Natchez can be proud of Strickland

Published 12:43 am Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Natchez can be proud of the success of yet another native son. Ronnie (Cuz) Strickland has become a senior vice president of Mossy Oak Company in West Point.

Mossy Oak is a world-wide leader in outdoor equipment, and Ronnie has been an integral part of that success for several years. Many will remember that Ronnie got his start writing outdoor columns in The Natchez Democrat.

He had followed in the footsteps of his late father, Al Strickland, who wrote for The Democrat for a number of years. Ronnie and his wife, the former Pam Dennis of Natchez, now make their home in West Point.

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The Viking Classic Golf Tournament, under the auspices of its Century Club Charities, presented a check for $140,000 to The Friends of Children’s Hospital, for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.

Few realize that PGA Golf Tournaments must not only provide prize money, but all must make contributions to their named charities. When money raised through ticket sales and sponsorships fails to reach that point, it must be made up, usually by the main sponsors.

Saturday night Florida beat Alabama for the Southeastern Conference championship. The margin of 31-20 was not as much as many had predicted, but Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide is a good team.

Florida will have a tough time with Oklahoma, and I don’t think Alabama would have matched up nearly as well against the Sooners. The only strange officiating call I noticed actually seemed to give an advantage to Alabama.

Florida had the ball inside Alabama’s 1-yard line, but drew a five yard penalty for sideline interference. On the next play, Florida’s Tim Tebow threw a five yard pass for the clinching score.

I heard about a strange officiating call the other day. It seems a player, running up to try to field a short punt, began waving his teammates away from the ball. One of the officials flagged him for an invalid fair catch signal. The rule clearly states: “A signal given by a player of team B who has obviously signaled his intention by extending one hand clearly above his head and waving that hand from side to side more than once.”

Since there is no longer an “illegal fair catch” I can not imagine what that official thought he saw. I do not know if the player was standing upright or was on the ground, but that should not matter.

Those who watched some of the State High School Championship playoff games Friday and Saturday know that at least two of those games were impacted by missed extra points or field goals.

Noxubee County won when D’Iberville missed a field goal in the final moments of the Class 4A game, and Meridian could have beaten South Panola in regulation time had their kicker made a short field goal in the closing seconds of that game. Meridian’s overtime win got their kicker off the hook.

Both of those teams missed extra points in regulation that might have changed the outcome. Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, where those games were played, is the home of Jackson State University. In college football, the goal posts are 18 feet, 6 inches apart, while high school rules call for 23 feet, 4 inch spacing. The goal posts were changed from the college to high school spacing for the championship games, however.

Sunday was “Remember Pearl Harbor Day.” Let us never forget the sacrifices made by so many so that we can enjoy the freedom of reading and writing about our pleasures.

And, that’s official.

Al Graning writes a weekly column for The Democrat.