It’s time to clear out the high school sports notebook and catch up on some things in the Pine Belt and beyond:
•Casey Cain has been a big part of the success Oak Grove has enjoyed in football over the past 14 seasons, arriving with Nevil Barr in 2001, and helped immediately turn the Warriors’ fortunes around as longtime defensive coordinator.
Now, Harrison Central is hoping Cain can bring some of that magic to a program that has been the picture of mediocrity the past few years.
Cain was named as the coach of the Red Rebels earlier this week and he told the Sun-Herald newspaper he hopes to run similar schemes as what has been used at Oak Grove to such great success, that is, up-tempo on offense and attacking on defense.
“I think you have to fit your personnel,” Cain said in a report that appeared in the Sun-Herald on Wednesday.
“This first year, we’ll tweak some things, but that’s going to be our base. I’ll know more once I meet the kids and see them run around a little bit.”
Cain replaces Steve Jones, who retired after posting a 16-18 record in three seasons with the Red Rebels.
In other football coaching news, Columbia High has promoted James Harvey to fill its head coaching position after Walter Denton retired last year. Harvey has been a longtime assistant with the Wildcats’ program.
Also, Lumberton has turned to a former Panther player and assistant as its new head coach, hiring Zach Jones to replace Brian Ford, who moved on to Neshoba Central after last season.
Jones played for Lumberton in the late 1990s and was an assistant under Teddy Dyess, then followed Dyess to Philadelphia in 2007 as an assistant.
•The MHSAA State Powerlifting championships were held this past Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, and four Pine Belt athletes, three from Oak Grove and one from Hattiesburg, won state championships in their weight class.
In the Class 6A boys 114-pound class, Alex Smith of Oak Grove topped the field with a total weight of 885 pounds. He had a best of 320 in the squat, 205 in the bench press and 360 in the deadlift.
Oak Grove’s Jalyne Quinn was first in the 6A 148-pound class with 1,285 pounds. He had a 520 in the squat, 255 in the bench and 510 in the deadlift.
In the 6A boys 275-pound class, Antonio Baggett of Hattiesburg was the champion with a total of 1,450. He finished with bests of 575 in the squat, 275 in the bench and 600 in the deadlift.
On the girls side, Armani Woodard of Oak Grove won the 220-pound class with a total of 800 pounds. She had a lift of 255 in the squat, 140 in the bench and 405 in the deadlift.
Gavin to nationals
•Petal High sophomore forward Kennedy Gavin will compete in the USA National Championship 3×3 tournament next weekend at Colorado Springs, Colo.
Gavin, a 6-foot-1 forward, will play with other members of her AAU team, the AL Southern Starz: Erin Boley, Shaqueria Wade and Nia Hollie. Boley has committed to Notre Dame, Wade has signed with Alabama and Hollie is among the top recruits in this year’s junior class.
The group recently won a regional championship to advance to the national tournament, which will begin next Friday. If the team wins the national title, it will compete in the World Championships later this summer in Hungary.
•Callaway High basketball star Malik Newman is expected to officially announce his college choice at noon Friday in an exclusive interview with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
However, numerous reports Wednesday say Newman has already signed financial aid papers at Mississippi State, reports that Newman’s family has denied.
Newman, a 6-foot-4 guard, is one of the nation’s top recruits and led the Chargers to four consecutive Class 5A state titles. He averaged 29.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists this past season.
He had been expected to choose between Kentucky, Ole Miss, Kansas, LSU, MSU or North Carolina State for what will probably be just one season of college ball.
Contact Stan Caldwell at (601) 584-3137, on Twitter at StanMan1717 and on e-mail at scaldwell@hattiesburg american.com.