PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Miller parts the Red Sea, Lee County gets recognition

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

COLQUITT -- How old is the fieldhouse near the practice field in Colquitt, where the Miller County Pirates work out every day?

"It's pretty old,'' said Miller County coach Frank Killingsworth. "There's a name on the wall from one of the earlier players. It says 'Moses.' I think one of the first teams they played was against the Egyptians.''

The old fieldhouse seems to work for the Pirates, who look more and more like the team to beat in Region 1-A. The kids and coaches have to drive across town every day to practice, but no one is complaining, especially in a bye week following the Pirates' dramatic last-second 28-22 win against Northview (Ala.) when they won on a running play.

Instead of throwing a Hail Mary -- like just about every team on the planet would do -- Killingsworth went to the Truck. That's what they call the play.

Killingsworth said he knew it would work.

"We take our biggest lineman Jarrett Rahymes, who is about 6-4 and 250 and Juwan Jones, who is about 6-2 and 220, and have them both pull out in front to lead the way for (Shaq Edwards). We call it Truck, cause it's like a truck rolling through. When we get it going, it kind of looks like a convoy.''

STATE POLL UPDATE: Lee County has a bye week this week, but the Trojans gain a little ground -- and respect -- after their 3-0 start. They received a vote in the Class AAAA state poll. It wasn't enough to crack the Top 10, but it's a beginning, and it after going 2-18 the past two years, a vote in the state poll could go a long way to help the confidence of the Trojans.

Monroe also received a vote in the Class AAA state poll. The Tornadoes are 3-0 and meet Brooks County on the road this week, but face their biggest test of the season on Sept. 24 when they travel to No. 3 Cairo.

If Monroe pulls off the upset against Cairo, the Tornadoes could make a statement to be ranked in the top five in the state.

OPEN AIR: Is it time for a retractable roof at Hugh Mills?

Albany High lost a tough, 23-14, game to Monroe last Saturday when the game was called because of lightning with 2:30 left in the third quarter. The two teams waited almost two hours before the officials decided to finally call the game at Hugh Mills Stadium.

It's an official win for Monroe, which led only 16-14 at halftime, because it was a non-region game. But it left both teams wondering what would have happened.

"I wish we would have kept playing to see what the final score would have been,'' said Monroe quarterback Devine Noel, who threw a 52-yard TD pass and ran for two touchdowns, a 23-yarder and a 10-yarder which both came on third-and-long plays.

Albany wanted to finish the game, too.

"I really think we could have come back and won the game,'' Albany High quarterback Emmanul Byrd said afterward. "It's the way it goes, and we will have to learn from this and get better. We played better tonight (than in the loss to Westover in Week 2) and that's what's important, that we are getting better.''

Byrd led Albany 65 yards on the first drive of the night and appeared to be ready to have a big night. He hit Jeconiah Jackson for a 51-yard catch-and-run play to Monroe's 13 yard line, and then found Rantiez Williams for a 9-yard TD.

Byrd, a sophomore, drove the Indians to inside Monroe's 10 late in the second quarter, before Monroe's Erron Grant came up with a big-time play to intercept the ball. He returned the interception to the 27, but Albany's Calvin Jackson had the answer when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a TD. Daniel Castaneda's PAT made it a 16-14 game.

"Give Albany credit,'' Monroe coach Charles Truitt said. "They played us tough. It was a dogfight.''

Monroe's win against Albany gives the Tornadoes the early lead with Westover in the city-rivalry. Monroe is 1-0, Westover, which beat Albany two weeks ago, is also 1-0. Albany, which opened the season with a 17-16 win against Dougherty on a last second field goal, is 1-2. Dougherty is 0-1.

Westover faces Dougherty on Sept. 24 in a huge game, and Monroe will wait to get back in the city rivalry. The Tornadoes end their season with two city-rivalry and two Region 1-AAA games, playing Dougherty on Oct. 30 and finishing the regular season with Westover on Nov. 6.