Organizers are finalizing details for a highly-anticipated golf event that serves a dual purpose: to give golfers a chance to compete for a chance to represent the area at a state event and also to help spread the Gospel to youngsters in North Mississippi.

The 13th annual state qualifying golf scramble for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will take place Monday, Aug. 26 at Cherokee Valley Golf Club in Olive Branch. Proceeds from the event will help support FCA activities in the area.

For the top four winning teams (top two gross scores and top two net score finishes) will come the opportunity to play at the well-known Old Waverly course near West Point in the state FCA tournament later this year on Sept. 16.

On Aug. 13, players will tee off at 8 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. with a shotgun start both in the morning and in the afternoon. In between, there will be a lunch and the chance for players to win prizes, followed by a talk from Del Wright, vice president of field ministry for the FCA.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes holds the golf scramble each year as one of its main fundraising events for the programs it has to reach the Gospel to young athletes in DeSoto County and surrounding areas.

John Engstrom, who played basketball at Ole Miss before an injury shortened his playing time, is the multi-area director for the North Central FCA that covers DeSoto County. Cecil Sowell of Hernando is the Director of Field Development who puts together and promotes events such as the upcoming golf scramble. For more information about the golf scramble and what the FCA does, call 901-409-1927 or email

SPEED WORKS: Among the many DeSoto County underclassmen excelling in summer sports action is Lewisburg junior Blake Speed, last year’s Patriot Offensive Player of the Year. In preparation for the coming fall, Speed has displayed both his offensive and defensive skills at a number of football camps across the country. The Lewisburg athlete was invited to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana and also took part in NexGen-The Show at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. That is where, as a member of Team MAMBA, Speed was part of a championship team in the seven-on-seven football event.

RICKETTS NAMED COACH AT STATE: The softball hopes of Mississippi State are now in the hands of Samantha Ricketts. The assistant head coach was named to take over after Vann Stuedeman stepped away earlier this month. Ricketts, considered one of the rising coaching stars in college softball with one of the most explosive offenses in Mississippi State history, was named the Bulldogs’ sixth head softball coach by Director of Athletics John Cohen on Monday. Ricketts played for and was a graduate assistant for national power Oklahoma while in Norman, Oklahoma. That was followed by an assistant coaching post at Wichita State before coming to Starkville in 2012.

MEET THE REBELS DAY SET: Ole Miss fans will again be able to meet players and coaches at the annual Meet the Rebels Day, set for Aug. 10 on the Oxford campus. The annual event will run from 2-4 p.m. at the Manning Center. Admission is free, and autograph lines will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Ole Miss football, soccer, volleyball and cross country teams, as well as the Ole Miss spirit squads, will be greeting fans and signing autographs. Head football coach Matt Luke and coordinators Mike MacIntyre and Rich Rodriguez will also be at the event and will be available for autographs.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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