Year in Review, Part IV

Friday, January 20, 2017
The Rector Junior Cougar football team capped their perfect year by serving as Grand Marshals of the annual Christmas Parade.(TD photo/Ron Kemp)

October

The final quarter of 2016 began on a tragic note, with news of a fatal crash at Rector which claimed the life of a Piggott woman. Sadine Dixon, 84, was killed when her vehicle was struck by a deputy sheriff's during the pursuit of vehicle being driven by Robert Huffines, which had been reported stolen in Illinois. He and a companion, Lea Mamino, were ordered held on murder charges in connection with the crash. The tragedy also led to an effort to have dash cams installed in all of the Clay County Sheriff's Department vehicles. Also in the news, the sale of the Rector Armory from the city to the local school district was completed. A grain truck/train accident north of Marmaduke left a local man severely injured. And, Rector residents gathered for a volunteer effort benefiting Ronda Haney, as they painted her home while she was undergoing dialysis in Paragould.

In sports, the Piggott Mohawks traveled to Wilson and beat the Rivercrest Colts for the first time in the history of the rivalry, 27-13. Meanwhile, the Junior Cougars also continued with their historic season, as they beat Cross County 30-0 to remain undefeated on the campaign. And, Greg Ward took the Sugar Creek Country Club individual championship by posting a win over Barry DeHart in a nine hole playoff.

Piggott Library Director Gay Johnson marked a milestone in early October, as she celebrated 35 years of service in the local facility. To mark the occasion, a special open house was held, complete with popcorn and cake. Meanwhile, it was reported the driver of the grain truck struck by a train north of Marmaduke had died from his injuries. The crash claimed the life of Darryl D. Coleman, 65, of Marmaduke.

Homecoming is set at both PHS and RHS, and Piggott Elementary School is set to host the annual fall festival. The Rector School Board officially completed the acquisition of the armory at their gathering, while the Piggott School Board brainstormed ideas for the improvements at Parker Field. Plans are underway for the annual Rickman-Brown Memorial 5K, which this year will benefit Alzheimer's research. The city of Marmaduke is also in line for grants for street improvements and upgrades to fire station No. 2.

In sports, the Mohawk tennis team qualified three players for the 3A state tourney, as Emilee Seegraves will play in girls singles while Carrington McDaniel and Josh Lyman will appear in the boys doubles bracket. Rector senior Cody Ails finished fifth in the state 1A golf tournament, while teammate Tyler Tinnin also competed. Meanwhile, the junior Cougars remain on a roll with a 22-0 victory over EPC, while the Mohawks dropped their contest at Newport 7-6 in a game which will be considered a classic for decades.

The annual Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce banquet was held in mid-October, and served to honor first responders from across the region. The quorum court was updated on bridge work, Rector Downtown Central announced an upcoming movie night and early voting was set to begin. Red Ribbon Week was also at hand, with various events scheduled at local schools.

The Rector School Band continued to enjoy success, and the Clay County Arts Council announced the upcoming Harvest Hoedown. A "living legend" was also scheduled to pass through the region, and make a stop in Piggott, as the steam locomotive No. 844 made its way south to Memphis.

In sports, homecoming was observed at both RHS and PHS, with Avery Bucy and Lonnie Yancey reigning at Rector High while Colby Crossfield and Justin Goding were crowned at Piggott High. That evening the Mohawks won a nailbiter over Manila, edging the Lions 21-20 in OT to keep their playoff hopes alive. As for the Cougars, their difficult season continued with a 35-8 loss to Cross County. As for the red-hot Junior Cougars, they beat Marked Tree 30-0 to move to 7-0. The Lady Mohawk volleyball team observed senior night, but fell to CRA in the first round of their district at Paragould. And, the Rector Cougar peewees are playoff bound.

As the month of October drew to a close, several Halloween events were scheduled, including a Trunk Or Treat on the Piggott square sponsored by the Community Alliance. In sports, the Junior Cougars completed their historic grid season with a 37-0 win over Midland, as they notched the first unbeaten, untied, game in school history. Meanwhile, the Tribe dropped their second game in a row as they fell at Walnut Ridge 21-20. As for the Rector Peewee Cougars, they advanced in the playoffs with a 14-6 win over Gosnell.

November

Turnout was heavy for the annual General Election to begin November, with the only local race seeing challenger Travis Williams un-seat Lester Edwards, Jr., for a seat on Piggott City Council. Congrats to the PHS Marching Mohawks, as they competed in the first-ever state marching competition and brought home second place honors. Veterans Day events were also set, and profiled was Sam Jones, of Piggott, a long-time member and combat veteran of the United States Marines. Meanwhile, the Piggott water tower painting project is underway and PCH marked Dr. James Sheridan's 70th birthday with a party.

Good news for both local football teams, as they both notched wins to end the regular season. The Rector Cougars broke their goose egg with a 41-6 win over Midland, while the Piggott Mohawks pounded their cross-county rivals from Corning 55-14 to retain the Rice Bowl Trophy for another year. Mohawk Coach Michael Harrell, and seniors Bret Fuller and Justin Goding, were also named to the Farm Bureau Watch List for postseason honors.

Sad news for Mohawk Nation in mid-November, with news of the death of former coach Carl "Zig" Williams at age 85. Rector City Council discussed a variety of issues and the Piggott School Board continued to wrestle with improvements to the football field. Veterans Day was observed across the region, and the annual Fall Craft Fair is set at the Rector Community Center.

In sports, the Piggott Mohawks made school history as they notched their first-ever playoff win at Cedar Ridge, beating the Timberwolves 42-14. Meanwhile, Matison Dean hit a last second free throw as the Lady Cougars beat Armorel 37-36 for their first win of the season.

November also brought with it the news that Piggott native Kim Eskew had been promoted to CEO of Harps Food Stores. The RCC craft show as a big success, and the Rector Council tabled discussion on the water system improvements. DHS is planning their annual Christmas effort, and the Rector Christmas Parade is set for Dec. 8.

In sports, the Mohawks historic season ended at Prescott, as they fell to the eventual state champions by a final of 59-37. The campaign set a number of school records, and based on the fact the squad only had three seniors, bodes well for the future of the program. Meanwhile, the Cougars dropped games to Hillcrest and Maynard, while the Lady Cougars beat Hillcrest. As for the 'Hounds, the junior and senior girls are on a roll, while the boys fell in conference play to Sloan-Hendrix and BIC.

As the month of November drew to a close it was announced the Piggott Christmas Fest would be held Saturday, Dec. 10. The city's annual budget, and trash collection fees, were considered by Piggott City Council at their meeting. PES hosted the annual ACT/ASPIRE assembly to recognize high test scores.

In sports, the Cougars fell to Sloan-Hendrix, but advanced over Maynard in the WBC. The Rector girls split with Sloan-Hendrix and Senath-Hornersville, while the Lady 'Hounds rolled to a 10-2 overall record on the season.

December

The undefeated Rector Junior Cougars were named as Grand Marshals of the annual Christmas Parade, while the Rector City Council finally decided on a course of action concerning the water system, choosing only to proceed with the water tower painting project. Personnel from the Barn Hill Preserve visited PES and brought with them some exotic animals, including a baby kangaroo and a baby sloth. The Rector LEGO team competed at the regional level and the Piggott High FFA chapter benefited from the "Blue Jacket Program."

In sports, a dozen Mohawk football players were selected for post season honors, and Coach Michael Harrell was named as one of three finalist for 3A Coach of the Year by Farm Bureau. The Lady 'Hounds fell to Pocahontas in the finals of the WBC tourney and the Mohawk boy's teams split at Cave City under first year coach Seth Medlin.

The Piggott School Board set priorities for the improvements at Parker Field at their December meeting, while a special retirement open house was planned for outgoing county judge Gary Howell. A ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for the PHS "Old Gym" by the Chamber of Commerce and the dash cam effort received a sizable donation from Hitts Chapel Church. The Piggott FFA won district, and qualified two teams for state, the RHS Sports Hall of Fame plaque ceremony was set, and good crowds enjoyed both holiday parades.

In sports, the Cougars split games with Ridgefield Christian and CRA, while the Lady Cougars fell at Hoxie. The Mohawk boys beat Maynard and Ridgefield Christian, then fell to Pocahontas. As for the Junior Lady Mohawks, as they campaign without a senior team, they posted their second win of the year with a 34-28 decision over Ridgefield Christian.

Christmas week brought with it news of a single vehicle accident which left a Piggott man trapped for a time in his pickup. At last report Hunter Neeley continued to mend from the crash, which occurred on Highway 49 on the south edge of Piggott. Meanwhile, the quorum court approved a "pay for stay" ordinance concerning the detention center and State Rep. Joe Jett, of Success, announced he was changing his party affiliation to Republican.

First National Bank, Piggott Banking Center, donated a new inflatable screen to be used to show movies at PES, and it was used the first time for the screening of "The Polar Express." Meanwhile, RHS GT students donated to St. Jude's Childrens' Research Hospital and were scheduled to visit the facility. Congrats to RHS band members named All-Region, including Travis Slaughter, Tailyer Ballew, Jacob Holmes, Sarah Baker and Emily Garron.

In sports, PHS standout Justin Goding signed a letter of intent to attend Williams Baptist College as the first sprinter in their new track program. Meanwhile, the RHSSHOF plaque ceremony was held at Rector High in conjunction with the Cougar games with Marmaduke. By the way, the 'Hounds swept their hosts on the night.

As the month, and the year, drew to a close in late December it was announced Rector native, and civic leader, Dan McBride had died at the age of 93. Another civic leader from the community also died in late December, as former Rector councilwoman Peggy Ruth Ingram passed away. Clay County Judge Gary Howell was honored with a retirement reception at the courthouse in Piggott and the Community Alliance effort which resulted in a new pair of shoes for every student at PES was reviewed.

In sports, the Mohawk boys were set to compete in the Mustang Classic Tournament at Hoxie, the Lady 'Hounds advanced to the NEA finals and tickets are now on sale for the Mohawk Football Awards Banquet, set for Jan. 14.

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