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Monty Rice #56 of the Tennessee Titans during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Titans

A Bevy Of Great Sports Items Headline The Holidays

MADISON- As the New Year calendar replaces the old among the holidays and the world of sports, many sports achievements got lost among the family and friends celebrations of both Christmas and New Year’s. The noteworthy athletic happenings came within a bevy of sports and were supported by individual and team superb play.

Basketball

While both the Sparkman boys and girls basketball teams were winning classic tournaments, which receive a good amount of attention, the Bob Jones girls round ball squad was busy posting exceptional play of its own. At the completion of the holidays the Pats were 15-3 on the season.

The Lady Patriots handled challenges in both the TOC Showcase and Decatur’s DOC Tournament with much success. In the multi-team Showcase, Bob Jones had one game where they bowed to Hazel Green 42-36. Alana Obianozie had 11 points and five rebounds for Bob Jones.

In the Decatur tournament, Bob Jones was 3-1 losing in the championship finals 41-30 to Good Hope. Emariah Grant led the team with 11 points and Obianozie added eight. On their way to the finals the Lady Patriots defeated Good Hope in the tournament opener 51-35 (Grant 17-points), Fairview 45-26 (Jada Burks 12 points and five rebounds) and Hartselle 41-21 (Zamyra Goode 17 points and five rebounds).

Sparkman’s boys leading scorer Calen Lightford (G, 5-11, 160, Sr.) joined the 1,000-point club for the No. 6 Senator’s program. Due to illness he was unable to participate in his team’s championship run in the 39th annual Huntsville City Classic. Sparkman won the title for the first time since 2005.

NFL Football

Former James Clemens All-State and Georgia Bulldogs All-SEC Linebacker Monty Rice remains on the injured reserve list as a member of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the top-seed in the AFC for the post-season playoffs. He was placed on the IR on Nov. 30.

Rice, the 6-foot, 233-pound rookie, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Jan. 8, suffered an ankle injury in the Titans 36-13 loss to New England Nov. 28. In 10 games, Rice, a third round draft pick, had four starts with 36 tackles including 17 solos.

The 2017 graduate of James Clemens chose to sign with Georgia after verbally committing to LSU. In his senior season with the Bulldogs in 2020, Rice was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker.

Wrestling

The fifth ranked Bob Jones wrestling team won the prestigious Arab Invitational and advanced to the State Duals quarterfinals by a great showing in the Region 4 Duals. In the region gathering, Bob Jones crushed Austin 81-0, Grissom 60-15 and James Clemens 63-15, and edged Sparkman 43-28. The Pats suffered its lone loss to Huntsville 43-30.

In the regional, Manny Marrero, Evan Pippin, Jaden Edwards and Tafari Alcime all went undefeated. In the process of the holiday action, Pippin secured his career victory 176. He’s now fifth on the all-time Bob Jones victory list.

Meanwhile, Bob Jones female wrestler Carly Thomas is currently 10-0 in the 130-pound weight class and won her competition in the recent Arab Invitational. Thomas is a defending state champion.

Scholarship Signings

James Clemens had two student-athletes recently sign scholarship offers.

Sydney Freeman signed with the Austin Peay Governors to run cross country and track, while softball player Dakota Daniel opted to sign with Alabama A&M.

Bob Jones Baseball

Two promising star players for the upcoming Bob Jones baseball season have been recognized among the best in Alabama.

PBR Future Games has tabbed Braden Booth as the No. 4 player in the state. Booth is a 3B/RHP for the Patriots. The organization also indicated RHP Sam Mitchell is the 22nd overall player and sixth among pitchers. The 6-6, 210-pound Mitchell has an 88 miles per hour fastball along with an impressive 71-mph breaking ball. Mitchell is just a junior in the class of 2023.

The Patriots are coming off a 25-plus win 2021 season.

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