Sideline ViewBy DALE MCKEE,
Ole Miss football made a big splash in the hiring of Lane Kiffin. He cones to Oxford from Florida Atlantic bringing ten years of head coaching experience with the Oakland Raiders, the University of Tennessee and USC. He was also the offensive coordinator at Alabama for three years under Nick Saban. Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter closed the deal with Kiffin a lightning quick five days after the Rebels fired Matt Luke. Carter, who was just recently appointed as the permanent AD, might have hit a grand slam with the hiring of Kiffin.
LSU whipped Georgia to win the SEC championship this past weekend and in the process jumped Ohio State to the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. LSU will meet No. 4 Oklahoma in Atlanta in the Peach Bowl. Second seeded Ohio State will battle another undefeated team in Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Both of those games will be played on December 28 with the National Championship game set for January 13 in New Orleans.
Mississippi State will go bowling for the tenth straight year as they will battle Louisville in the Music City Bowl on December 30 in Nashville. USM will head to Fort Worth and will take on former rival Tulane Green Wave in the Armed Forces Bowl on January 4.
The Corinth Warriors have been playing football since 1912 and this past Saturday won their first state championship with a win over Poplarville in the MHSAA 4-A title contest. Another first time-champion was Oxford as the Chargers coached by Chris Cutcliffe, the son of former Ole Miss head football coach David Cutcliffe, led his team to a thrilling comeback win over Oak Grove in the 6-A contest. Then there was West Point winning over Picayune for their fourth straight 5-A championship and 11thin school history. The Wave tied South Panola for the most state titles in MHSAA history. Taylorsville captured their seventh state championship with a blowout win over Northside while Nanih Waiya won their second straight 1-A title with a romp over Lumberton. In 3-A play, Jefferson Davis County won their second title in three years since their school was consolidated. The Jaguars’ coach Lance Mancuso won his eighth state championship title with the 3-A title win.
Taylorsville junior quarterback Ty Keyes was named the Gatorade Player of the Year. The Mississippi Coaches Association also named Keyes the 2-A Player of the Year. Other players of the year were Robert Henry of Lumberton as the 1-A selection and Kentrell Bullock of Columbia as the 3-A selection. Ike Chandler of Itawamba AHS claimed the 4-A award while Randy Anderson of Lafayette was the 5-A winner and McKinnley Jackson of George County was the 6-A selection.
The 33rdannual Mississippi/Alabama All-Star football game will be played at noon this Saturday on the campus of USM. Mississippi has won two of the last three in the series and is 2-0 in hosting the event in Hattiesburg.
Odds & Ends
Alcorn won the SWAC championship with over Southern University. The Braves will now head to Atlanta for the Celebration Bowl on December 21 to battle North Carolina A&T.
Gulf Coast Community College claimed their fifth national football championship with a win over Lackawanna College (Pa.) last week.
Mississippi State’s Kylin HIll, the SEC leading rusher, won the 2019 C Spire Conerly Trophy, given to the state’s top college football player, last Tuesday.
Former Laurel Tornado Omar Bayless is the leading receiver in the nation playing for Arkansas State. Bayless (6-3, 215) leads the country with 1,473 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was recently named the Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves will play Florida International in Montgomery in the Camellia Bowl on December 21.
The San Francisco 49ers (11-2) won an instant classic as time expired on a field goal to edge the New Orleans Saints, 48-46. The Saints fall to 10-3 overall for the season.
Dale is a resident of Waynesboro that has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973.