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Choice of Totten good one

By Staff
Dec. 26, 2001
Writing words of wisdom on a Wednesday while wondering whatever happened to Warren Oates …
The Mississippi Valley State University football program picked up its first win of the year last week when Willie Totten was hired as the new head coach of the Delta Devils.
Valley went 0-11 on the field during the 2001 season and Totten, who played quarterback for the Delta Devils from 1982-1985, is being asked to turn things around at the Itta Bena school.
It won't be that easy, but it can be done. Not since the days of former Valley head coach Archie The Gunslinger' Cooley have the Devils been much of a threat on the football field.
But quick improvement in the SWAC can happen in just one season. Alcorn State is a good example of that, turning an 0-11 2000 season into a 6-5 record this year. But even when Valley had Totten and Jerry Rice it didn't win the SWAC. Alcorn and Jackson State were also strong during that time and were thorns in Valley's side, just as they are today.
Totten does have the history and the desire, not to mention the name, so choosing him to lead the program seems like the logical thing to do.
It is test time for Northeast, West
The boys basketball teams of Northeast Lauderdale and West Lauderdale have had strong seasons thus far, but both will get stern tests today when they take part in the Jackson Public Schools/Pepsi Holiday Tournament.
Northeast Lauderdale, 11-2, takes on Jackson Callaway at 4:30 p.m. in a first-round game at Jackson Provine High School. Playing at 3 p.m. at the same gym will be 12-3 West Lauderdale and Warren Central High School.
The JPS event is one of the most prestigious regular season basketball tournaments in Mississippi.
All-Area football team to be announced
The Meridian Star All-Area Football Team will be announced on Monday.
The team will be chosen by myself and sports writer Marty Stamper. Nominations were welcomed from all area high school football coaches. The Star has already announced its fall All-Area Softball Team. Boys and girls soccer teams, as well as baseball and spring softball teams and boys and girls basketball teams will be chosen.
Saints' slight hopes
for playoffs very dim
The New Orleans Saints lost much more than a football game when they were pummeled 48-21 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. They also lost reasonable hope for a spot in the playoffs.
The Saints must win their next two games and hope the Buccaneers lose their next two in order to even have a glimmering hope. But even a 9-7 finish for the now 7-7 Saints would make it tough to get in. St. Louis, San Francisco, Chicago and Green Bay have already claimed four of the NFC's six playoff spots, with the NFC East winner either Philadelphia or the New York Giants getting the fifth one. That leaves just one spot and the 8-6 Bucs have the edge over the field.
Austin Bishop is regional sports director of the East Mississippi Group and oversees the direction of four sports departments, including The Meridian Star. You can e-mail him at abishop@themeridianstar.com or reach by phone weekday mornings at 693-1551, ext. 3234.

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