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Effum McBounds - Morton
Effum McBounds gained national recognition and is considered one of the best players in school history during his time in the Morton High School basketball program while leading the Panthers to success between 1989 and 1993.
During his tenure, the Panthers won district championships in 1991 and 1992 and a South State Championship in 1992. In 1992, the Panthers made their first appearance at the state coliseum in 14 years at the time. McBounds scored 39 points in the Central Mississippi Classic to help lead Morton to an upset of fourth ranked Quitman, a team that featured future NBA All-Star Antonio Dyess. In the following year, McBounds helped to lead the Panthers to an upset over eighth ranked Meridian in the 1993 Central Mississippi Classic.
McBounds averaged 17.2 points during his freshman season – including 31 points against arch-rival Forest - and increased that tally to 19.1 points per game during his senior season. He averaged 21.6 points during his junior season and maintained a 24.9 scoring average during his senior campaign. He finished his high school career with 2,140 points scored. He was believed to be the leading scorer in Morton basketball history. He also recorded a career high mark of 43 points in a single game.
McBounds received significant recognition and won numerous individual honors including the All-South State Team in 1993 and All-District in 1990, 1992, and 1993, as well as multiple All-Tournament Teams. In 1993, The Clarion-Ledger named McBounds as an honorable mention to the All-State Team in a year when the first and second teams included seven Southeastern Conference players, two Conference USA players, and one Big 10 player. A year earlier, the Clarion Ledger named McBounds as a player to watch.
In 1993, when McBounds was also named as a nominee for the McDonald’s All-American Team, he played in the All-Star game with notable players who went on to professional ranks including Dyess, Eric Dampeer, Eric Washington, and Damien Smith.
Following graduation from Morton, McBounds signed with and started for Lon Morris Junior College.
Jason Judge - Lake
A childhood dream of Jason Judge was to someday take the mound for a Major League Baseball team, and while he didn’t reach that goal, his contributions on the mounds of high school and college levels of baseball were legendary in his own right.
A native of Lake where he played baseball for the Lake High School Hornets, Judge felt his passion for the diamond early in life and began living his dream in the seventh grade where he played in the 11 and 12-year-old Dizzy Dean Baseball team. In the eighth grade, he started to see bigger action playing with the high school team.
In the ninth grade, while Judge showed power and poise at the plate, his mound work as a left-handed hurler helped him earn the Best Pitcher Award in 2004.
In the 10th grade, Judge won defensive MVP of the week on multiple occasions as well as remaining strong offensively. It wasn’t uncommon to see Judge go deep into innings or record complete games, striking out as many as 15 or more batters, and giving up few hits and runs. He won All-District honors and received the MVP award for the Lake program.
Among his 11th grade accomplishments in keeping the Hornets rolling, Judge was also one of 18 members selected from a pool of 198 candidates for the District 6 baseball team in the State Games of Mississippi. He led the team to a tournament win over District 4. His game continued to improve in pitching no-hitters or one and two-hit games and taking care of business as a batter.
In his senior campaign at Lake, Judge rolled with more than 30 strikeouts and pitched no-hitters, or one and two-hit games, and racking up wins, earning a reputation of being “untouchable.” It was not uncommon for him to record up to 18 strikeouts in a game and had ball velocity as high as the low 90’s. His All-Star performances garnered plenty of media attention from publications in East Mississippi.
Judge earned the respect and appreciation of his high school coach, Brian Goodman.
“Jason is another one of our guys who just seems to be getting better and better each day. He has excellent work ethic throughout the week and it shows on the weekends. I love to watch Jason step foot on the mound. He always has the utmost confidence in himself, never gets rattled, and competes every pitch of the game,” Goodman said.
Judge took his pitching talents to the collegiate level with his first stop being at Meridian Community College where he won All-State recognition. In his freshman year, Judge finished with a 7-1 record and a 4.742 earned run average. He allowed 28 walks and recorded 54 strikeouts while giving up 65 hits and 36 runs in 68.1 innings pitched.
After finishing at Meridian, Judge moved on to Delta State University where during his junior season, he went 1-0 with an ERA of 1.80 in five appearances. He allowed six hits and one run, which was earned, and gave up no walks while recording six strikeouts while facing 20 batters. Offensively, he hit .300 at the plate.
Judge chose to leave baseball after finishing at Delta State and charted a new course in life. He proposed to his girlfriend, fellow Lake native Anna Paige (Hollingsworth), who had cheered for him since their days at Lake High School.
Although his baseball career did not go as he envisioned in childhood, Judge did make it to a professional arena. On his 23rd birthday, Judge was invited to take the mound at Trustmark Park in Pearl to throw the first pitch in a Mississippi Braves minor league game.
Miles Porter - Morton
Almost any activity that involved a ball, Miles Porter wanted to be a part of it and found success as a player and a coach while also earning achievements in the classrooms. As an adult, he combined that passion with educating young people to have chances for successful lives.
Porter was born in Vicksburg in 1968, where he lived for his first three years before his family moved to Morton.
Porter started playing baseball while 8-years old in the Morton Recreational Leagues. He was a true baller, wanting always to be where the action was happening and where the balls landed, much to coaches’ frustration at times. He made the most of opportunities and received all-star recognition along the way while playing multiple positions on the field through the years. His childhood also included pee-wee football participation.
While he was successful in the classroom and among his peers in who’s who awards, as a player, Porter earned numerous honors in multiple sports. In junior high school, he was named Most Consistent Player in football and Most Improved Player in basketball and received the First Baptist Sportsmanship Award. In high school, Porter was named a two-year letterman and All-District running back in football and three-year letterman, District MVP and received the Panther Award for baseball contributions.
Porter’s first coaching experience actually came at the age of 16 when he was tapped to lead baseball teams in the recreational leagues. Additionally, he later coached football and basketball in the city leagues. Through this and his experience as a player, he was associated with several coaches and players who are now members of the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame for their successes later in life.
Porter graduated as an honor student from MHS in 1986 with a 95.61 average, ranked seventh in his class. He then attended East Central Community College where he made the Dean’s List, winning academic honors, and was a two-year letterman in baseball and football.
Porter moved on to Belhaven College on a baseball scholarship, receiving a medical redshirt his junior year to keep from losing eligibility. He was named a three-year letterman in baseball. He made the President’s List and graduated in 1991.
Porter started his professional career at University Christian School coaching football, baseball, basketball, and track. A year later, Porter moved to Sylva Bay Academy where he worked two years coaching football, baseball, and junior high girls’ basketball. At Rankin Academy in Star, he coached boys’ and girls’ basketball and started a football program. After moving to Newton County Academy, Porter coached jr. and sr. high girls’ basketball, football, and slow pitch softball.
Five years later, Porter returned to his alma mater to coach at Morton High School in multiple overlapping sports. After seven years in jr. high boys’ basketball, Porter finished with a 126-54 record including 50-34 for seventh grade and 52-20 in eighth grade. After nine years of jr. high football, Porter finished with a 95-43 record including 43-23 for seventh grade and 52-20 eighth grade.
Porter served as the Morton High School head football coach for three years and completed a 20-15 record. The Panthers finished 9-4 in his first year and reached second round playoffs; 8-4 in second year and reached first round playoffs; and finished third year 3-7.Porter moved back to the diamond and served as the head baseball coach for three years to finish with a 54-27 record. He started with a 16-8 record and held a 19-10 record, making the third round of playoffs. The Panthers were 19-9 in his third year and reached the second round of playoffs.
Dan Gressett - Lake
As a member of the Lake Hornets baseball program, Dan Gressett earned numerous honors in helping to lead the Hornets to success before carrying his talents to the collegiate level, and then into the coaching ranks.
At Lake (1993-1996), Gressett’s athletic awards included twice being named All-County, twice named All-District, and MHSAA All-Star. During his senior season, Gressett recorded 82 strikeouts in 49.3 innings.
At East Central Community College (1997-1998), Gressett helped to lead the Warriors to the school’s first state baseball championship in school history in 1998. In the same season, Gressett received All-State and All-Region honors and was named to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges All-Star team. Gressett recorded 15 career wins, the second-most in school history at the time.
At Louisiana Tech University (1999-2000), Gressett was a two-year starter in conference games and a two-year letter winner. In 33 appearances, Gressett recorded 60 strikeouts. He was also chosen to serve on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Gressett entered the coaching ranks at Ruston High School in Ruston, La., where he has served as an assistant coach and pitching coach since 2003. During his tenure. Ruston teams have earned a record of 304-157 including five district championships. More than 30 players under his tutelage have advanced to the next level. Four draft picks have gone in the third and sixth rounds in the last three years. In four consecutive years, players have won District Pitcher of the Year Awards (2011-2014) and one player was named an All-American.
Randy Brunson - Sebastopol
Randy Brunson started his athletic career as a two-sport player on the gridiron and baseball diamond for Sebastopol High School.
As a freshman in 1994, Brunson lettered in football and baseball. He earned another letter in baseball as sophomore in 1995 while also earning All-Division special teams honors in football. Brunson’s junior year in 1996 was mostly about football in earning All-Division First Team Offense, All Scott County First Team Offense, and he was named Best Offensive Lineman at Sebastopol.
As a senior in 1997, Brunson’s football honors included All-Division First Team Offense, All-Scott County First Team Offense and Sebastopol Team Captain Award. He received the Most Improved Award for baseball.
Brunson advanced to East Central Community College where he won All-State Offense Honorable Mention honors as a freshman in 1999. As a sophomore in 2000, Brunson’s football awards included All-State Offense, Andrew F. Webb, Team Captain, Most Valuable Offensive Lineman, and MACJC All-Star South Team.
After lettering in football his junior year in 2001 at Nicholls State University, Brunson capped his collegiate career as a senior in 2002 with earning a Letter award, Colonel Academic Award, and Southland Athletic Conference Honor Roll. The Colonels finished the season ranked 21 in USA Today in the collegiate 1AA poll.
Jack Taylor - Morton
James M. "Jack" Taylor was a lifelong resident of Morton and left a mark on many kids who were touched by him in his role as a teacher, principal and a football coach. He was known by most as Coach Taylor or the Kicking Coach and answered to those names his entire life.
Born on November 1, 1930, Taylor was a student and football player throughout his time at Morton High School, graduating in May of 1948. His athletic success in football landed him a scholarship to East Central Junior College where he attended and graduated with many opportunities to play on the senior college level. After East Central, Taylor was drafted into the U.S. Army where he spent 2.5 years in Germany.
Upon his return from the Army, Taylor received an offer to play football at Mississippi College where he enjoyed a three-year tenure as a starting tackle for the Choctaws. Unique for that time period while Taylor was at MC, the school flew the team to Mexico City where they played a game with a local team. He fondly remembered the experience which was one of the first games of its kind, breaking borders.
Taylor graduated from Mississippi College with a teaching/coaching degree and joined the Morton School system as both a teacher and assistant football coach. He later became the principal at Morton Elementary where he served for many years. It was during this time that Taylor put a thumbprint on so many kids, teachers, and football players.
He served as an assistant under 10 different head coaches, with the most notable successes being two stints working alongside his friend, head coach Reggie Robertson. Taylor was stern, but kind and loving. He was more than a coach and principal. He cared about the individual which made him the legend that he remains in Morton. Many Morton students and players told Taylor’s family that if not for Jack Taylor, they would have ended up in the state prison at Parchman. Instead, they went on to be very influential and successful businessman and women.
Taylor retired in 1983 and pursued his passion of influencing everyone around him, this time by working as chief social director for his friend, David, of Tadlock Stockyards. Taylor enjoyed a wonderful life and died on April 27, 2013.
John Richardson - Morton
John Richardson was voted the “Most Athletic” by his classmates at Morton High School as he was a standout athlete in all sports for the Panthers from 1959 until graduation in 1962.
At Morton, Richardson excelled in track by winning the Little Dixie Conference 100-yard dash in his senior year. He also participated in the 400-yard and 880-yard relays, as well as throwing the shotput, which is a rare combination of activities.
In football, it seemed that Richardson never left the field, playing fullback on offense and linebacker on defense. He also punted and kicked off. He also served as a punt returner and kickoff returner.
Richardson was voted the “Most Valuable Player” in the Little Dixie Conference while leading the conference in total points scored – 125. Richardson’s touchdown in the 1962 high school all-star game was the only touchdown scored in the game. However, the South tied the game with two field goals.
In baseball, Richardson played every position on the field excluding catcher during his four years. His most memorable play was a grand slam homerun against Canton High School. During his senior season, he was the winning pitcher against the same team.
Richardson accepted a football scholarship to Ole Miss in 1962 and was a two-year letterman at fullback and on special teams. In 1963, his Ole Miss team won the Southeastern Conference Championship. His time at Ole Miss included playing in the Sugar Bowl, the Blue Bonnet Bowl, and the Liberty Bowl.
After his playing days ended, Richardson found success in the coaching ranks starting with Jackson Public Schools where he retired after 38 years of service. During his tenure, many of his football and soccer teams had undefeated seasons and won many city championships. His soccer team completed nine consecutive undefeated seasons.
Richardson’s athletic career included playing with many members of the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame including Fred Roberts, Reed Davis, Cecil Jones, Larry Leo Johnson, the late Duane “Sappo” Moore, and the late Jim Harvey.
John is the third son of five boys born to the late Luther and Lois Richardson. He is married to Tanya Terry Richardson and is father to two daughters, Robin Marzetta and Terry Ashley Odom. He has four grandchildren, Olivia, Anna Grace, Dante, and Mollie.
Richardson is involved with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame where he remains in touch with friends and sports events.