Tag: Jacksonville State University

Gamecocks topple EIU

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Baylee Morris, Sports Editor


This past Saturday the JSU Gamecocks sailed past Eastern Illinois in their fourth Ohio Valley Conference game. This game was the fourth straight OVC contest out of eight for the Gamecocks. This helped them add another win in the column and another win on the streak list that has now moved to 36 games in OVC play. That’s right the Gamecocks have not been beaten in 36 straight OVC matchups.

Saturday the Gamecocks put up some amazing numbers. They put up 592 total yards on offense and only having one turnover. However, this week we did see a little more of the team that we saw against North Carolina A&T by the team’s penalty numbers and yardage. The team suffered 14 penalties and 123 yards worth of penalties. I still think this team is growing and showing many similarities to that of the 2015 team that went on to the National Championship game.

While the Gamecocks are 6-1 on the season they are 4-0 in OVC play. That boosts the confidence of the Gamecocks since they are now headed on the road for two weeks. The first stop on their two away games in Southeastern Missouri.

The Redhawks this season are 4-2 and only 2-1 in OVC play. Their OVC loss came at the hands of Eastern Kentucky 23-14, who the Gamecocks have already beaten. However, the Redhawks have put up a total of 2,779 yards of offense and are average 463.2 per game. This will be a test for the Gamecocks and they are ready.

One player who is ready is that of Josh Pearson. Pearson tied the single season touchdown reception record this week having marked his 11th touchdown reception. Pearson ties Josh Barge who set the record at 11 back in 2015.

Pearson will look to break the record and the rest of the Gamecocks will look to extend their OVC win streak along with their winning record this Saturday against the SEMO Redhawks at 1 P.M. on Houck Field in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Parsons for the People: Waitressing and Greek Life assisting in Parsons helping to give back

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Savanna Parsons stands in her garage, which she has set up as a donation and distribution center with the help of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. Members from across the state donated to the cause.

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Whether it’s picking up a chainsaw to cut trees or bringing people food at a restaurant, everyone has different ways of helping the city of Jacksonville and the surrounding communities following the devastating tornado last week.

For Savanna Parsons, she is just doing what she’s good at and that’s talking to people and making connections.

Parsons, an Alexandria High graduate, has been a waitress at Heroes: An American Grille on Highway 21 for the last eight months while also juggling multiple other jobs and being a student at Jacksonville State University.

Less than 48 hours after her friends and sister, Olivia, were displaced because of the EF3 tornado which struck JSU’s campus, Parsons took to social media to announce her way of helping:

“(I’m) Donating all of my tips made at work (Wednesday) through Sunday to my people in need! I work at Heroes in Jacksonville! Stop by for a drink, food, or just to donate.”

But the helpfulness doesn’t stop there.

Parsons is also a member of JSU’s Alpha Xi Delta chapter.

Last summer, she went to a conference and made connections to many other chapters around the country. When those chapters heard about last week’s events, they immediately reached out and started donating clothes and other necessities.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or not because I didn’t want people to think I was wanting it to all be about me,” Parsons said during a brief break Sunday evening before an expected party of 30 people arrived. “I’m really just trying to help people. Like, there’s a girl in my education department who has nothing now and is about to graduation and I really just wanted to do something.”

Prior to her shift Sunday, Parsons said she has earned over $1,300 in tips after working Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. She went on to say she’s planning to share it with anyone who needs help.

“I really want to give it to anyone who has been affected,” Parsons said. “We have a guy here at work and I plan to give him some because he found out his apartment is pretty bad. There’s another girl who lost her entire house but doesn’t go to JSU, so a lot of people aren’t talking about those areas that need help, too.”

Parsons said she’s able to do this, because she’s budgeted her money months before and is months ahead on her monthly rent payment. A combination of “probably the highest paying night of the year so far” on St. Patrick’s Day just a week ago and not going on spring break also helped her out.

“I believe we are a really small community and everyone knows everyone,” Parsons said. “Since we are a small school, it’s easy to find out how to help and what people need, so that’s what it’s all about … helping one another.”

Golden-Hearted Families: Leas and Strains return to Jacksonville to help those in need

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Justin Lea, Courtney Strain and Leah Strain all were born and grew up hours away from Jacksonville. But major life milestones over the years have made Jacksonville State home for the trio.

For Courtney, it was meeting current fiancé Dalton Screws, who was a teammate of Lea under Bill Clark and John Grass, on top of countless basketball games played inside Pete Mathews Coliseum. For Leah, it was the friendships and memories created, joining the nursing program and, like her older sister, the time spent on the now ruined hardwood of Pete Mathews Coliseum. For Justin, JSU gave him an opportunity to continue playing the sport — football — he loves; a sport he hopes will continue giving in the future with a professional opportunity.

So, it’s easy to understand why they took the initiative to come and lend a hand … more specifically 100 hands.

Courtney, now a science teacher and coach at Handley High School, and her dad, Larry, brought 41 student-athletes from Roanoke, a city an hour and 18 minutes from JSU’s campus, to assist Lea and his brother, Jay, cutting and clearing trees from the yard of Jamie “Red” Etheredge, who has been a strong supporter of JSU student programs, and the area surrounding the Alumni house.

“I just know Red does a lot for JSU athletes … He’s one of the biggest supporters we have,” said Lea. “My hometown was hit in 2011 and we saw a lot of people come from out of town to help us, so I just wanted to find a way to come out and help.

“I give credit to my parents and grandparents and those who raised me when I think about the man I am today and to think about yourself last and if someone needs help, go help them.”

For Larry, who is the head coach at Handley, it was a no-brainer to bring some of his athletes to Jacksonville and help.

“There is no better team-building exercise than helping others,” Larry said. “It was actually about 10:30 Wednesday night when I decided we needed to do it. We got to school yesterday and the first people I called were my principal and superintendent and they were more than supportive about the idea. The kids knew nothing about it yesterday, so when I asked this morning, all their hands went up.

“I knew it was the right thing to do. As a team, we need to learn to help other people when they need help.”

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Thursday morning, both Courtney and Leah reached out to get in touch with JSU athletic director Greg Seitz, who pointed Larry in another direction before he was able to connect the EMA and get the OK to help.

According to Larry, his initial intentions were to help clean up JSU’s softball field, tennis courts and the rest of the spring sports venues. However, with the school’s campus closed to all non-essentially personnel until April 2nd, the near 50-person clean-up crew spend most of Friday morning in Red’s backyard moving parts of trees.

“It was a great two-in-one scenario,” Courtney said. “You’re helping a community that’s very near our families but also bonding as a team. I told someone this earlier, but these kids need to realize life isn’t always about them and their wants and their needs. They may not realize it right now, but one day they’re going to look back and realize you’re supposed to do things for other people because one day you may be in the same situation.”

Listen to the sirens, hymns and cries while help is on the way

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

If you listen, you can hear it.

You can hear the ear-piercing alarm from an apartment building missing most of its exterior; the sounds of chainsaws slicing up fallen trees blocking the roads; the sirens from emergency vehicles racing through a dampened city.

But if you listen closer, you can hear the cries for help from the students who just had their world rocked by a tornado moments prior. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit Jacksonville State University. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit … home.

If you asked any of those displaced 18-22-year-old students why they chose to come to JSU, the unanimous response would be, “because it felt like home.”

It felt like home because they are surrounded by friends — some young, some older — they consider family. Just look at the Instagram posts. The football team. The basketball teams. The softball team. The baseball team. Sororities and Fraternities. Those who work together and those who only see each other during study sessions.

“It was never the buildings, the trees or the stadiums that made Jacksonville home,” said former JSU punter and Australian native Hamish Macinnes on social media Tuesday afternoon. “It was the incredible people that made it so special. No wind can blow that away.”

Everyone intertwines to form a bond that shares one thing in common: We are all Jacksonville State Gamecocks and we are all hurting right now.

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If you listen, you can hear the sound of a 1929 gospel song echo through the halls of a weathered Mason Hall. Or ringing through an emptied Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

The Marching Southerners singing “I’ll Fly Away” has been a staple of Jacksonville State since the downed trees along Highway 204 were planted. The hymn gives hope; it gives meaning; it gives inspiration to those who listen.

“In the wake of all these storms and seeing the damage done to our treasured university, I think all of us Gamecocks are singing ‘I’ll Fly Away’ in our hearts,” tweeted JSU graduate Caden Crosby deep into Monday night. “We are JSU.”

Fellow Gamecock graduate Collin Barnwell took it a step further and posted the lyrics on his social media.

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When all feels lost. When all seems clueless. When all hurts.

Continue to listen.

Because help is on the way.

As sure as roofs will be placed back on Logan and Patterson Hall and as sure as Pete Mathews Coliseum will be repaired, you aren’t alone. A simple tweet asking for someone to check on a pet; a Facebook message asking a friend for a place to stay or a Snapchat post reaffirms that belief.

That’s what makes Jacksonville State home. No one is ever alone, especially in a time of such need.

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

Man, where’s the Sunkist?

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

I’m not really one to complain — a lot — but I need my daily supply of Sunkist. There’s only one thing a guy wants after a long, eight-hour work day and that’s an iced-cold … orange soda.

(You thought I was going to say an adult beverage, didn’t you?)

But no, I have to settle to an expired Minute Maid Fruit Punch.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great drink choice, too, but not if the expiration date reads “FEB2618.” But today’s date is “MAR1218” and there were things floating atop my drink after one gulp.

Maybe it was the “real fruit juice” that Coca-Cola says is in Minute Maid. Maybe it was something that started to grow inside the bottle because it was an expired drink. I don’t know, but I guess we’ll find out if my byline isn’t in The Chanticleer in two weeks

(Hello, Spring Break next week!)

Anyways, for those who don’t know, Sunkist is a Buffalo Rock product, which Jacksonville State had a 10-year relationship with prior to giving Coca-Cola vending rights in late 2017. So, since August 2017, there have been no Sunkist bottles in a vending machine around campus.

Speaking of which, my first memory as a JSU student resulted because of a bottle of Sunkist.

I was walking to Martin Hall for a freshman-level Biology class in the Spring of 2012. I was thirsty, because I had to walk a far distance — parking, right — and came across a vending machine with Sunkist. I thought, ‘Man, this is perfect. I hope JSU always has Sunkist. I’d enjoy this place so much.’

I inserted my dollar and change then waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.

No bottle rolled out. I wasn’t happy.

From then on, I only attempted to get Sunkist at the café following JSU’s weekly football conference on Mondays. However, that changed when I declared as a Communication major and came to Self Hall on a weekly basis. And a weekly basis I bought a Sunkist from the only reliable vending machine on campus.

Me and Sunkist went together like Eli Jenkins and Josh Barge scoring touchdowns on Burgess-Snow Field. Or Whitney Gillespie and strikeouts at University Field. Or Trent Simpson and smashing home runs out of Choccolocco Park.

So, you can understand the heartbreak the first time I went to the vending machine in Self Hall and there were only Coke products. You can feel the pain and agony as I write this and glance down at this red liquid to my right where a Sunkist should be.

Man, I hope my future bride is OK with having a Sunkist foundation at our wedding. That’ll be … delightful.