Eli still class even when he’s gone

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Ole Miss’ Eli Manning won’t allow writers to express doubts about next season’s quarterback. That is, he figures Michael Spurlock is ready to step in as the Rebel signal caller and overall offensive leader for 2004. And says so.

One fan did bring out a valid point &045; &8220;But what about those other 20 seniors leaving Vaught-Hemingway Stadium?&8221; You know, Eli has thought about it, and his words concerning Spurlock are still encouraging.

On the other hand, I’ve never known a graduating senior to cast any doubts as to his successor’s ability. But it’s my understanding Michael Spurlock is indeed far along in the art of quarterbacking coach David Cutcliffe’s Rebels.

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A place in the sun even for a little while is always appreciated, and teams like Ole Miss like to just threaten front runners now and then. And there’s just so much one can write in cases like this one. Not casting any aspersions, now.

Then as regards Mississippi State baseball, six position starters returned this season for the Bulldogs, but things are tough all over when it comes to baseball in the SEC.

But tradition &045; how about tradition? &045; has it that the baseball Bulldogs will be testy almost every season. State has a rich baseball tradition, that’s just all there is to it. Show the ‘Dogs the game you want played, and watch their smoke. Tradition.

You know, baseball in most high school conferences used to be a stepchild. It’s not quite that way these days, but to a degree it still is, too.

At any rate, baseball is, after all, called the national pastime, so we’re talking big-time stuff whether you like to think of baseball in that mold or not. I guess the game has been here almost forever and will be forever more. ‘Nuff said.

Alabama would have to jump on Mississippi State and break MSU’s eight-game winning streak this past Saturday. Again, that’s the way the ball bounces all along. Coach Rick Stansbury’s Bulldogs still continued to lead the SEC, but it hurt to lose, you know. And before a national TV audience and the fourth-largest crowd in State’s history, no less.

Another thing, 13-10 (5-7 in the conference) Alabama won in the state for the first time in 12 tries under coach Mark Gottfried, in his sixth year at ‘Bama.

It hurts to lose at home, but gentleman Rick Stansbury was sure a gentleman in defeat. Stansbury, in fact, is getting to be the hero of Mississippi State athletics. Good sportsmanship to go with good coaching will do that every time.

Hurried Hash &045; Did I ever tell you about a Natchez High-McComb High basketball game somewhere (I’m having trouble nailing down the exact site) that was so one-sided it was embarrassing?

I think, though, the game was played at the City Auditorium here, but in my scorebook notes I only say &8220;it was a nice crowd of about 500.&8221; Actually, the game was a rout in NHS’ favor ending up 67-16.

Gotta end it today, so suffice to say that Tony Byrne hit eight fielders and canned four free throws. Remember ol’ Jack Benson? Well, he even scored eight points, Clyde Adams had 12 and I’m fuzzy after that. I had endless get-up-and-go back then.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.