State should be proud of colleges

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 1999

Mississippi is one of the smallest states population-wise, but college football-wise it’s one of the &uot;biggest.&uot;

Once again all three major college football teams in our great state will be appearing in post-season bowl games. Some might say that’s not exactly according to &uot;Hoyle,&uot; but it says tons about Mississippi 1A college football.

The entire post-season bowl picture won’t be officially filled in until Saturday, but Mississippi already knows that Conference-USA champion, No. 15 Southern Mississippi will be in Memphis’ Liberty Bowl against Colorado State, and that No. 16 Mississippi State and unranked Ole Miss will be &uot;in season&uot; come wintertime, otherwise known as bowl season.

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More about bowling later, but I’ve wanted since last Thanksgiving night to brag on the State-Ole Miss contest that was played in Starkville and featured on national television.

It was a jam-up great game, don’t you agree?

Actually, after feeling each other out for a few minutes, it was almost like the Bulldogs elected to defer to the Rebels, who romped on State pretty good before deferring to MSU. You know State then won it late.

The truth of the matter is that the Bulldogs and Rebels both have really good teams. True, the Rebels dropped out of the Associated Press’ Top 25, but all who saw the State-Ole Miss game know that it could have gone either way. And that’s not taking anything away from State, a 23-20 winner. That’s just football.

And how about the Tigers putting it all over Arkansas last week?! You now remind that that’s just football, and that’s right. I had a hunch LSU would rear up, but I didn’t see how the Bengals could beat a really good Arkansas team. Probably LSU will move back into &uot;SEC&uot; football next season. Just better watch ’em.

Les Henning, former Washington High, Copiah-Lincoln and Delta State athlete of renown, was also inducted into the Co-Lin Sports Hall of Fame recently along with Claude Porter, Alex Sandel and Iris Poole.

It was his football prowess that primarily took him into the Co-Lin &uot;Hall,&uot; but Henning had started and lettered in baseball, track, basketball and football at Washington High under coach Leslie Smith. That was in 1956-57.

The Oct. 23 Copiah-Lincoln – Wesson Homecoming ceremonies also noted that Les was Junior College All-State as well for the Wolves. After that, at Delta State he played football under Horace McCool, and (I think I have this straight) he was a Little All-American golfer at DSU.

Les now resides in Brookhaven; still a big sports fan, I understand. Of course, I couldn’t understand if he wasn’t, since I remember how gung-ho he always was in sports competition.

Hurried Hash – Louis Foster, many will recall, quarterbacked the late coach A. I. Rexinger’s second Natchez High School football team. The year was 1943, and The Rebels that season became NHS’ first post-season bowl team. Also, that team had the distinction of being the school’s first bowl winner, beating Kosciusko in Jackson’s Lions Bowl. Confident Louis Foster’s words on the radio after the NHS victory were: &uot;we were headed to another one (TD) at the last.&uot;

The late Harry Hall quarterbacked coach Rex’ first Rebel football team, and it wasn’t bad.

In fact, the Rebs that season were plenty good, with the late Ray Wise running wild at fullback. I had yet another reason for writing this. Here it is:

Thank you, Louis, for your kind words in a recent letter, which was so very meaningful and moving to me. And your &uot;The Sun, The Wind, and a Friend,&uot; great!