Vidalia native Michael Whitley is trading in his helmet for a headset.
Whitley has been named as a graduate assistant coach at Fort Valley State, a Division II school in Fort Valley, Ga.
Whitley, 24, will serve as an assistant coach over wide receivers.
“I had been looking on line, e-mailing and doing interviews,” Whitley said. “I never thought I would end up in Georgia. I had a few coaching opportunities, This is the only Division II school that contacted me.”
Whitley is also excited about working with Wildcat head coach Kevin Porter.
Fort Valley State finished 2-8 last year after finishing 5-5 in 2017, finishing first in the SIAC Eastern Division and made a second consecutive championship game appearance.
Porter was named SIAC Coach of the Year by his peers and eight players received All-Conference selections.
“He has had teams that led the nation in passing and loves to throw the football,” Whitley said. “This is a good opportunity for me to learn from one of the best.”
Whitley went from playing football at Vidalia High to Trinity Episcopal his senior year. After helping Trinity to a state title, Whitley went north after signing a scholarship with Lakeland University in Wisconsin.
After breaking records at Lakeland and earning several MVP awards, Whitley went overseas last year and played in Germany.
Whitley signed with the Western Michigan Ironmen indoor football team this past spring.
He played back-up quarterback, but threw two touchdown passes in the final four minutes, including the game-winner with nine seconds remaining to give the Ironmen a 44-37 win over crosstown rival Muskegon.
Whitley, a native of Vidalia, was starting in place of Alex Carder, who was being rested for the contest.
Whitley said he believes the Fort Valley job is the best job for him in the long run.
“I am learning the system now, and anxious to get started,” he said. “I’m going to see how this goes and push myself to hopefully becoming the full-time receivers coach. I hope to work with quarterbacks somewhere some day. But I’m going to take advantage of learning from the best right now.”
Whitley also admits he would love to coach high school football in the future.
As for his playing days, Whitley said that is up in the air.
“They said I can play with a team in Georgia,” Whitley said. “And Western Michigan invited me back. I’m going to wait until the spring to decide. I will have classes and recruiting taking up a lot of my time. If I played my last ballgame I’m OK with it. I put everything I had into it. But this has been my dream.”
Vidalia's Junior League All-Star Softball Team lost to Lake Charles in the finals of the state tournament held in Vidalia.
Lake Charles advances to the Southwestern Regional Tournament in Isleta, New Mexico.
Vidalia fell to Lake Charles 16-1 in its first game Friday, while Moss Bluff defeated Bossier 20-5.
Vidalia eliminated Bossier 17-2 Saturday before advancing to the finals with a 25-2 win over Moss Bluff.
Vidalia lost to Lake Charles 11-1 Sunday in the championship game.
Ferriday's Gators Dixie Debs team will compete in the Louisiana Debs State Tournament in Alexandria.
Ferriday plays Ward 10 Friday at 6 p.m. at Johnny Downs Complex.
If the Gators win they will play the winner of Madisonville-Bastrop Saturday at 11 a.m.
If they lose, they will play the loser of Alexandria-Loranger Saturday at 11a.m.
Winnsboro received a bye.
The Gators won the state championship in 2016 and 2017.
Last year, Ferriday finished fourth in the Dixie Debs World Series, falling to eventual World Series champion Alexandria.
That tournament was played in Alexandria.
Ferriday fell to Rayville in the state finals last year.
Vidalia is hosting the Senior League State Softball Team July 20 at the Recreation District 3 Complex.
Lake Charles and Eastbank are the only two teams competing.
The Senior League Region Tournament will be held in Pineville beginning Saturday.
The Senior League World Series is being played in Lower Susex, De.
Alfred Davis knows the key to success when it comes to coaching.
“You have to have patience,” Davis said from the Ferriday Football Camp Friday.
Patience has paid off for Davis at traditional junior college power Hutchinson Community College, who was promoted to defensive co-cordinator before last season, and has now been promoted to associate head coach.
“Most young dudes are too ambitious,” Davis said. “They won’t be patient. That’s paid off for me. You just have to wait your time and keep putting in the work. I just turned 29 and I’m a young African-American who is an associate head coach at a top 10 junior college. I’ve been empowered with recruiting and I’ve signed 40-plus kids in two years. It’s the small stuff that always adds up. I’m also handling our weight program.”
Hutchinson, the alma mater of New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, went 7-5 to years ago in Davis’ first year, falling to Eastern Arizona College 48-34 in the Salt City Bowl.
The Blue Dragons had 33 players sign college scholarships.
Seven defensive playes signed with Division I schools.
Davis had defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt sign with Georgia.
Tayland Humphrey, considered the top JUCO defensive tackle in the country, signed with Florida International over Alabama.
Last year, Hutchinson went 9-3, finishing No. 8 in the nation.
Fresh off a Salt City Bowl victory on Saturday, the Hutchinson football team earned its first Top 10 final NJCAA ranking in four years on Monday.
The 9-3 and Salt City Bowl champion Blue Dragons was ranked No. 8 in the final NJCAA Rankings released by the national office on Monday. The Dragons snap a three-season drought of finishing out of the final rankings.
The Blue Dragons finish in the Top 10 for the first time since finishing No. 4 after an 11-1 season in 2014.
This is the fourth time in head coach Rion Rhoades’ 12-year tenure to finish in the Top 10, and it’s the third-highest finish behind No. 4 in 2014 and No. 5 in 2010. This is the eighth time in 12 seasons the Blue Dragons finished as a ranked team under Rhoades.
The Blue Dragons started the season receiving votes in the preseason NJCAA Rankings and climbed as high as No. 4 before back-to-back losses to Garden City and Iowa Central to the regular season. But Saturday’s 35-6 win over Navarro in the Salt City Bowl vaulted the Blue Dragons up five spots to No. 8.
Hutchinson’s only three losses this season came against No. 2 Garden City, No. 3 Iowa Western and No. 13 Iowa Central.
Four Jayhawk Conference teams wound up in the final 2018 rankings.
Garden City (10-1) lost 10-9 to East Mississippi in the NJCAA National Championship game last Thursday. Butler (8-4) defeated NEO in the Midwest Bowl on Sunday and finished No. 11. Highland (6-4) closed its season at No. 17.
East Mississippi claimed all 17 first-place votes and won its sixth national championship. Garden City, Iowa Western, Kilgore and Jones rounded out the Top 5. Lackawanna won the Valley of the Sun Bowl and finished sixth with an 11-0 record.
“I had seven kids on my defensive line sign with Division I teams, two signed with smaller schools,” Davis said.
Alfred Davis has to pump the brakes a bit from getting too excited about how fast his brief coaching experience has gained more momentum each year.
Davis, who turned 28 on Monday, was recently promoted to run game defensive co-coordinator at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
“I’ll basically be doing the same thing, but it’s a way to get more money and keep me there,” said Davis, who was in Ferriday this past weekend to help work the Ferriday Football Camp. “I know I don’t have to rush things right now. Right now I’m not so much worried about the money. That will come later. I just want to continue building on what I am doing, keeping my nose clean, and doing what it takes to advance in the coaching ranks.”
Davis was participating in his third Ferriday camp.
“It’s great to see family and friends,” Lewis said. “And I love doing this camp..”
Lewis left Ferriday at the age of 12 when his family moved to Georgia. At Banneker High in College Park, Ga., Davis was rated the No. 99 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.Com.
“Ferriday is still a big part of my life,” he said.
Davis came to Hutchinson after spending three seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas where he coached former Blue Dragon All-American Jeremiah Ledbetter.
During Davis’ first season with the Razorbacks as a graduate assistant in 2009, the Arkansas defense posted one of its best seasons ever. He helped the Razorbacks finish in the top 10 in both scoring and total defense for the first time since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992.
Davis also worked with two NFL Draft selections - Trey Flowers (4th round, New England) and Darius Philon (6th round, San Diego).
Davis played collegiately at Arkansas, appearing in 49 games, including the final 44 of his career, with 16 starts and collected 78 tackles, 5.0 for loss with 1.0 sack, two quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one forced fumble. He made eight starts in his senior season and recorded 38 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
As a junior, Davis played in all 13 games and recorded 14 tackles while helping lead Arkansas to an 11-2 final record and a No. 5 ranking in the final AP poll of the year, the Razorbacks’ first top-five finish since 1977. The 11 wins matched the most in school history and Arkansas finished the season with a win in the Cotton Bowl.
Davis said the fact he was not as great an athlete as most of his teammates at Arkansas, helped him become a better coach.
“I had to work harder,” Davis said. “I had to be smarter. I learned to do everything the right way technique-wise. I perfected myself on the drills.”
After his playing career, Davis interned at Fayetteville High School in 2012 and was a volunteer coach for the Fayetteville HS football team in 2013.
Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in communication in 2012.
He was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as well as the Athletic Department Honor Roll in the fall of 2009 and the Athletic Director’s List in the fall of 2012.
Davis has had six job offers during the off-season.
“A couple of them were lateral moves, so I decided to stay where I am at,” Davis said.
Davis said he is grateful to be at Hutchinson and even more confident in his new coaching role at the school.
“I am very comfortable with where I am at,” Davis said.
The Concordia Dixie Boys All-Stars finished third in the district tournament held in Vidalia this past weekend.
Concordia defeated Richland American 13-12 Friday in its first game.
Chip Tucker, Gage Cupstid, Jake Spears and Coleman Carter each pitched.
Tucker and Carter had three hits each, while Jawayne Mackey had two hits.
Concordia lost to Monroe 15-5 Saturday.
Tucker had two hits, while Spears walked four times.
Concordia stayed alive with an 18-2 win over Morehouse Sunday.
Spears, Williamson, Cupstid and Tucker each pitched.
Blake Grayson, Williamson, Tucker and Jacob Bradford had two hits each.
Cupstid walked three times.
Concordia fell to Monroe 8-5 in eight innings Monday night.
Monroe scored two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth for the win.
Only three of Monroe's runs were earned.
Grayson led Concordia at the plate with three hits in five at-bats.
The top four teams from the tournament advance to the state tournament in Monroe beginning July 19.
Devin Barnes wasn't sure how many campers to expect for his first Go Yard Baseball Camp at the Recreation District No. 3 Complex Monday and Tuesday.
Even if the registration was free for the camp, which was split into ages 6-12 on Monday and ages 13-17 on Tuesday.
Approximately 60 children showed up on Monday, while approximately 20 showed up Tuesday.
Barnes, who spent last year as head baseball coach at Block High, advertised on social media and had his brother Trey, who is over the Louisiana Cutters Association, and former Southern Miss standout pitcher and professional baseball player Jake Winston assisting.
"To be honest with you, I was very surprised at the number we had," Devin said. "I knew being free we would have a few kids, but I wasn't excepting that many."
Devin played college baseball at Wiley College in Marshall, Tx., while Trey played at LSU-A.
Barnes cannot wait for the next camp next year.
"It's going to be even bigger," he said. "We're going to have some real big things ahead."
The dead period, or should I say dread period, is among us.
The good news is it won’t last much longer, but we still have a few more weeks before we begin to really sink our teeth into the football scene.
While we wait, I figure why not take a look at some of the biggest movies of the year and give you my sports rendition of each movie. After all, summers are better known for blockbusters rather than thrilling sports content (though the U.S. Women’s National Team have delivered the goods so far).
Without further ado, here’s a trip to the movies in an alternative universe.
“John Wick Chapter 3:” After gunning down a member of the High Table — shadowy international assassin's guild — legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization's protective services.
So this was obviously Anthony Davis’ free agency. After gunning down the city of New Orleans with a middle finger and a “That’s all folks,” Davis was on the run in search of NBA immortality. Davis, and his new shadowy organization in Los Angeles, will look to prove the naysayers wrong and bring a title back to Hollywood.
“Aladdin:” Young Aladdin embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie.
This is the story about a young man named Shea Patterson who ventured from Calvary to IMG to Ole Miss to Michigan where he found the genie who promised him that elusive national championship.
In his final year, will Patterson’s latest marriage in football equate to a championship run with a wisecracking coach? We’ll all tune in to find out this fall.
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” — Members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
Come on, this is a preview of next year’s Super Bowl when Tom Brady someway, somehow finds a way to put the Patriots back in the big game against, wait for it, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Finally, we get to see two of the greatest of all time square off on the biggest stage of them all. Who will reign as the king of the quarterbacks?
“Avengers Endgame”: Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos -- the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.
That’s a mouthful. So basically you have to identify who Thanos is in sports. You could go Warriors, Nick Saban or Bill Belichick.
Because of the timing of this question, I’ll go with Saban. The Avengers assembled earlier this year and put a beat down on the Mad Titan. But just like “Avengers Endgame,” we know Saban will find a way to insert himself back into the climax of this story. Who will win the rematch next year?