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Pick up your Sunday Oxford Citizen at locations throughout Lafayette County Volume 3 | Issue 65


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Inside 3 News

UM to hold inaugural Chancellor's Concert tomorrow

6 News


The City of Oxford is currently in discussion about how to restructure the intersection where Hwy 7 meets Sisk Avenue. With the successful and ever-growing development of Oxford Commons as well as the two public schools on the road, the already busy intersection has seen a record amount of traffic over the past year, and that is only expect to increase.

City looking at redeveloping intersection at Sisk and 7 BY CHANING GREEN NEWS WRITER

The City of Oxford is currently looking at redeveloping the intersection where Hwy. 7 meets Sisk Avenue. A special meeting was held Tuesday morning with city officials and developer David Blackburn to discuss the issue. The

meeting was an informal discussion where, among other things, they talked about how much the total project would cost. Early estimates have that price at millions of dollars, however, there is no set cost or accurate enough estimate that the city feels comfortable coming forward with at this time.They are still in the very earliest stages of discussing the project.

"Christmas of Many Colors": Haskell, Parton movie embraces holiday spirit

19 Sports

The intersection is the property of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, but because of funding issues, they cannot pay for the work on the intersection that the city feels is necessary. Mayor Pat Patterson said that the city has been looking at restructuring the intersecTURN TO INTERSECTION PAGE 9

Unsung Hero: Gossett's move to center sparked Commodores' offense, run




Lafayette County gets much needed rain BY JOHN DAVIS OXFORD CITIZEN


The Oxford Garden Club welcomed the following new members this fall: Mary Burton McGee, Julie Sample, Ann Wilson and Barbara Jim Turner.


Severe weather that brought tornadoes, and deaths, to parts of the Deep South Tuesday night only dropped rain locally. A fall-long drought has been eased with recent rains, including the 2.2 inches that fell at the official register that is monitored by the city's emergency management director Jimmy Allgood. Three significant rains in the past 10 days have gotten the area to within six inches of normal with a month left in the calendar. Rain has been forecasted for the weekend, and Allgood feels like December could be a wet month. After Tuesday, just over 30 inches of rain has been recorded in the gauge, with a normal amount being 36 inches. “We had six and a half inches of rain this month which is putting us about six inches behind of our yearly average,” Allgood said. “We had the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the past three rains got us over 30 inches. There is a good chance of rain for this weekend and December is shaping up to be wet, which would be good for us.” For most of the fall, the state of Mississippi has been under a burn ban. Lafayette County's supervisors instituted a burn ban back in October due to the dry conditions. Open

burning in the city has been forbidden in the city, but Allgood said residents who want to have an open pit fire in the city aren't allowed due to the burn ban. “Until the governor lifts that ban, it's still going to inconvenience people who want to do outdoor activities within the city,” Allgood said. “Since we do have a no burning policy in the city, the ban hasn't really affected us like it has some in the county. We did need the rain to prevent any accidental fires like what is going on up in Gatlinburg (Tennessee) and those areas.” Over 15,000 acres were scorched in and around Gatlinburg due to wildfires that were fueled by high winds, and the lack of rain that the South has dealt with for months. Lafayette County was under a tornado watch Tuesday while other counties to the south were actually under tornado warnings. The overall threat forced the Oxford School District to postpone the Deck the Walls fundraiser until Wednesday evening, while sports teams from both school districts had to push back a night as well. “They had some to the east and south of us in Chickasaw County and Grenada and some of those other areas down there,” Allgood said. “Conditions were favorable for the development of one, but none every devel-

oped.” Two days before Christmas last year, Holly Springs experienced tremendous damage associated with tornadoes and heavy winds. Allgood said the late fall tornado season can be just as impactful as the spring. “People kind of overlook it but our fall tornado season can be just as deadly and dangerous as our spring tornado season,” Allgood said. “I try to remind people that a few years ago, for several years, that either the week before or the week of Thanksgiving there were just massive tornado outbreaks across the Midwest and the Southeast United States. Our fall tornado season is just as important to observe as a spring tornado season is.” There is still a potential for a wildfire, even with the recent rain, Allgood warned. “People still need to be careful when they are outdoors and dealing with fire. It can still cause a major problem,” he said. “I don't think (state government) is going to make any snap decisions on the burn ban that's in place. I think they will look at what is coming up over the next week or so and see how much rain we've had, how the conditions are and if it's going to be safe enough to lift the ban.” Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd CONTACT US • Sports Editor, John Davis, • News reporter, Chaning Green, • Advertising, Sarah Brooke Bishop, sarahbrooke.bishop, (662) 801-9607 CORRECTIONS The Oxford Citizen will correct any error found in the newspaper. To request a correction or clarification, call (662) 816-1282. A correction or clarification will appear in the next issue.




UM to hold inaugural Chancellor's Concert tomorrow BY CHANING GREEN NEWS WRITER

This Friday, the University of Mississippi Music Department will be holding their inaugural Chancellor’s Concert. The concert is the first of its kind and is dedicated to Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffery S. Vitter. The theme of the show is Holidays at Ole Miss. Unlike most of the concerts put on by the department throughout the year, tomorrow night’s event will involve several different areas of the Music Department. Included in the concert is the UM Chorus, the LOU Orchestra, the UM Chorus, the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble and the UM Steel Orchestra. This is the first big holiday concert to include the LOU Orchestra among the other ensembles. Director of Choral Activities for the Music Department Don Trott said that he is greatly looking forward to the show. He explained that the idea for a concert dedicated entirely to the chancellor came with Vitter’s addition to the university back in January. This concert will not be the last of its kind. “We’ve done the usual holiday concert for the past 10 years, but we came up with the idea to create this series,” Trott said. “Each year, we plan to do a special concert that we’ll be calling the Chancellor’s Concert. Chancellor Vitter will come, and it’s a way for us to honor him, and gives him the chance to support the arts.” The plan, as Trott stated, is to make the Chancellor’s Concert an annual event. It will not always be a holiday concert. The concert could take place in the spring or fall and involve any number of the different groups under the umbrella of UM Music Department. Special guests Sam and Mary Donnelly Haskell will be performing at the event. Sam Haskell will

be narrating a special orchestral arrangement of the Christmas classic “The Night Before Christmas” while Mary Donnelly Haskell will be singing with the accompaniment of the LOU Orchestra and the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble. With the orchestra, she will be performing “Is There a Place,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “We need a Little Christmas,” and “Just in Time for Christmas.” Her final piece for the night will be with the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble where she will be singing “Winter Wonderland.” After the performances, Vitter will deliver a speech. The concert will the conclude with a singing of “Silent Night.” Though the planning for the concert has been taking place for some months now, the actual rehearsals for the performances only began when students returned from Thanksgiving break. The department was busy with several other concerts right up until right before the break. “The concert was put together very quickly, in that respect, but our students are very capable,” Trott said. “So far, I’m feeling excellent about it. We had a special rehearsal Sunday night after the break with the orchestra and choir, and it went very well. I think the concert will be good. It’s shaping up to be very festive and have lots of variety with different traditional holiday tunes, but in different arrangements.” Trott went on to say that the entire lineup will be holiday music, both secular and sacred. The concert will last approximately an hour and 15 minutes. The Chancellor’s Concert: Holidays at Ole Miss will be held tomorrow night, Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Twitter: @chaningthegreen



OBITUARIES WAYNE PARKS WARD Wayne Parks Ward, 81, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at his home in Abbeville. The funeral service will be Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Abbeville with Rev. Randy Hope, Rev. Hilton Lane and Rev. Brad Webb officiating. Burial will follow in Abbeville Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday evening from 3:30 until 7 p.m. in West Hall at Waller Funeral Home and again prior to the service beginning at 1 at the church. Ward was a veteran of the United States Air Force where he served in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War while earning the rank of Master Sergeant before retiring from the Air National Guard. Memorial contributions in Mr. Ward’s memory may be made to Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800 or Abbeville Baptist Church, P.O. Box 80, Abbeville, MS 38601. In honor of Mr. Ward’s service to his country, the flag of the United States Air Force will be flown at Waller Funeral Home.

THEA WATTS Thea Mildred Parks Watts, 103, passed away Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, at her residence in Etta. The funeral service will be Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, at noon at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Etta with Rev. Bobby Irvin officiating. Burial will follow in Philadelphia Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 10 a..m. prior to the service at the church. Memorial contributions in Mrs. Watts’ memory may be made to Philadelphia Baptist Church, 456 CR 255, Etta, MS 38627.

JAMES CULLEY FUDGE James Culley Fudge, 90, passed away Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Church Manor Nursing Home in Ecru. The funeral service was held Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 in the Chapel of Waller Funeral Home with Rev. David Ard officiating. Burial followed in Yellow Leaf Cemetery. Fudge was a veteran of the United States Air Force and served in Japan during World War II achieving the rank of E3. Memorial contributions in Mr. Fudge’s memory may be made to Yellow Leaf Cemetery Fund, 470 Highway 334, Oxford, MS 38655. In honor of Mr. Fudge’s service to his country the flag of the United States Air Force will be flown at Waller Funeral Home.


YAC Ornament Auction set for next week BY CHANING GREEN NEWS WRITER

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council is preparing to close out the year with their annual celebration and fundraiser, known simply as the Ornament Auction. The Ornament Auction has been an end-of-the-year tradition for the arts council for many years now. It has always been the big, blowout fundraiser that brings the year to a close and gives the arts council the funds required to kick off the new year. The titular event of the night is an auction of handcrafted, specialty Christmas tree ornaments. The ornaments are created and donated by local artists who wish to support the arts council. Patrons will have to opportunity to bid on each piece in the hopes of taking a home a unique holiday item to brighten their home this year. Among the many festivities planned for the evening will be a special beer tasting provided by Yalobusha Brewing Company. Each guest will be given a special welcoming cocktail made with Cathead Vodka. There will also be food provided by local chefs throughout the night. Chefs from Canoodle, City Grocery, Gus’ Fried Chicken, Ravine and many more will be providing special holiday treats for guests. Executive Director of YAC Wayne Andrews said that he looks forward to this event every year. He said it is a fun way to round off a successful year of fundraising and supporting local artists by doing just that. The event is meant to be a casual celebration of local artists and the people who support the arts council. Most of the artists who created ornaments featured in the auction will be in attendance and able to converse with attendees.While bidding on some of the ornaments could get rather competitive, it is expected that the majority of the ornaments will go for completely reasonable prices, allowing patrons to take home a special piece that they can admire for years to come. “I love that it’s a relaxed event and that you don’t have to dress up to come out and have a good time,” Andrews said. “I love that you can see your friends and neighbors as well as artists of all types. We’re all there together to celebrate what is unique and creative about our town, that it is open and friendly and willing to do things a little off-beat.” Andrews said he was not sure exactly how long the auction has taken place over the years. It seems like it has just always been

a tradition for the arts council since its creation, having gone on much longer than Andrews’ nine years with the nonprofit. The event was originally held in the homes of people associated with the organization, but as the years went on and the arts council continued to grow, it was moved to the Powerhouse to accommodate the number of people and catered food. There will be a special raffle included in the night’s festivities where attendees will have the chance to win a special portrait by

renowned artist Jere Allen. The portrait is from his special “Christmas Angel” collection of work. To win the painting, individual raffle tickets can be purchased for $25 each or $90 for four chances to win. Allen donated the painting for the event, so all of the money raised through the raffle will go to benefit the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Members of the arts council are admitted to the party at no cost, and it is never too late to become a member. In order to become a member, people can stop by the

Powerhouse during their hours of operation or visit Memberships for individual are $35. For a student teacher, the price is $20 and $50 to get a pass for the whole family. These prices are good for a full year of membership. Anyone wishing to attend the event can be become a member at anytime, right up until the event itself. The party kicks off Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and will last until 9 that evening. Twitter: @chaningthegreen




Chamberlin wins Lafayette County and seat on MS Supreme Court BY CHANING GREEN NEWS WRITER

Circuit Judge Bobby Chamberlin has been declared the winner of last night’s runoff election for a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court, the highest court in the state. Chamberlin beat out Jackson attorney John Brady for the seat. The runoff for the special election was held because no single candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote during the general election that was held Nov. 8. Out of everyone on the ballot, Chamberlin and Brady received the most votes, and were therefore able to advance to the runoffs. Chamberlin has spent the last 12 years as a judge on the 17th Circuit Court District of Mississippi and was elected as a Republican to the Mississippi State Senate in 1999, where he remained until 2004. On the State Supreme Court, he will be replacing Justice

Ann Lamar who is retiring. Mississippi Supreme Court Justices are elected for 8year terms. In Lafayette County last yesterday, Chamberlin received 1,343 votes, while Brady only claimed 451. Chamberlin walked away with 75 percent of the vote in the county. Of all the 32,899 registered voters in Lafayette County, about 5.5 percent of the electorate turned out to participate in this election. Circuit Clerk Baretta Mosley said she couldn’t recall ever seeing turnout this low, especially during such an important election. “It’s always disappointing when you have less than a 50 percent turn out, but 5.47 percent was very disappointing,” Mosley said Wednesday morning. “For an election for a Supreme Court Justice, it’s just unbelievable. However, a lot of people were not even aware we were having a runoff election.” One of the polling stations in the county only


Lafayette County Circ uit Clerk Baretta Mos ley's office is in charge of conduct ing elections as well as getting voters in the county registere d in order to partici pate. Her office counted the votes Tuesday night from all 18 precincts in the county. had 15 voters come through to cast their vote. The precinct that reported the highest number of votes, Oxford 2, had 437 voters at their polling loca-

G C.

F C for the Performing Arts

Miracle on 34th Street

In the Mood A 1940’S MUSICAL REVUE

Sat., Dec. 3 3 p.m.

A favorite holiday musical tale by Valentine Davies, made famous by the 1947 movie of the same name.

Tue., Jan. 24 7:30 p.m.

With a touching story and wonderful songs, such as “I Believe in Miracles,” “Macy’s Madrigals,” and “Just Imagine” you will truly believe in the miracles of the season.

In the Mood celebrates America’s Greatest Generation through the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and other idols of the 1940s. The musical arrangements of these American songs evoke powerful emotions even in people who were born decades after WWII.

Gingerbread Village Dec. 1-16 Take a break from your busy day, and relax in the quiet and calm of a magical village made of gingerbread. The Village will open daily with additional evening and weekend hours planned. The Village will also have special story times for preschoolers and elementary-aged children and a visit from Santa.

Now you may enjoy a glass of wine at intermission! • 662-915-7411 Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts 351 University Ave., P.O. Box 1848, University MS 38677

tion. Mosley went on to reiterate her point that not enough people were aware that the election was even taking place. She said that

the fact it was a runoff, the severity of the weather and the very little attention this particular election received created a perfect storm for bad voter turnout.

“Lots of voters that I spoke with yesterday had no idea there was even an election happening,” she said. “People would come in to our office to take care of regular business and I would ask, ‘Have you been to vote today?’ and they would say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know we were voting today.’ So I don’t know. I wish there were a way that we could better make the community aware of the elections that take place in the county. Gotta get out and vote.” Mosley went on to say that, despite the poor turnout, she was very thankful for her office staff as well as the many poll workers who made this election possible. Specifically, she commended them on their constant willingness to work hard for the public and the speediness to which they brought in the votes Tuesday night, despite the weather. Twitter: chaningthegreen





"Christmas of Many Colors" Haskell, Parton movie embraces holiday spirit BY M. SCOTT MORRIS DAILY JOURNAL

About two years ago, Sam Haskell and his friend Dolly Parton got the green light to make a two-hour movie based on her classic country song “Coat of Many Colors.” The film debuted during last year’s Christmas season. “The chairman of NBC told me that if we had 7 mil-

lion viewers he would be thrilled,” Haskell said during an interview at City Grocery in Oxford. “Well, we had 16 million viewers. We more than doubled his thrill quotient.” Those numbers were enough to put Haskell, Parton and their team of collaborators back to work on a sequel, but the ratings didn’t tell the whole story.

“I have gotten several dozen letters where children made their professions of faith and told their pastors it was because they saw ‘Coat of Many Colors’ and wanted to go to heaven,” Haskell said. “They talked about going to heaven in the movie, and kids wanted to know what it was about. “For parents to send those letters telling us how

touched their families were, it was so meaningful and special, and it makes me very proud. It makes Dolly very proud, too.” From the beginning, the filmmakers knew they were making a throwback, a made-for-TV movie centered on faith and family. The story was based on the song, and the song was based on Parton’s family

and their two-room cabin in the 1950s. NBC broadcasted “Dolly Parton’s: Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” at 8 p.m. last night. It’s set six weeks after the first movie, and the whole cast returned for the sequel. “We tell the story of what happens to Dolly and her family during the biggest snowstorm in east Ten-

nessee at that time,” Haskell said. “Their entire cabin was buried in snow, 12- to 14foot drifts. It’s a miracle that happened, but you have to watch the movie to see.” An Amory native who splits his time between Oxford and Los Angeles, Haskell started in the mailroom and worked up to beTURN TO COLORS PAGE 7




Colors FROM 6

come worldwide head of television for William Morris Agency. He was Parton’s agent, and that business relationship deepened into something much more. “I love Dolly Parton. She is one of my best friends,” Haskell said. “She is Aunt Dolly to my children and Aunt Dolly to my little grandsons. We’re all family.” That kinship informs Haskell’s work behind the scenes as an executive producer. “That’s her life up there, but my mark’s on it everywhere. She always says, ‘I see you all over these movies,’ because she knows my taste and she trusts me,” Haskell said. “My greatest compliment of all is when I show her these movies, she’s crying her eyes out. That lets me know she’s been touched and she’s pleased. That’s what pleases me. I want her to be happy. I want her family to be happy.” In addition to being the inspiration, Parton is an executive producer who’s helped shape the movie. One day, she was reminiscing about an important woman from her childhood. “Let’s call her the Painted Lady,” Haskell said. Young Dolly’s mother warned her to stay away from the woman with the big hair, high heels, makeup and fancy fingernails. “But Dolly thought she was interesting, because a lot of the men in town were buzzing around her wherever she went,” Haskell said. “She was the most beautiful person Dolly had ever seen in her entire life.” Parton thought a character based on the woman should be in the movie, but who would play her? “I raised my eyebrow at her, and she went, ‘Me?’” Haskell said, “and I went, ‘Yes, you. It would be the greatest thing ever if the child looks at you and says, “When I grow up I want to look just like you,” and she did.’” In “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” Parton, as the Painted Lady, has a special scene with her younger self, who’s played by Alyvia Alyn Lind. “While that conversation is happening, I put an underscore orchestrated bit of the original song, ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ just as a re-


Mary Lane Haskell as Miss Moody, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Dolly Parton minder of what young Dolly grows up to become,” Haskell said. Cast members include Jennifer Nettles as young Dolly’s mom, Ricky Schroder as her dad and Gerald McRaney as the grandfather. Haskell’s daughter, Mary Lane Haskell, returns as Miss Moody, the schoolteacher. “I have seen grown men crying in screening rooms watching her scenes with little Dolly,” Haskell said, “so Miss Moody plays a very important part.” The cast and crew literally put in sweat equity to make this movie, which was shot in Conyers, Georgia, in July and August with temperatures hitting or hinting at 100 degrees. The child actors wore ice vests to keep cool during filming. “But we have created a world that’s icy cold, that’s snowing. It’s just Hollywood magic, but it works,” Haskell said. “We created our snow out of biodegradable particles made of paper and foam and potato flakes, and that stuff was not going to melt.” Haskell spent the past six months of his life focused on “Christmas of Many Colors,” and it was an acceler-

ated timeline to get ready for the holiday season. The film will air on Wednesday, and the DVD will hit shelves on Dec. 20. “They filmed us doing all sorts of things behind the scenes,” he said. “There will be three or four featurettes that will be on this DVD, and deleted scenes. We have 15 minutes of deleted scenes people will just love.” If the success of “Coat of Many Colors” is any guide, millions of people will tune in for the broadcast, and the DVD will become a top seller.That’s important in an industry that rewards hits and punishes misses. But Haskell and Parton have additional hopes for their latest collaboration. The story centers around faith, family and sacrifice. “Christmas of Many Colors” was made to touch hearts. “I believe that in these times, people need something positive,” Haskell said. “This is something that the entire family can watch together and get something out of. It is such a powerful and positive message, and it’s all taken from Dolly’s life.” COURTESY Twitter: @mscottmorris

Though the movie was shot in the summer, executive producer Sam Haskell of Oxford gets into the Christmas spirit and decorates a vintage tree from the 1950s.



Clinton's Akers set to visit Ole Miss following 6A title game BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

One of the nation's top high school football prospects, athlete Cam Akers, will lead the Clinton Arrows into the MHSAA Class 6A title game Friday night at Mississippi State. And then he will spend the rest of the weekend in Oxford on his official visit to Ole Miss. Win or lose at DavisWade Stadium, the Arrows, and Akers, have had a special season in 2016. Akers has been the quarterback of a team that is 13-1 heading into the contest with Pearl. Clinton started the season as the top-ranked team in the state, and they have remained that way through the course of the year. Akers has completed 61.7 percent of his passes this season for 2,900 yards and 29 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 1,888 yards and

scored 29 times on the ground. Akers (6-foot, 215 pounds) is ranked right at the top players in the nation. Last weekend, after the Arrows defeated Madison Central in the north state title game, he spent the weekend at Ohio State watching the Buckeyes hold off Michigan in double overtime. Clinton coach Judd Boswell said Akers has done a great job of staying focused with all the media attention surrounding him from a recruiting standpoint. “Kids are easy to deal with, it's the adults you have to kind of monitor and keep an eye on,” Boswell said. “Our kids have handled it well. He's not the only one being recruited but is a pretty high profile deal there. Our kids are very humble and it hasn't affected them.” Akers has tremendous

speed, and strength. He is projected to play running back in college. Akers hosted LSU head coach Ed Orgeron at the start of the week, and he has been in constant contact with Ole Miss, as well as many other schools such as Florida State. The thing that Boswell said separated Akers from every other player was how competitive he is. “He's going to compete at a high level. That's not going to change,” Boswell said. Pearl coach John Perry said Monday at the MHSAA state championship press conference that Akers was the best high school football he had ever seen. “He's going to get his and that's OK. We're going to try and score a few points and make a game of it,” Perry said about facing the Arrows. Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd


BRIEFING Cookiepalooza at Cedar Oaks

who were engaged in battle there. Christmas gift donations This Sunday, from 2 until for the Oxford Veterans 5 p.m., Cedar Oaks is host- Home of white cotton ing their annual Cooksocks and t-shirts size L to iepalooza. The home will 5XL will be accepted. Wall be dressed for Christmas clocks and universal TV reand open for tours. This is a mote controls have also great way to begin your been requested by resifamilies Christmas season. dents of the retirement Join us for a cookie and home. Please add these gift enjoy the afternoon. This items to your shopping list event is free of charge. Reand bring them to our Demember to bring friends cember meeting. If you are and family. unable to shop for veterans’ gifts, you may bring a check made out to David DAR Christmas Reese Chapter DAR to the Meeting at meeting with “Veterans’ Christmas” on the memo University line.


The December luncheon meeting of the David Reese Chapter of the Daughters of the American Reveloution will be held at The University of Mississippi’s Museum on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 11:15 am. Reservations for the catered luncheon must be in by this Friday. Please RSVP to chapter Regent Sally Malone at To reserve lunch, a $15 checks may be mailed to DAR Treasurer Gail Hercules at P.O. Box 1960, Oxford, MS 38655. A program by historian Mr. Starke Miller will be presented about the Shiloh National Park on the border of Mississippi, and specifically about the soldiers of the Confederacy and the University Grays,

Tribute to Walt Mixon on Dec. 8 North Light Gallery and Oxford Writes will host an Art and Text: A Walt Mixon Tribute event on Dec. 8 from 6 until 7:30 P.M. at North Light Gallery. The reception will feature Walt Mixon's circa 1970 photography and seven writers who will comment on their written work based on his photographs. Nixon was a long-time favorite Oxford photographer who passed away in 2008. Special guest is Avery Mixon who will comment on his father's work. North Light Gallery is located at 295 Highway 7 North inside the Oxford Orchard. For more information, phone 662-2590094.

“The Mousetrap’ coming to Oxford Theatre Oxford will be presenting the critically acclaimed play “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie December 1 through 3 at 7:30 p.m. and on December 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students, seniors and members of Theatre Oxford. Tickets for everyone else are $20. These can be purchased at, or at the door if still available. The show will be performed at the Powerhouse. The story follows a group of strangers who are stranded in a boarding house during a terrible snow storm, only one of them is a killer. The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage. Others are a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. As soon as a policeman, traveling on skis, arrives at the house, someone is murdered. The policeman then makes it his mission to go through everyone’s background and see if he can find the truth.

read more and find exclusive content at



Intersection FROM 1

tion for over a year now. The boom of traffic from the Oxford Commons development, combined with the school traffic on Sisk, significantly increased the amount of traffic that comes through what was already a very busy intersection. “We’ve got two schools out there,” Patterson said. “Development is booming there, and we need a better intersection.” The city would be paying Blackburn’s investment back by taking certain taxes from a number of his future developments and putting that toward repaying him. Specifically, they would be taking the revenue from the ad valorem taxes (business property taxes) and sales tax that these businesses would generate for the city, and use that money to replay Blackburn for his investment. By doing this, the city would not be losing any existing funding, because the developments from which the additional revenue would be coming

do not yet exist. This process is called tax increment financing (TIF). With the way in which Oxford is planning to do this TIF, there would be absolutely no direct increase levied against the citizens of Oxford. Only the sales tax and ad valorem taxes on Blackburn’s other developments would go toward paying for the redevelopment of the intersection. That area of town has grown significantly over the past few years, and is continuing to grow. With recent addition of Oxford High School’s new building as well as the Oxford Commons development that includes the new movie theater and bowling alley, traffic coming in and out of Sisk Avenue is at the highest level it as ever been and is only expected to grow. Mayor Patterson said that he, along with many other city officials, feel that a restructuring of that particular intersection is necessary to ensure the maximum level of safety and convenience for people using it. Twitter: chaningthegreen


Drewrey thanks Lafayette football fans for their support BY JOHN DAVIS



Lafayette's Commodores have been at home for all four rounds of the MHSAA Class 4A football playoffs. The goal is to make Davis-Wade Stadium at Mississippi State feel like William L. Buford Stadium Saturday afternoon. Lafayette Athletics Director Gary Drewrey thanked the Lafayette fans for their support over the last month. And for the entire season, the first under the direction of coach Michael Fair. Having four straight games in the playoffs is very rare, and Drewrey said that the school was able to benefit from it in a lot of different ways. “It was a tremendous advantage for us because we're used to playing there and we have a different type setup than most schools as far as our facilities,” Drewrey said. “We have the best facilities in North Mississippi as far as football, baseball, soccer and softball being where it's set up. Our facilities are intimidating, too. When the opposing team comes over that hill, that's pretty impressive.” Thirty percent of the money garnered at the gate for the games stayed

local. And Lafayette not only made money with this year's playoff run, but they didn't spend any traveling to other parts of the state. “Even though you get paid part of the game when you're the visiting team, we didn't have to use that to cover travel expenses either,” Drewrey said. “Most of that 30 percent you get you spend on having to travel. It's the best situation I've been around. I've never heard of anybody getting four straight games. We're the home team in Starkville even, so we will be the home team in all five playoff games.” Despite the rain associated with the third round game against Amory, the crowds were very good for the games. Last week in the north state title game against Pontotoc, fans lined both fences up and down the field, while some spilled out to the track. “We still had a nice crowd for the weather against Amory. Lafayette folks support whatever is going on and they love football. You can't sugarcoat it, they love football,” Drewrey said. “We were



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0-2 and I did not hear one negative thing from any of the parents or any of the fans. We have really smart football fans and they recognized that our kids were getting coached and we were doing things the right way. They were very supportive even when we were 02 and they appreciated the way our coaches were doing things. We have the best coaching staff in the state.” People who have been coming to the games, and even those that haven't, need to buy their tickets from the school district before heading down to Starkville. Not only will they save a $1 on each ticket, half of the money will remain with the district. Cost of a state title game ticket is $14 and they can be purchased through Friday afternoon at all of the district schools. “They need to buy from the main office, the superintendent's office, the middle school office will all have tickets,” Drewrey said. “It will be easier for them instead of having to buy it when they get there.” Kickoff for Saturday's title game will be at 3 p.m. Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd

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John Davis Sports Editor

OM's problems have to begin, end with better defense


season that started out with so much excitement ended with bitter disappointment for the Ole Miss Rebels. And the fans who support them. It's not easy to wear the red and blue right now, not after the 35-point loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Losing to your biggest rival is tough enough, but when it's the worst loss in 100 years, the feeling is majorly amplified. Things will get better. The loss will fade away and everyone can go on about their lives. Mississippi State fans will talk about the win all year, but sometime in the spring, even the Bulldog faithful will give us all a reprieve. Ole Miss finished 5-7 overall, the first losing season under Hugh Freeze in his five seasons. The Rebels started the year beat up. Ken Webster going down on what seemed like the very first play of the year was the first bit of bad luck. It served as an omen of things to come. D.K. Metcalf going down in the home opener was another blow to this team. He could have helped in so many ways, even with the defense not performing up to par. As explosive as the offense was at times, Metcalf would have made the offense better, and more consistent, during the course of the season. It was a shame that his talent was only a flash. Bigger things will come for him in the future, and him being healthy next season will be huge for this offense. It was a shame that tight end Evan Engram couldn't play his last game at Ole Miss. It was criminal that Engram wasn't on the final ballot for the John Mackey TURN TO DEFENSE PAGE 16


The Lafayette football coaching staff, led by Michael Fair, came together to lead the Commodores into the MHSAA Class 4A state title game in their first season.

Special Group Coaching staff comes together to produce for LHS in 2016 BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

Before Michael Fair officially accepted to be the new head football coach at Lafayette, he knew how good the Commodores of 2016 could be. He knew that tradition Lafayette had under its belt, and he knew that other great assistant coaches would want to be a part of the future. Fair called the coaching staff that teach the Commodores the finer points of the game during practices leading up

to Friday nights the best he's been around during his career. For a man who won four state championships at South Panola, that's saying a lot. There is no arguing with the success of the Commodores this fall. Not only have they won 12 straight games, the Commodores won the region and north state titles this year. All of it done in the first season together, and all of it done with players who weren't initially used to the system. “Coaching together for the first time against Horn Lake, that was a learning

experience for all of us,” Fair said. “They didn't know what to expect from me and how we operated in games and the things that we did. It took a while to gel. And the closer we got together as a staff, the closer our team came together. It seemed like it happened at the same time.” Before this season, Fair had coached with three members of his staff — Justin Lee and Carter Norris — at Senatobia and Jay Jones when Fair was at Pillow TURN TO COACHES PAGE 18

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Friday Night Previews: Week 16


Lafayette running back Jamie Shaw scored two touchdowns last week in the 21-14 win over Pontotoc in the MHSAA Class 4A north state title win.

Commodores looking to get off to fast start in 4A title game BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

There hasn't been any time for Michael Fair to think about a return to Mississippi State. The former center for the Mississippi State Bulldogs has been getting his Lafayette Commodores ready to match up with the Poplarville Hornets. Saturday's game will be played at Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, Fair's former stomping grounds, but all of that is secondary to winning the MHSAA Class 4A state title. “We could play this thing in a Wal-Mart parking lot

Lafayette vs Poplarville Kickoff: Saturday 3 p.m. Radio: 105.1 FM and I would be just as excited,” Fair said. “It's going to be neat, but I haven't really had a lot of time to think about that. It will be nice once it's over with to look around and see how (MSU) has changed but

right now, we're focused on this team that we've got and what we have to do to be successful against Poplarville.” The title matchup features two teams that like to run the ball. And that may be an understatement. The Hornets average over 300 yards on the ground, while the Commodores feature a 2,000-yard rusher in Jamarcus Quarles and average over 230 yards per contest. The key for Lafayette, according to Fair, is to win the early downs against the Hornets, who could easily eat time off the clock with its offense. “This team doesn't mind

grinding a drive out that last 12 to 15 plays,” Fair said. “That could mean a limit to the possessions that we have so we have to get them off the field and we have to make the most of our possessions.” In a few games this season, the Commodores have shown a tendency of feeling an opponent out. Fair said that can't happen Saturday and the way his team has finished games lately is the way they need to start against the Hornets. “We can't afford to do that. Out of the gate, we have to come out and really be ready to play,” Fair said. “We have been finishing

real well and we have start a football game like that. I think that will be important for us.” Last week, Poplarville scored on its first play from scrimmage in a win over Florence in the 4A south state title game. “What they do, and the speed that they do it at, it can take you a while to get used to the speed and the fakes and their misdirection package,” Fair said. “That means we have to do a better job of simulating that in practice this week. I think these are two really good football teams that are well coached on both sides. I think all the little

things are going to come into play, probably more than they usually do. I'm talking about field position and of course turnovers and special teams. I think those type things are really going to come into play Saturday.” EXTRA POINTS For fans who won't be able to attend Saturday's title game, they can watch the game on TV through Comcast Channel 30 out of Memphis and WCBI out of Columbus for those that have that channel. Tickets at the gate will cost $15. Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd





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son and mistake prone at the end. They were consistently inconsistent, which is not what Freeze or any coach needs to FROM 14 have in the SEC. As prolific as quarterback Chad Kelly award, given annually to the nation's top was the past two years, and as exciting as tight end. How can the player that was Shea Patterson can be, if you can't play leading the SEC in receptions and yards defense in this conference, or college heading into the last week not be one of football period, you will never be much the final three tight ends up for the better than a team that wins 7 games in a award? That was another decision that season. The defense carried the 2014 perplexed me in a season that was filled team to Atlanta, not the offense. And last with more questions than answers. Ole Miss ended the season ranked No. year, when the offense was more potent under Kelly, the defense started to dip 110 in the nation in total defense. The and prevented the Rebels from making it Rebels allowed 461.3 yards per game to to the SEC title game. opponents. They also gave up 50 touchIf Ole Miss is ever going to get back downs in 12 games to opponents. They allowed 34 points per game, a figure that into the discussion about competing for ranked No. 100 in the nation. In 2014, the the SEC West and overall SEC titles, year the Landsharks ate everyone up, the Freeze has to fix the defense. He has to hire a coordinator who can not only find defense only allowed 16 points per contalented recruits, but get the returning test. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack players to improve. Wesley McGriff is a announced his retirement before the Egg name that has been circulated about for the role of DC. Charlie Strong, fired from Bowl. He had been thinking about it for two years. Even if he hadn't made the call his head coaching gig at Texas, is another. to hang it up, it was clear that the defense Whoever it ends up being, the defense can't be at this level in 2017 or beyond. had to go in a different direction. Wommack did a good job here, just like he has Teams that win championships play good defense. It's that simple. at other stops, but his defenders just Patterson needs an improved defense couldn't get the job done over the course of the season. It was amazing to see how to help aid his development. The offense can't do it by themselves. When you're a unable the linebackers were at lining up correctly and making a tackle. The defen- 5-7 team, there is a lot to fix. A healthy roster will help. Fewer dropped balls will sive backs got faked out time and time also. But a much better defense is the again by opposing quarterbacks. It was biggest key to turning this program hard to understand why they couldn't learn from their mistakes, especially late around. If that doesn't happen, expect more frustration. And possibly some in the season when many had played even bigger changes. multiple games. When you have a defense that has such abysmal rankings, mistakes are never corrected. Ole Miss was mistake prone at the start of the seaTwitter: @oxfordcitizenjd





Howell an original member of Oxford Chargerettes BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

Ansley Howell has been on the dance floor since the age of 2, which means basically as long as she has been able to walk, she has been dancing. Howell, a senior at Oxford High, has been on the Chargerettes since the team was created four years ago. She is one of only three who can claim such distinction as being an original member. “I love it. Every year coming back it gets even better,” Howell said. “This year, with it being my last year, I'm trying to take it to state and trying to help us win.” Football has wrapped up for the dance team, and it's on to basketball now. Howell was one of the Chargerettes who performed during breaks of the Lady Chargers' basketball tournament held in the gym just before the Thanksgiving break. “I think we're progressing really nicely, even with all of the new girls that we have, we do a lot of technique stuff and our team is full of technical dancers,” she said. “I think we're doing really, really well.” Howell performed a solo dance during the basketball game. Howell learned the moves during an Ole Miss Rebelette camp. She went to the camp with teammate Nina Page. “We learned it and brought it back for the team,” said Howell, who likes hip hop and the sass of jazz.

Howell enjoyed dancing at the football games this season. She likes pumping up the team along with the band and the cheerleaders, the others that play a role in the spirit squads. “It's really a fun experience, especially when you're doing it with all of your friends,” she said. The seniors stick together pretty closely and Howell is close with many of them because they all have been dancing with each other for so many years. “We danced at Deborah Kaye School of Dance first and then we split and then all started dancing at Oxford School for the Performing Arts,” Howell said adding she had plans to try out for the Rebelettes in the fall. “I go to all the Rebelette camps and (Rebelettes coach) Carly (Cryer) she was one of the judges on one of the previous years of dance team. Sometimes she comes to the other studio and tries to help us with different technical stuff.” Howell has plans to major in hospitality management or exercise science when she is at Ole Miss. When Howell was in middle school, she played basketball but that switched to the dance team once she arrived in high school. “I was so nervous but I'm so glad that I was able to experience it all four years,” Howell said. Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd

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Shane Ard was retained from the prior staff to coach the wide receivers. Nacoma James, Wayne Davis and Jimmy Murphrey were also part of the prior staff and each help out on Friday nights as well as help coach the middle school Commodores, the ninth graders and junior varsity. “The middle school coaches do a tremendous job, too. They are a big part of what we do game plan-

ning and what we do on Friday nights,” Fair said. Lafayette is one win away from capturing a third MHSAA Class 4A state title in school history. This is the fifth trip to the state title game for the school since 2009. Being in the title game was all part of Fair's vision from the start. “I said that from the first day that this was the plan, the blueprint that we had. This is what we wanted to have happen,” Fair said.

“It's hard for me to be real surprised because this is something I had planned. I would be real surprised if it didn't happen. That's how I look at it. I don't agree that it's going to take time to build it. The players were here. We brought in the best coaching staff I had ever been around, let's get this thing done now. That's the mentality we've had all year.” Fair is a winner, a man who focuses on winning

every game and having his team play like there is no tomorrow. “Who knows what the future holds. I know we're moving up to 5A but I fully expect to be very competitive next year,” Fair said. Only two teams from the north in 4A have played in the annual state title game, and one of them is Lafayette. “We take a lot of pride in that and a lot of that happened before I got here,”

Fair added. “That's why this place is so special. That's why I'm here. This is a great place for my children to grow up and football is still very important because it's not at a lot of places. But at Lafayette High School, it is. It's important to this community and they take a lot of pride in it. This the place I want to coach.”

GAME 1 Alabama vs. Florida SEC title game

GAME 2 Colorado vs. Washington Pac 12 title game

GAME 3 Temple at Navy

GAME 4 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

GAME 5 Wisconsin vs. Penn State Big Ten title game

GAME 6 Clemson vs.Virginia Tech ACC title game

GAME 7 Western Michigan vs. Ohio MAC title game

GAME 8 Kansas State at TCU

GAME 9 San Diego State at Wyoming

GAME 10 Louisiana Lafayette at Louisiana Monroe

Coaches FROM 14

Academy. Lee coaches the defensive backs, while Norris and Jones coach the defensive line and quarterbacks, respectively. Jason Russell came over from Oxford to coach the offensive line and help out with the offensive game plan. Ben Ashley was hired to coordinate the defense, and coach the linebackers. Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd




Unsung Hero Gossett's move to center sparked Commodores' offense, run BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

When the 2016 season started, Luke Gossett was expecting to make catches as a tight end for the Lafayette Commodores. Four months later, with the MHSAA Class 4A state championship game on the horizon, Gossett is the starting center and the glue who holds a fantastic offensive line together. For the 6foot, 220-pound Gossett, baseball was on his mind when Michael Fair was first introduced as the new head coach of the Commodores. At the time, he was coming off an injury and only really focused on being the team's long snapper. “I wanted to concentrate on baseball and long snap. That's about it,” Gossett said. “Once I got here with the guys, I wanted to do whatever was best for the team.” Gossett's mindset changed during the summer in the workouts led by his new offensive line coach Jason Russell. He saw how hard everyone else was working, so he decided to give it all he had. When the Commodores struggled up front against Horn Lake, Russell and head coach Michael Fair looked to Gossett to change the outcome. He was asked to move from tight end to center, and his first start came against Grenada, the contest that sparked the Commodores into the magnificent run they have been on ever since. “We had an injury back in the preseason and we made the switch and we put him in at center and I think he has really solidified the group that we have up there,” Fair said. “He is just so fun to watch. A lot of times he's outmatched but he's scrappy. That's what sets him apart. He loves challenges. I pick on him all the time. I say 'You have a nose guard this week, are you scared?' He just smiles and says he's not. We have a bunch of those type guys on this team,” Fair added. “His


Lafayette senior Luke Gossett moved from tight end to center heading into the Grenada game and ended up being the one to link everything together for a very good unit. willingness to move to a new position that is a little less glamorous than where he was at tight end, where he had a chance to catch a ball every now and again to go to center, which is not as

glamorous of a spot, says everything about him. He never batted an eye. All he told me was whatever he had to do help the team win he was going to do.” The last time Gossett

played offensive line before this season was when he was in the eighth grade. Ever since his move, Russell said Gossett grades right at the top after each game. “If you could pick one or

two guys that is the MVP of this football team, I would say that Gossett is definitely one of those guys,” Russell said. “The reason for that is we were struggling on the offensive line early in the

season and we had to make some moves. Gossett stepped in. He can snap the football and week in and week out he's been one of our top performers. Without Luke doing what he did, and him changing over, I'm not sure we are where we are right now.” Gossett moving inside allowed Russell to move Drew Tapp out to left tackle, a spot he was much more comfortable with. The moves, overall, made the entire unit better. “He is a very good athlete and that helps him play the position. He bends well. He can be in the right position without a whole lot of fight in his body,” Russell said. “Really a lot of it is his grit, his determination as a football player. He is just not going to get beat. And if something is hurting, he's not going to tell me about it. He just wants to be out there and play hard with his brothers and go win a football game.” The praise is good for Gossett to hear, but it doesn't change the way he plays or looks at things. Gossett has been happy with how the line has performed overall. “We've gotten everything together and we're pushing in the right way,” Gossett said. “We had a lot of people doubting us at the start of the season when we went 0-2. We knew we were going to be good and we knew this team could get here. We gave it all and ended up where we expected to be. I'm ready to play (Saturday). I'm ready to see us do our best and get a win.” The first couple of weeks at center were rough, Gossett said, but when he figured things out, everything got better. “I'm starting to get it. I just try to do my best and I feel like I've been pretty consistent,” Gossett said. “I would say I'm better at pass blocking. I'm a little smaller, so it's a little tougher to block for the run.” Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd




Russell offers experience of playing in title game to LHS players BY JOHN DAVIS SPORTS EDITOR

Lafayette hasn't played in a state championship game since 2013. Every year since that season, LHS offensive line coach Jason Russell has been on the sidelines in a title contest. Russell was the offensive line coach on the Oxford High staff that led the Chargers to three straight championship games from 2013-2015. His experience in the big game is coming in handy now for the 12-2 Commodores, who will take on Poplarville in the MHSAA Class 4A state championship Saturday afternoon at DavisWade Stadium in Starkville. “One thing that we have preached to the kids, and we just got done telling them again, is that the goal isn't to just get there, the goal is to win it,” Russell said. “As good as the feeling was to win it this past Friday night when we won the north half championship, the feeling of losing a state championship is that much worse. I want to educate those kids on that.

their team,” Russell said. “You want them to understand what is right in front of them and take that extra step and go take it.” Heading into the contest, Russell liked the way his offensive line has been playing. The Commodores enter Saturday's game averaging 233.6 yards per game on the ground, while quarterback Will Ard has thrown for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns. “They're doing a fantastic job. I felt like last week was one of our lower group grades but that was a lot of credit to Pontotoc,” Russell said. “They had a great defensive line and they played phenomenal up front and with great effort. They did some things that made it very difficult on us. The week before, we came out and maybe had the best JOEY BRENT game of our entire season. Lafayette offensive line coach Jason Russell has experience coaching in a championship game. He is trying to pass that knowl- We're playing really well right now. I feel very confiedge on to the Commodores who will play Poplarville in the 4A title game Saturday. dent with the way our guys Making it is not the goal. If That's really tough to The experience, and how to where it's not some big prepare and playing right you want to feel some real watch.” approach the situation, spectacle but you also want now.” Every time Russell pre- should only benefit come your kids to understand the pain, watch those other players hoist the trophy at pared for the title game, he Saturday. importance of it and the the end of the football game. learned something different. “You want to approach it lasting implications of it on Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd




Poplarville's Hornets like to play old-school football BY JOHN DAVIS



Old-school football. That's the best way to describe the Poplarville Hornets and the style they play on both offense and defense. Coach Jay Beech employs an a Wing T offense and bases out of a 5-2 on defense. Both are rarities in today's football with all the spread offenses and 3-man fronts on defense. This is the first time that the Hornets (12-1) have played in any championship game, and Beech said the entire town is excited about it. “It's a dream come true at Poplarville. It's a very exciting time for us and we put a lot of hard work into this for the past five or six years,” said Beech, who has been at Poplarville the past six years, with three being head coach. “It's been building. Three years ago, we got to the third round and last year the second round. We've been knocking at the door a little bit and this year, we got on a roll and caught fire at the end.” Beech felt like the senior class was a real key. These are the players that have grown used to being in the playoffs. “They're just a good, strong class with a lot of experience. Those kids love to play football and they play hard,” Beech said. “They're not selfish and they play for each other. That's why we're here.” Poplarville has won 12 straight games since losing the season opener against St. Martin. Beech actually said that the Hor-

Poplarville Hornets nets lost that contest because of him as a number of players cramped up during the contest. Poplarville is averaging almost 380 yards per game on the ground. Austin Bolton leads the team with 1,701 yards and 21 touchdowns. Jesse Pernell has rushed for 1,614 yards and 26 touchdowns. When it comes to the Wing T, Beech said he is by the book. He learned the unique style of offense from Eric Collins. He said that the Hornets believe in it and they take pride in it. “They buy into it and it's what has gotten us here,” Beech said about the offensive style is very rare to find at any level of football. “The more the spread offenses has taken over high school football, the better it is for us.” The Hornets defeated Florence in the south state title game and Beech said that his team did a good job of blocking for each other. “We did a really good job of carrying out our fakes and playing unselfish football,” Beech said. “We scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 78-yard touchdown. That set the tone for us. We were able to score and go up 21-0 after

Ole Miss TE Evan Engram wins 2016 Conerly Trophy CLARKSDALE — Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram won the C Spire Conerly Trophy award on Tuesday night as the Magnolia state's most outstanding college football player in 2016. A senior from Powder Springs, Georgia, Engram is one of the top tight ends in the nation and the best in school history. He joins five other Ole Miss Rebels as former winners of the coveted award — quarterback Stewart Patridge (1997), running back Deuce McAllister (1999), quarterback Eli Manning (2001 and 2003), linebacker Patrick Willis (2006) and quarterback Bo Wallace (2012). Engram received the trophy during a special awards program Tuesday night in Clarksdale at the Clarksdale Country Club.

He beat out nine other finalists, representing each of the 10 football-playing universities and colleges in the. The other finalists were Alcorn State LB Darien Anderson, Belhaven QB Hunter McEachern, Delta State RB Chris Robinson, Jackson State DE/LB Javancy Jones, Millsaps DL Alex Foust, Mississippi College WR/KR Marcel Newson, Mississippi State WR Fred Ross, Mississippi Valley State QB Austin Bray and Southern Miss RB Ito Smith. Engram, who started all 11 games as a team captain before missing the Egg Bowl with a hamstring injury, is the nation's leading tight end with 5.9 catches per game and 84.2 receiving yards per game. He ranks top three among all Southeastern Conference players of any position in

both catches and yards per game. His eight touchdowns are tied for second nationally among tight ends. Engram holds Ole Miss records for most catches, yards and touchdowns in a season and a career by a tight end. He is the nation's active leader among tight ends with 2,320 career receiving yards. In 2016, he racked up 65 catches for 926 yards and eight TDs. Now in its 21st year, the Conerly Trophy presented by C Spire Wireless is named after the late Charlie Conerly - the only football inductee in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame who was an AllAmerican at a Mississippi university, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro member and quarterbacked a team to a world championship.


Poplarville head coach Jay Beech has a lot of respect for the Lafayette Commodores. The Hornets run a Wing T on offense and base out of a 5-2 on defense. the first quarter. Our defense, a lot of people talk about our offense, but we have a championship-caliber defense. “I'm proud of those guys on defense. They're really tough and they know where they're going. A lot of them are three-year starters on that side of the ball. They've been through the fire so to say. They've made some mistakes over the years, but this year it looks like we

have eliminated a lot of those.” Beech was very complimentary of Lafayette and the job that Michael Fair and his staff have done this season. The Commodores haven't faced a Wing T team, and Beech said that he didn't know what to expect from them on defense. “It's hard to find film where they have played anybody like us so we don't know what to expect because we've only seen them defend spread offenses,” Beech said. “They're an outstanding football team that is very well coached. They look good in their football pads, I know that. They will be the best team we've played this year by far.” The Hornets have won 12 straight games heading into the matchup with the Commodores. Beech said the only loss was his fault. “I think we had seven starters go down with cramps. It was 15-14 at the half and we moved the ball well but we came out in the third quarter and had both running backs cramp on the sideline by me,” Beech said. “We just didn't do a good job of hydrating them the way we're supposed to and we changed a lot of things after that game. We went to forcing them to drink two Gatorades after every practice and bananas and things of that nature. After that, we didn't have that problem anymore, so I'll take that first one.” Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjd



The Seahawks won the 10-12 Oxford Park Commission flag football title this fall. The team included: front row, l. to r. Steven Thornton, Deacon Downs, Drew Carter, Logan Williams, Nathan Harrison, middle row, l. to r., Brandon McCluskey, Davis Peterson, Luke Wiggington, Rowan Gordon, Chris Finner and back row, l. to r. assistant coach Jason Williams, assistant coach Jody Harrison, head coach Mark Downs. Not Pictured is Townes Hogue.





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Oxford December 1, 2016  
Oxford December 1, 2016