Olympian highlighted in ’99 high school football edition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

[8/26/04]Open today’s edition of The Vicksburg Post and our special high school football section will fall out.

In it, the writers of this sports department preview the seasons of local teams and make predictions for some of the area’s finest athletes.

Some of those expectations will not pan out, others will star either on the football field, the college classroom or even become an Olympic silver medalist.

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Otis Harris, who could run for mayor of Edwards and probably win, will run Saturday in the 4-by-400 relay event, less than a week after finishing a close second in the 400-meter event. He finished second to teammate Jeremy Wariner to win a silver medal.

But those loyal to this newspaper should have heard all about Harris way back in 1999.

Sportswriter Ernest Bowker highlighted the then-senior at Hinds AHS. Harris had just completed a gold-medal performance in the 400-meter run at the Junior National Olympics.

“Football is my favorite sport. I like both (football and track), but I liked football earlier,” he said in that 1999 interview.

Since then, Harris has excelled on the track at South Carolina and now for the American Olympic team.

Watching him run the 400 was amazing. It’s hard to believe anyone can run that fast.

Last week in this column, I railed against the boring style of the Olympics. I came up with a few sports that would make the games more entertaining.

I was wrong.

Harris’ effort made up for the sleepy nature of the Games so far.

He did Hinds AHS, Edwards and Mississippi proud.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though, at least if you read our special high school football section five years ago.

A prediction or three

Many people will notice that predictions of high school football games that used to appear in this paper regularly have been absent for several years.

Making picks is a lose-lose situation. Invariably, people believe, the team that is picked to lose is not picked because it is inferior, but because we don’t like a certain team.

One of my predictions for this year is that more teams in this area will make the playoffs than in years past.

Several Hinds AHS, Central Hinds and Tensas have an opportunity to advance deep into the playoffs.

Warren Central is the most dangerous unranked team in the state. Voters in the weekly Associated Press poll will soon be keenly aware of how good the Vikings will be.

I don’t mind being bold. In fact, here’s a solid prediction: The final score of the Vicksburg-Warren Central game will be 28-13.

(You didn’t think I’d actually pick a winner, did you?)

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com.