The Student Athlete of the Week is a special segment airing weekly on WCBI News. Each week an exceptional high school athlete's special talent for their sport or sports is showcased.

Recent Student Athletes of the Week

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Posted by Mark Dondero | September 05, 2012 / 09:56pm | 0 comments

Tez Lane was a 1,000 yard rusher for the West Point Green Wave. Lane handles the ball even more now, just at a different position. Head Coach Chris Chambless thought one of his best offensive players should touch the ball as much as possible.

"We try to place people at different spots. That's where he's fitting in right now. He's doing a good job, accepted responsibility. He wants to get better and that's what's happening" Chambless said of Lane.

"At first I was nervous" Lane said. "Now the bugs are getting out of me. It texted Coach and the Offensive Coordinator Coach Grisham and said I want that position."

Now as Tez settles into his new position, he can shift his focus towards his biggest rival Starkville.

"We're going to go out play them hit them in the mouth and play that Green Wave Football."

Lane and West Point remains focused on achieving their eighth State Championship.

Posted by Mark Dondero | August 29, 2012 / 10:27pm | 0 comments

Austin Richardson isn't the biggest guy on the Victory Christian Football team at 5'5" 110lbs but the guy can play.

"Just got to get out there and do what you do you know? I have heart and I just want to show it" Richardson said.

He has scored twenty of the teams first sixty two points on the season. Richardson has also made a seamless transition from the home school ranks to Victory Christian as evidence by his 3.0 grade point average in his first year.

Richardson says he adapted well despite playing only flag football before joining the Eagles.

"Last year being my first year I was a little freaked out. It took some time" Richardson said.

His relationship with his teammates has helped his transition.

"We all work together and try to do everything we can as a team" Richardson added.

"He has really capitalized on his opportunity" said his Head Coach Chris Hamm.

Posted by Robby Donoho | August 08, 2012 / 08:25pm | 0 comments
FULTON, Miss. (WCBI) -- Itawamba AHS football has a rich tradition of winning titles and competing in the playoffs. For one, they've made the 4A playoffs the last 6 years.

With another playoff appearance last year comes high expectations for a senior class in 2012 that has won 26 games in their three years at IAHS.

But those expectations have now skyrocketed with the return of Fulton native Ashton Shumpert from Tupelo High School. Now, 1-4A could have a new division champion lurking with the talent and experience returning.

"Any time you get guys that played a lot the year before, there's no substitute for experience," head coach Toby Collums said. "We have a lot of guys on both sides of the ball that bring back a wealth of experience. We're going to rely heavily on that."

Before asking about Shumpert returning, coach Collums said his team this year didn't have any superstars to look to. He managed to pause for a second and think about that a little more.

"Any time you can add a guy like Ashton Shumpert on your team, it makes you better instantly. Not just because he's a freak athlete, but because Ashton is also a great kid."

"He's going to make a major impact for us," said senior quarterback Tyler Dossett. "We can dish him the ball at any time and he's going to make a play and score. He can play anywhere on the field."

That added talent to an offense that averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground only makes the Indians that much more dangerous in 2012.

And for Shumpert, being back close to home is a welcome addition.

"I'm excited to be back in my hometown. Playing in front of my friends and family will give me that warm feeling I hope that can translate on the field and make me play better."

If he can play any better than his near 1,000 yard season last year while sitting out close to half the season due to injury at Tupelo, the Indians may just see their expectations rise past skyrocket status and into the stratosphere.

Posted by Robby Donoho | August 01, 2012 / 09:16pm | 0 comments
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -- Being around the first practice of the season for the Heritage Academy football team, things have certainly changed.

For one, there's a new coaching staff roaming the field led by Barrett Donahoe. That new staff has even implemented changes ranging from the offense all the way down to how the Patriots huddle.

Everything is new about the Heritage Academy football team. But one thing hasn't changed: the importance of victory to the Pats, who return a strong and experienced team for 2012.

"We have a lot of seniors on our football team this year," said Coach Donahoe. "We're going to dress 15 seniors which is good for our division.

"We feel like we have a skilled group of guys from a speed standpoint and we can run with a lot of the teams. We want to develop around our strengths and abilities."

Those strengths include quick and shifty players in the backfield, thus the move to an option-style attack through the pistol and wing-T formations on offense.

"Any time you have change like this you're going to see some transition in schemes," said Donahoe. "Overall, we thing we're developing our scheme around the talent we have."

It will be a new-look Heritage Academy team for 2012 and the Patriots hope the changes on the practice field will lead to victories in games during this season.

Posted by Mark Dondero | July 25, 2012 / 06:05pm | 0 comments

Tupelo High School Football will be dealing with some inexperience this season but have a good spring to build off of. One area of strength will be their offensive line.

"A lot of our guys are big and fast. Obviously our backs, we'll have to replace Ashton, they've been working real hard and I think we'll be ready to play" he said.

Tupelo returns just four starters on the entire team from last years 6-6 playoff squad. One key returning player will be Quarterback Thomas Harris who saw some time last year at the position.


Posted by Mark Dondero | July 11, 2012 / 11:33pm | 0 comments

Aberdeen Football will be turning over a new leaf this fall. The Bulldogs lost their Head Coach and best player at the end of last season and are now forced into a transition year.

"The biggest goal is to win the gold ball but first we want to win the division then build up by each little step" said Justin Lucas.

Lucas also commented on the potential dissolving of Aberdeen Football " A lot of people wanted us to jump ship, go to Amory, or something like that. We stayed here though because we want to be Bulldogs. I've been a Bulldog since I've been young and I want to graduate a Bulldog."

His teammate Brandon Hodges added "It almost made me cry. I love football. I want to stay a Bulldog."

Posted by Mark Dondero | July 05, 2012 / 04:21pm | 0 comments
COLUMBUS, Miss (WCBI Sports) -- For the Lafayette Commodores football team, winning has become a bit of a habit as they are quickly approaching their 1,000th day since their last lose back in December of 2009. But if the Commodores want to 3-peat as state champions they should expect to face their fair share of tough tests.

With the lose of former head coach Anthony Hart, and long-time quarterback Jeremy Liggins, the road to 16-0 will not be an easy one. However even with a new quarterback and head coach, the mission to make it back to Jackson undefeated is not impossible.

Posted by Robby Donoho | May 30, 2012 / 04:12pm | 0 comments
(WCBI) -- A wild and exciting prep sports season came to a close last week down in Jackson, and what a year its been for our area teams winning championships.

In football, Noxapater took us for a wild ride to Jackson as they claimed their first state title in school history.

Jeremy Liggins and Lafayette made it back to back 16-0 seasons, as the Commodores put themselves back in elite company.

Speaking of backs, New Hope softball is running out of room on their outfield wall. They added yet another slow-pitch softball crown.

The Starkville boys soccer team went on an unprecedented run to win the school's first soccer state championship.

In basketball, Belmont completed a wild comeback for the 3A title.

Speaking of wild comebacks, Pontotoc was down by ten with five minutes remaining before Kayla Russell banked in a 3 to send the Lady Warrior fans into a frenzy. All the while completing a perfect 34-0 season.

What about Starkville Academy? Not only did the Lady Vols win the MAIS Class AAA State Championship, they also won the overall title over the same team to finish a remarkable 37-5 season.

Add to that list of champions: Tupelo volleyball, Smithville and Houston fast-pitch, Bruce and Nanih Waiya baseball; who all won titles as well.

It's onto 2012-2013, and we expect to make more memories just like this year.

Posted by Robby Donoho | May 23, 2012 / 06:07pm | 0 comments
(WCBI) -- What a season it was for our area high school baseball and fast pitch softball teams. We had an amazing eight teams in the WCBI area that competed for a state championship

For some, they came up oh so close to winning it all.

Starkville Academy finished the season (23-11) but had a stand-out performance from Drew Pellum along the way.

New Hope was darn near unstoppable with Lauren Holifield on the circle, but couldn't come through in the 5A championship.

Nettleton had their run of three straight state championships come to an end, but it wasn't without a tremendous effort against St. Patrick's.

And the Hatley Lady Tigers were within one win of finishing off a storybook season in class 2A.

Along with our four runners-up, we had four teams win state championships in Jackson and Ridgeland.

The Houston Lady Hilltoppers won their first state championship in school history, and even took out the defending state champs Newton County.

Smithville yet again showed the heart of a champion by battling back after losing game one to win games two and three for the title.

The Bruce Trojans were once again on top in Jackson as they swept Taylorsville for the 2A crown.

And finally, Nanih Waiya won in dramatic fashion to make it back to back state titles.

2012 was certainly the year for North Mississippi baseball and softball. We can only hope the tradition continues in 2013.

Posted by Mark Dondero | May 16, 2012 / 08:56am | 0 comments

South Lamar's Softball Team has been through a lot in the last few years. They've been agonizingly close to a State Championship in the last three finishing as runner-up twice. This year the team hopes to breakthrough with a title, and they're working with additional inspiration.

"She's responded great the team has rallied around her and the team has said they want to win this for Lauren" said Head Coach Tony Seals.

Lauren Crimm, the girl Coach Seals referred to, was recently burned in a kitchen fire and has since been released from the hospital. Although the team will miss her production, she was the leading home run hitter before the incident, they miss her company more.

"It's amazing how we've come together as a family to pull through for Lauren so she can go through what she has to go through" said Junior Center Fielder and Lauren's best friend Jessica Wheat.

Wheat and the Lady Stallions will open up State Tournament play in Montgomery on Thursday against Kinston. Her and her teammates will be looking for their first State Championship, but they'll be thinking about their teammate.

Wheat added, "It's touched my heart in a way I can't say with her not being on the field it's different. I just miss her. She's the strongest person I've ever met in my life."

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