Olive Branch and Lake Cormorant remain in the MHSAA football playoffs, which enter the North Half semifinal round Friday night. For the Quistors and Gators to advance to the North Half finals, both teams will have to win on the road.
Olive Branch, which defeated Madison Central 24-7 in the first round of the MHSAA 6A playoffs last Friday, travels to Starkville to face the Yellowjackets, which advanced past Horn Lake 35-2.
The Conquistadors have a 9-3 record coming into Friday’s game, but Olive Branch has won five of six on the road this fall.
Starkville, which is the top-ranked team in the state, according to Maxpreps, has an 11-2 mark for the season and is a perfect 8-0 at home.
Friday’s winner meets either South Panola or Oxford for the MHSAA 6A North Half title on Nov. 29. Oxford eliminated Warren Central 33-14 and South Panola beat Tupelo 36-23 in their first round games last Friday night.
Lake Cormorant must also travel for its North Half semifinal contest, meeting Neshoba Central (9-3) in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
The Gators, 8-4 for the season, easily advanced past Ridgeland 61-25 last Friday night, while Neshoba Central held off Grenada 26-24 to move on.
The Rockets have won four of six games at home this season, but the Gators have taken four of five outings away from “The Swamp.”
Friday’s winner meets either Oxford Lafayette or defending state 5A champion West Point for the North Half championship Nov. 29. Oxford Lafayette defeated Holmes Central 34-18 while West Point outscored Provine 49-28.
BASKETBALL, SOCCER UNDERWAY: High school basketball and soccer teams have started their seasons while football wraps up its postseason. Defending state MHSAA 5A boys’ champion Center Hill has won five of its first six games this year, including five straight wins since dropping a 55-51 decision to Tupelo to open the year on Nov. 2. The 5A defending girls’ champs from Olive Branch had won its first three contests to begin the year, including Tuesday’s 92-35 victory at home against Shaw. Meanwhile, last season’s 5A state boys’ soccer champs from Lewisburg have a 5-0-1 record with the only blemish being a 1-1 tie against Oxford last Friday, Nov. 15.
LEE TO COACH AT LEWISBURG: Brooke Lee, a four-year starter for the University of Memphis, is the new head coach for softball at Lewisburg High School. Lee replaces Chelsea Bramlett, now the head coach at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. This will be the first head coaching job for Lee, who played for the Tigers through the 2018 season. The New Orleans, Louisiana area native who played second base for the Tigers had a career batting average of .241 with 17 home runs and 79 RBIs, to go with a career fielding average of .928. She lettered four years as a shortstop for John Curtis Christian School under coach Jerry Godfrey, where she was an All-State, All-Metro selection and All-District (2011-2014). Lee led her team to a 29-2 record and a Louisiana state championship in her senior season, and also helped her team to state titles in 2012 and 2013. Bramlett coached the Lady Patriots to an undefeated regular season, but was swept out of a first-round playoff series to Grenada last spring.
SPORTS ETC.: Former Olive Branch High School star basketball player and three-time Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year Myah Taylor had a stellar night Monday in Mississippi State’s 122-82 demolition of Troy at Starkville. Taylor scored career highs of 20 points, seven assists and five steals. The redshirt sophomore guard also took five charges and grabbed three rebounds.
Northpoint Christian School running back Lance Saulsberry has been named to the roster of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game roster. The contest features top Memphis-vicinity high school football players and will be played Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and will be played at Memphis University School.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.