 All-Star Fast Pitch Softball Games which was made up of juniors only.
• Forest High School’s Vantasia Duncan signed a Letter of Intent to play Basketball at East Mississippi Community College.
• Marla Graham of Lake signed a Letter of Intent to play tennis at East Central Community College.
• Forest Native and MLB minor league player Luke Reynolds prepared for his first full season in the Chicago Cubs minor league farm system.
• The Scott Central Archery Team finished 2nd in Class 2A South State Finals.
• Coaches and players of the 2018 Class 2A Football State Champion Scott Central Rebels were recognized and honored by the Mississippi Legislature.
• The Morton Lady Panthers fast pitch softball team got off to a fast start to the season with a record of 16-1.
• FHS held senior night for the Bearcats Baseball team.
• Former MHS basketball standout and East Central Community College Guard Roti Ware was named as a National Junior College Athletic Association Honorable Mention All-American. He was also named to the NJCAA All-Region 23 Team and the MS Association of Junior Colleges First Team All-State South Division team.
• The FHS Bearcat Tennis Team finished the regular season with a record of 12-2. The team advanced to the Class 3A South State finals where they lost to St. Andrews. FHS also sent four players to the 3A State Championship Tournament in Oxford.
• FHS’s Cinnamon Williams signed a scholarship to play basketball at Hinds Community College.
• Forest High School announced the hire of Kris Pickle as the new head coach of the Bearcats. Pickle resigned six days later to return to his job as a furniture salesman. FHS announced the hiring of Ty Weems.
• The LHS Hornets baseball team made the final four in the MHSAA Class 2A playoffs and finished as runner-up in the 2A North State.
• The Forest Chamber of Commerce held the 19th Annual Chamber Gold Tournament on May 16.
• Blair Lathem, Madison McLemore, Taylor Jackson, Gracie McDill, Maycee Luke and Alana Gunn of the Sebastopol Bobcats cheerleading squad were named as All-Americans at cheerleading camp.
• Sebastopol Lady Bobcats Taylor Watkins was selected as a member of the MS Class 1A, 2A and 3A all-star softball team.
• LHS named alumnus Darrin Gray as the head coach for the Hornets boys basketball team.
• The Forest 3CG Elite AAU basketball team won a regional tournament in Atlanta and Forest’s Javion Johnson was named Tournament MVP.
• Jay Johnston of Lake was named the Co-Most Improved Player for the 2019 ECCC Warrior baseball team.
• Larry Robinson of Forest won his tenth overall walk title at the 2019 Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic in Jackson.
• Jake Loper was announced as the LHS new head girls softball coach.
• The Forest 3CG Elite AAU basketball team won the tournament championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports tournament in Orlando.
• The FHS cheerleading squad received numerous awards at UCA camp. Atkison, Brennan Clark and Yalanis Wences were named All-Americans.
• High School football got underway with LHS upsetting the Forest Bearcats and Scott Central dropping an opening game rematch with 2018 2A runner-up Taylorsville.
• The LHS Hornets and SHS Bobcats open the football season 2-0 while the Forest Bearcats start 0-2.
• The LHS Hornets move to 3-0 and are the only undefeated Scott County football team.
• The Forest Country Club hosted the 28th Annual Senior Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of Jim McConnell.
• No. 4 Scott Central defeats No. 3 Charleston in a Class 2A showdown to move to 4-1 on the season.
• LHS moves to 7-0 on the season after taking down previously undefeated Pisgah 27-7.
• First year FHS head coach and the Bearcats get their first win of the year by beating Clarkdale 42-12.
• The Lake High School Girls Slow Pitch Softball team capped off a magical season by defeating Houston High School for the MHSAA Class I State Championship.
• The Forest Bearcats defeated the Morton Panthers 16-7 in the 62nd playing of the Battle for the Golden Chicken.
• The Forest Bearcats win the Region 5 district championship after starting the season 0-5.
•Sebastopol’s Taylor Watkins signed a scholarship to play softball at East Mississippi Community College.
• No. 3 Scott Central defeats the Lake Hornets 13-7 in a Class 2A Scott County showdown.
• Scott Central defeated Bay Springs 12-6 in an overtime thriller to open the 2A state playoffs.
• Morton, Lake, Forest and Sebastopol all lost in the first round of the MHSAA football playoffs.
• SC Rebels defeated East Marion 34-6 to move on to round three of 2A playoffs.
• Abby Atkison was named the FHS Heisman scholarship winner.
• No. 2 Scott Central rolled over Enterprise 48-0 to move on to the Class 2A South State Championship.
• FHS senior Dylan Grayson signed a scholarship to play baseball at East Central Community College.
• Former FHS football player Payton Rogers commits to play football at Ole Miss.
• The Scott Central Rebels lost a heartbreaker 14-6 to No. 1 and eventual 2019 2A State Champs Taylorsville in the South State Championship.
• Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College won the 2019 NJCAA National Championship and completed a 12-0 season. Navonteque Strong and Hydee Barlow both of Scott Central and Diwun Black of Forest were all three major contributors on the national championship team.