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November 10, 2006: McComb at Picayune

Barry Harper

Dear Maroon Tide Nation,

Mr Meitzler gave me the week off from writing.

Roll Tide Roll.


Carey Meitzler

Indeed, I gave Barry the week off to rest, but I will share with you what he thought about the West Jones game.

Number 1 : Barry said that he and Cindy laughed so hard at me during the broadcast they were almost in tears.

Barry “claims” I got on our guys, praised them, and then lost it on Levi's interception return. He's probably right,

but what can I say. Moments like that are….are….priceless. It's even more meaninful when you know 'em like I do.

By the way, there's one thing I don't understand on Levi. Orgeron, Croom, Bower; what in the world are you waiting

on guys? 

Number 2 : After watching the game film with me on Saturday afternoon and seeing Big Jon pushing people

around like me and Rob Sigler at a buffet line, Barry just shook his head repeatedly in amazement.

Brutal. A couple of times, he would rewind the tape and just watch some of the plays over and over. He pointed out

some things that I didn't notice during the broadcast either.  By the way, in spite of it taking a long time to decide, we

both thought the officials got all of the crucial calls correct (touchback on the fumble, ineligible man downfield, and

their center moving the ball early)

Number 3: Barry said “Good teams lose when they play like the Tide did on Friday. Great teams find a way to win.”

He's probably right. Give credit to West Jones, but when it came down to it, the offense scored enough, but our defense

was the difference. As they used to say on Hee Haw, Salute!!!!!

I was reminded last week by a few of you that I left out my fan focus. Well, I'll try to get back on track. 

Every Thursday afternoon, a group of Tide mothers (and a grandmother) make their way to the Maroon Tide field house

and put a few “treats” in the lockers of the players, managers, and coaches. They also bring motivational cards and signs

to let the players know how much they are appreciated. A lot of preparation has already occurred by the time they make

their quick dash into the lockers while the team is concluding their last practice of the week. The players look forward to

returning to their lockers to see what lies in store for them. Pam Ruffin, Cyndi Cook, Amy Hickman, Tish Hickman,

Rocky Stockstill, and a host of others behind the scenes make it happen each week. Thanks.


Also, I wanted to remind everyone to wear your Maroon for Friday's game. Former baseball standout Rhyne Hughes

called me on Friday before the game with the idea and reminded me after the game. I hope to look across from our hut

and observe a “sea of maroon”.


The opponent this week is a very, very, good McComb Tiger team. Before I discuss the Tigers, I want to give you a little

data on the McComb radio crew of Robbie Hamilton and Will Watson. I've known since I started broadcasting for WRJW

back in the mid 90s.. I look forward to seeing them before and after the game.  Both are good folk. (I know that last

sentence is driving Ms. Stough crazy...actually I don't think it is a sentence.)


Robbie has been the voice of the McComb Tigers for a long time, has served as the voice of the Southwest CC Bears,

currently does Co-Lin football and baseball, and if that's not enough, he took on the role of play by play for Delta State

University football this season. Robbie is one of the best at any level. Last spring, he sat in with me on Picayune's South

State basketball championship win over Long Beach that was played in McComb. We had been wanting to do a game

together for a long time and the opportunity presented itself and we had a great time. Robbie is a dear friend. We talk

often throughout the year and make it a point to get together for a meal whenever possible. We both like to eat and talk.

Will works as a sports writer as well as working radio with Robbie. Will was doing radio for Brookhaven back when

Barry and I had the Nicks at Night thing going on with Wash, Woodson, and Wilkes in the 90s. Will is one of the finest

Christian men you'll ever meet.  He is the king of cliches, but he always adds his own twist to make it 'em come out a

little different.


Offensively, McComb is led by tailback Demorius Stewart (1,502 yards and 20 touchdowns) and quarterback Alonzo Harris

(7 passing and 4 rushing TDs). Both can scoot (that means they're fast). They are real big up front on offense and their defense

is extremely quick, especially the corners and safeties. They will be a handful.


For the Tide to win, our defense has to contain McComb's speed. They will show us a lot of different looks. They are a

well coached team under the direction of Randy Martin, who is in his second year at the helm. Martin was the architect back in

the 90s of the good teams at Northeast Jones. He has this bunch of Tigers really clicking. McComb has only lost to Madison

Central (32-29 in overtime on the road) and to Terry in their regular season finale (14-10 on the road). They had Terry beat,

only to have the ball stripped away inside the Tigers 10 yard line and returned for a touchdown late in the game.


Offensively, we'll have to keep them off balance and not allow them to dig in. I expect us to protect the football a lot better

this week. It appeared that the Maroon Tide had another solid week of preparation. I know our guys will be ready with what

is at stake.


Last week's game was as tough, maybe a little tougher, than most of us anticipated. But, Bill Hillery said it the Saturday

before that West Jones would bring their “A” game and they did. But, the Tide defense kept us in it and in the end, turned

in some big time plays to keep us in it. The “strip and scoop” by Chance Griffith and Levi Slaydon's incredible interception

return will be long remembered when this game is brought up.  Let's not forget about Coach Lee's decision to go for two.

Give him credit because it was a gutsy call and I think it woke up our crowd.  Let's not wait for a queue this week.

Here's hoping the Maroon Tide Nation is out in full force. Use your seat as a place to put your cold drink or purse or whatever else

you have with you; in other words stand up and be heard. If someone behind you doesn't like it when you stand

up and cheer, kindly ask them to stand up and join you in supporting our team. This is not the time to be sitting folks. 

It doesn't get much better than this.  Playoff home games with what looks like great weather for Friday.

Give me another Ground Hog Friday and I'll be content for another week.

May God Bless and Keep You................ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!!!!!