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201 6 SE ASON revie w VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2

What’s Inside

Final SES Top 10

State Title Recaps Post Season Awards All-SES Teams Mr. Elite

1. Clinton 2. Madison Central 3. West Point 4. Pearl 5. Lafayette 6. Tupelo 7. Warren Central 8. Laurel 9. Petal 10. Starkville


Coming January 10, 2017 Follow on Twitter @SES_University


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all ses


Tales from the Gridiron




MHSAA Title Recaps


MAIS Title Recaps

31 32

Player of the Year MR. ELITE

Webb Lewis Editor-in-Chief Cole Russell Creative Director Tiffany Lewis Social Media Director JOHN LUKE MCCORD Senior Staff Writer Jared Redding Staff Writer john macon gillespie Staff Writer Tucker Italiano Staff Writer Pete Lewis Guest Writer SES would like to say a special thanks to Keith Warren of the MHSAA for the outstanding photos that are used throughout this issue. Special thanks to all contributing photographers: Keith Warren, Thomas Brown, GlamTaz Photography, John Pitts, Donald Dorcik, Bill Barksdale, Andy Young, Lee Adams, Markeitha Swinney, Oxford High Sports Productions Publisher: Southern Elite Sports Media L.L.C.




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Don’t Waste Your Influence When I played football I did a lot of the same things while getting prepared for a game that players do today. I put the pads in my pants, made sure I had the right game socks and fished my belt through my pants with a coat hanger. I put my jersey on my shoulder pads before I put the pads on. This always created a nice little dance in the dark while trying to shimmy them on over my head. After all of the mandatory stuff was in place, then came out the roll of white tape. I didn’t tape my wrist or fingers or anything like that but I did put a few layers around each cleat. Not the entire shoe, just the middle part and just enough to cover the laces. My dad told me that it was called spatting. I didn’t care what it was called. I did it because that’s what Archie Manning did. By Webb Lewis Follow Webb on Twitter @WebbLewisSES

The influence that athletes have over youth is outright amazing. The professional level is a completely different beast. With the media exposure and them marketing everything they touch, it is tough to keep up with all of it. However, the influence on the game’s most basic level is perhaps the biggest and by far the most important. If you caught a Clinton High School game this season there is no doubt that you saw little kids, elementary aged, running around the bleachers wearing a Cam Akers jersey. How cool is that! Cam has done nothing but played the game. He hasn’t signed any endorsement deals. He hasn’t gone on national television and declared his talents are superior. He has done nothing but played the game for his school and because of that, there are kids running around on the Clinton playground that want to be just like him. Down on the coast, Myles Brennan re-wrote the record books. He played his game year in and year out while being fully committed to his St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaws. Down there you will find a playground filled with kids wanting to be a quarterback just like Myles. They want to break the records like he did. It is a lot to put on a young man that is still in high school, but there is a great responsibility that comes with wearing those jerseys under the lights on Friday night. Whether they choose to accept it or not, someone is watching them. I don’t mean just watching them run plays and score touchdowns. I mean someone is watching them on the sidelines, on campus during the week, on Twitter and everywhere else they can. I want to encourage all of the high school football players here to not waste their influence. It is a fleeting moment that what you do matters a great deal to those you may never realize. Be the kind of player and man that makes this great state even better. By doing that, it can create a chain reaction that will endure and produce for years to come. I can’t wait to see the crop of players that grew up watching Cam Akers and Myles Brennan. They not only played the game great but they also have lived their high school lives setting a great example to all the little eyes that see.

9 | SES The Magazine

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My Moments and Memories

of 2016

By John Luke McCord Follow John Luke on Twitter @JLGrindin

hen looking back on the high school football season that just ended this time each year, I like to measure it in memories. Memories are what stick out when reflecting on 17 consecutive weeks of roaming the sidelines for the best football action you’ll find anywhere. Each and every season goes by quicker than the last, and perhaps that is because each year I enjoy the game I love to watch more and more. Even more enjoyable, though, is getting to share the tales that surround gridiron in Mississippi. This fall I got to see rivalries, late game dramatics, incredible individual performances, spectacular team performances and plenty of new places. For all of it, I am grateful, and of all I would like to share. However, I figure I’ll just give you the abbreviated version, though. Here are my personal top six moments I saw in 2016: 6: 9/30 - The Columbus Falcons made the playoffs this season, as they were one of three teams from region 1-6A to do so. On this date they would drop a game to division rival Tupelo. However, Mississippi State commitment Kylin Hill was a beast in the second half and nearly led the Falcons all the way back to a victory. Hill scored four touchdowns and rushed for 125 yards on 7.4 yards per carry. He caught three passes for a whopping 90 yards. He ran through tackles and was a man among boys. 5: 8/26 - This was a special day for me personally as it marked my first ever television broadcast. And of all the games to draw for my first assignment as a color analyst, the “Little Egg Bowl,” Starkville at Oxford. The Yellowjackets defeated the chargers 2816 and there were glimpses of future stars, on both sides, in this rivalry. 4: 8/20 - On the opening Friday of the season I saw Houston at Pontotoc. The next day I was near the banks of the Mississippi River in Greenville. I made the trek to the Delta to check out Greenville high school for the first time, as they hosted Indianola-Gentry. It was a three-hour drive from where I live in Tupelo. It was well worth it to see the sun set on some high school football, though. Not only was it a fantastic experience, in a new environment, but I also so the home Hornets got a win after a winless 2015.

3: 9/16 - Another special night for me, as this game provided perhaps the best atmosphere I saw this season. Saltillo came into a home matchup versus Baldwyn losers of 16-straight games. However, the Tigers’ quarterback Kane Wilbanks and the defense played well in the second half and got the win. The crowd was so loud in the fourth quarterback my ears were ringing late into the night. 2: Warren Central didn’t make it as far as they would have liked, but they sure did post an impressive mark in 2016. For starters they were the only team to defeat 6A champs, Clinton, this season. However, that still wasn’t the highlight of their season. I saw them take down South Panola, in the waning seconds, on the road in the first round of the playoffs. After having a lead at the half, the Vikings lost their lead late in second half, but gained it back on their final drive thanks to a big time touchdown pass from Jesse Wilson. 1: The most memorable moment that I witnessed in 2016 was PCS defeating Jackson Prep for the first time in program history. MAIS Player of the Year and Mr. Elite candidate, Isaiah Woullard, went on the road and proved to be too much for the Patriots to handle. Woullard, the state’s all-time leading rusher, impacted the game on both sides and put on a memorable performance himself. PCS also beat MRA for the first time in school history this fall, after beating Jackson Academy for the first time in program history last season. Sure, I also saw Madison Central invade the Flood Zone and get a big win in the 6A quarterfinals. Then there was state championship action at Davis-Wade stadium in Starkville. However, these were the six moments that stood out to me. Next season is sure to bring more new things and more memories. However, first thing’s first and that’s the offseason, the perfect time to reflect and look forward.

13 | SES The Magazine

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Grief and Loss Infertility Marital Therapy Parenting Pre-Marital Therapy PTSD Relational Issues Spiritual Issues Women’s Issues


Congratulations to the Lafayette Commodores for bringing home the 4A State Championship and to Oxford’s Quentin Wilfawn for being named the SES 5A Player of the Year!

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OFFENSE Quarterback

Offensive Player of the Year

Myles Brennan St. Stanislaus Senior

Cam Akers Clinton Senior

Offensive Line

Running Backs Tony Brown East Central Junior

Saahdiq Charles Madison Ridgeland Academy Senior

Isaiah Woullard Presbyterian Christian School Senior

Trace Clopton Brookhaven Junior Louis Paul Smith D’Iberville Sophomore

Wide Receivers

Paul Gainer Gautier Senior

Kalem Reddix St. Martin Senior

Lavante Epson Washington School Senior

Jordan Murphy Hattiesburg Senior

Athlete DJ Clayton Kemper County Senior Tyrese Fryfogle George County Senior

16 | SES The Magazine

DD Bowie Morton Senior

Kicker Sean Gomez St. Martin Junior


Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Odom Callaway Senior

Defensive Line O’Bryan Goodson South Panola Senior Romello Willingham Clarksdale Senior


Linebackers Willie Gay Jr. Starkville Senior

Karlos Dillard Gulfport Junior Jett Johnson Tupelo Junior

Quentin Wilfawn Oxford Junior

Terrence Cherry West Point Junior Lakendrick Jones Brandon Senior

Defensive Backs Diwun Black Forest Sophomore


Brandon Hale Pontotoc Senior

CJ Avery GRENADA Senior

Esaias Furdge Clarksdale Junior Schdarren Archie Brandon Senior

Kicker Sean Gomez St. Martin Junior 17 | SES The Magazine


SECOND TEAM OFFENSE QB Eric Clark Jr. | Kemper County RB Kylin Hill | Columbus RB Kris Moncrief | Raleigh WR Brandon Smith | Lake Cormorant WR Tim Jones | Biloxi WR Dontario Drummond | Laurel WR Luke McKenzie | Columbia Academy

OL Ben Brown | St. Aloysius OL Colton Skidmore | Oxford OL Joey Claybrook | Starkville OL Jalen Bell | Amory OL Darquavion Davis | Greenville St. Joe ATH Marcus Murphy | West Point K Kevin Martinez | Biloxi


SECOND TEAM DEFENSE DL Deuntra Hyman | Meridian DL Amani Johnson | Lafayette DL Jo’Mon O’Neal | Vicksburg DL Antonio McCloud | Noxubee County LB Tim Steward | Hazlehurst LB Javaris Russell | Grenada LB Jacobi Hearn | Clinton LB Jalen Holland | Amory

18 | SES The Magazine

DB CJ Bolar | Purvis DB DQ Thomas | Oxford DB Gus Nave | Kemper County DB Rodney Hawkins | Brandon ATH Brandon Turnage | Lafayette P Beau Johnson | Tri County

Tales From The Gridiron With Coach Pete Lewis More Than A Memory ooking back at almost 40 years of coaching football all over this great state, I find it hard to pick a favorite place. However, there is one spot that comes really close. I had been coaching at Canton Academy for four years and Mary Lynn and I really missed the Delta. We had both been born and raised there. I remember, we were in a basketball tournament in Yazoo City at Manchester Academy and a friend of mine was there with his team from Rolling Fork. My friend was the late James Branning, one of the finest men I have ever known. We were talking one night between games and I told him that we wanted to get back closer to home. Without hesitating he said that I should come to Sharkey-Issaquena and help him coach. It wasn’t much longer after that talk that we decided to load up and move to Rolling Fork. I spent the next year working with James. Although I had been coaching for several years, I still learned a lot from him. After one year, James decided to go into the Insurance business and, all of the sudden, I became the head coach. During the next five years I met and coached some the finest young men I have ever known. They proved to be champions both on and off the field. Every Friday night was a special event. I don’t remember a single time the bleachers were not filled. I remember the pep-rallies in the gym and the stands being full of students and parents. I remember walking from the dressing room to the field and people would be lined up cheering us on with every step we took. I remember leaving for a playoff game one time and the road leading us out was lined with people. I remember that we had to do our off-season workouts at night because most of our kids worked in the fields all day long. They would literally come right out of the fields and do their workouts. This was a special place. One of my fondest memories of coaching there came after we lost our first game in

1986. We had been undefeated and had won by large margins. Then it happened. We got beat and the kids took it hard. It was a very quiet ride back from North Sunflower Academy in Drew back home to Rolling Fork. It was sometime after one in the morning before I finally got into bed. A couple hours later I woke up to a noise in the carport. My son was a senior on that team so I figured it was him trying to sneak in past his curfew so I got up to jump him for coming in so late. That’s when I saw the carport was filled with my football players. They were angry, they were disappointed but most importantly they were determined. They promised me right then and there that they would not lose again and they kept that promise all the way to the South State Championship. They grew up that night and found out that nothing comes easy. I loved this team. A few days ago I went back to the area. It wasn’t for a happy occasion. It was to say good-bye to a treasured friend. Tommy Ewing was the father of two young men that I coached. Mary Lynn and I became very good friends with Tommy and his wife Mitzi. Some of our favorite memories were made on Saturday nights after a big Sharkey victory. I was still coaching and moving around some so we didn’t see much of one another over the next several years, but we still would talk from time to time. Tommy was a great friend and person. He will always be one the best friends I’ve ever had. While saying good-bye to Tommy, I ran into some of the guys that I coached. It’s not surprising that they have grown into fine young men. In the long run, that’s what it is all about. Not wins, not losses but what you learn from them along the way. From what I saw, I think they all have learned well. I started this by saying that it’s hard to pick a favorite place. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it’s not that hard. SKA!! 19 | SES The Magazine

nimal linic of Oxford 2008 Harris Drive Oxford, Mississippi 38655 Phone: (662) 234-8022 • Fax (662) 236-2380 Dr. Lee Payne Dr. Hannah Heaton

Dr. Steve Redding Dr. Laura Wilson

Congratulations to the 4a state Champion lafayette Commodores!

Games That Left Their Mark The Charger Chapters

By Jared Redding Follow Jared on Twitter @TheJaredRedding

f you don’t know me personally, I am an Oxford native, a track athlete, a sports editor, and the biggest fan of Oxford Charger football. It all started when my oldest brother, Jonathan, joined the varsity football squad in his sophomore year in 2008. Prior to that, I really didn’t know all that much about football, let alone watched it. I remember the 2008 opener like it was yesterday, not really the game itself, but just the atmosphere. Something about being at Bobby Holcomb Field, smelling the burgers cook on the grill, being under the lights, sitting with family, listening to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins in pregame over the PA, eating Reece’s, and listening to the band play made me have an instant love for watching the Chargers on Friday nights. In my ninth year of watching the Chargers play, I’ve missed a total of four games from 2008-2016. In games that I’ve witnessed, my record is 81-32. Of the 81 games I’ve watched the Chargers win, six of those really stuck out to me. Here is the one of those wins that I will remember for a while. Oxford at Pearl, 2010 Coming into 2010, the Chargers had an offense littered with talent at just about every position. They finished the 2010-11 seaTon at 8-3 and traveled to Pearl for the opening round of the 5A playoffs. The Pirates defeated the Chargers the previous season 28-14. Circumstances were fairly similar this time around, except the Chargers had a much better and more experienced squad than the previous season. I remember walking into Ray Rogers Stadium and having flashbacks to the season before. I remember vividly that right before kickoff, I looked at our sideline and saw our starting punter, William Elliot, on crutches and in street clothes. I thought to my 11 year old self: “Crap, this isn’t good.” Turns out we didn’t need him at all, literally, Oxford didn’t face 3rd or 4th down the ENTIRE night.

Oxford received the ball to begin the game. Pearl kicked an onside kick, recovered the onside kick, and Pearl’s D.J. Blake scored within a couple plays. I looked up at the scoreboard and said to myself: “Welp, here we go again…” And then BAM, Oxford’s offense caught fire and didn’t die down one bit the rest of the night. Sure, the defense did it’s job, holding Pearl to just 14 points, but the offense showed up and showed out. As mentioned before, the Chargers had only first downs and second downs, ZERO 3rd and 4th downs. They made it look effortless against Pearl’s defense. Even my younger self saw that. Keep in mind, this was back when Oxford was a Power-I offense and when Jack Abraham and D.K. Metcalf were just in the 7th grade. On the night, the Chargers had 23 first downs and 49 points in essentially three quarters before the backups came in. Guy Billups went 12-14 for 267 yards and four TDs, no picks. Deshaun McNeal was a monster at receiver, getting 9 catches for 163 yards and 3 TDs. Even the ground game was rolling, Lamont Dean had 18 carries for 173 yards and 2 TDs. Dean averaged 9 yards a carry. I thought this game was significant because of what the Chargers did offensively against that talented 8-3 Pearl squad. That was the best offensive outing I’ve ever seen Oxford have prior to the offensive juggernauts of the Class of 2016. **This is the first of a six part series that will be continued on

21 | SES The Magazine

State Title Recaps By Webb Lewis & John Luke McCord

1A State Championship Simmons 30 | Lumberton 26 The Simmons Blue Devils finished off their second perfect season in a row by knocking off Lumberton Friday, in the 1A State Championship Game. Simmons, who has been known for their explosive offense led by junior running back and SES 1A Player of the Year, Marquez Pam did just enough to keep Lumberton on the defensive. However, it was the Blue Devil defense that sealed the deal in this one. They forced turnovers and came up with big time stops late in the game when it appeared Lumberton might yet again pull off the improbable comeback. Simmons will return several key players in 2017 and will again be the front runners in the 1A. Marquez Pam, the reigning 1A Player of the Year, could even make a run at Mr. Elite next fall.

2A State Championship Calhoun City 22 | Bay Springs 8 Schedule the parade around the Calhoun City Square because the gold ball is coming home with the Wildcats. The last time that happened, George Bush Sr. was living in the White House. It just so happens, the last time the Wildcats one the crown, it was against Bay Springs in 1989. City used hard-hitting defense and gashing runs from their collection of great backs but none were more impressive than their quarterback and game MVP Jo Jo Gray. He isn’t the biggest back on the field but plays the hardest and refused to be stopped on Friday afternoon in Starkville. Head coach Perry Liles and his Wildcats squad were dominant in 2016 and should, as usual, be in contention again in 2017.

3A State Championship Kemper County 12 | Charleston 8 The opening game of the day was unquestionably the most exciting contest. There was stout defense and big time plays on offense, but in the end the Kemper County Wildcats were just too much for the Charleston Tigers, who fell for a third straight season in this game. Kemper County’s special combination of quarterback Eric Clark and DJ Clayton has been dominant all season, and again, it helped them get a favorable result. Clayton was named the MVP of the game as he finished with five catches for 229 yards and two scores. Clark was nine for 20 passing the football for 251 yards. Just by judging the numbers, it is easy to see who Clark’s favorite target was. The connection was strong on the first drive, but had to come back alive in the second half to give the Wildcats victory. Tre Truly and the Tiger offense, in the end, just could not muster enough offense to win the football game. For Kemper County, this win is special, because it gives them a chance to bring home the golden ball for the first time in school history. They Wildcats were also the only team from the South to win this weekend, as the North dominated the 2016 state championship games. 22 | SES The Magazine

4A State Championship Lafayette 27 | Poplarville 12 A tough playoff road certainly looks to have powered the Lafayette Commodores to their third state championship since 2009, but first since 2011. First year head coach Michael Fair has the Dores ready to go in their final game as a 4A team and now they walk away champs after a four-year drought. It was a special season for the program and now they get to celebrate back home as they defeated Poplarville 27-12 inside Davis-Wade stadium on Saturday afternoon. The defense was the key, as they held the strong Hornets running game to just 89 yards in the first half. And when they tried to go to the air, the Dores really made them pay by forcing two turnovers. One pick, and one incredible interception (technically a fumble recovery) for score on a hook and lateral play by sophomore Brandon Turnage. In the second half, Lafayette held off a Hornet rally. Will Ard was named MVP of the game after throwing just seven passes. He finished with six completions and the lone incompletion was an interception. However, Ard and the offense set the tone early with 77-yard touchdown toss to Mississippi State commit Tyler Williams on the opening drive. The Dores would never let go of the lead.

5A State Championship West Point 29| Laurel 8 By the time the night cap had rolled around the rain had taken control of day 2. The field was holding up as best as it could, but as our guy Webb Lewis likes to say, this one was set up to be a slobber knocker. Fortunately for the West Point Green Wave, that is just the kind of game they wanted it to be. That allowed Scott Chambless to pound it with Marcus Murphy, the game’s MVP, on the ground, and also contain the high-powered Tornado offense. Murphy, a Mississippi State commitment, was excellent, totalling 141 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Clayton Knight added his own flare in the passing game, as he tossed the first touchdown of the night to give West Point a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. Meanwhile Terrence Cherry made his case to be the game’s MVP, as well, sacking Laurel quarterback Tyquan Ulmer twice. The Green Wave’s three sacks, and relentless pass rush, were too much for Laurel. With the win, West Point returns home with their eight state championship in school history.

6A State Championship Clinton 49 | Pearl 35 On November 20, Clinton quarterback Cam Akers was named the 2016 SES Mr. Elite. That is exactly how he played on Friday night. He was elite. He was unstoppable. He showed why he is arguably the best high school football player Mississippi has ever seen. He totaled over 400 yards off offense and a mind boggling SEVEN touchdowns. It was Clinton’s first ever state title and the perfect ending to a high school career that has accomplished so much. The case was made on the night of the big win, that the Arrows should go ahead and retire Cam’s jersey. Should they? ABSOLUTELY! As for the rest of the state, we owe this guy a thanks for the memories and a good luck in the future. His is exceptionally bright.

23 | SES The Magazine

Transforming Lives.



Community College

Macon’s Promise Kept By Wildcats

By John Macon Gillespie Follow John Macon on Twitter @JMake_2016

n February 28, 2015, several lives in Calhoun County, Mississippi, were changed forever. On that evening, a one car accident occurred in Big Creek, Mississippi, claiming the lives of two high school students from the county. One of those students was Thomas Leon “Tripp” Macon, III. Tripp Macon was a sophomore football player for the Calhoun City Wildcats, a team that had recently ended its 2014 season in its tenth state championship appearance with a loss to 2A-powerhouse Bassfield in Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State University. “I hate feeling like this,” Macon remarked after the loss, “but we’ve got it our senior year.” Macon would never play another football game. The 2016 season would have been Tripp Macon’s senior year at Calhoun City High School. Instead, his classmates and teammates had to carry his #68 jersey with them onto the field before every contest. Macon’s #68 also adorned the side of every Calhoun City helmet this season. Coming into 2016, Calhoun City had appeared in ten state championship games. Out of those ten appearances, they had one lone title from 1989. Like many recent seasons, 2016 began with more wins than losses for Calhoun City. The teams finished the regular season at 11-1 and as Region 4-2A Champions. The Wildcats breezed through the playoffs and defeated Baldwyn 47-20 in the North Half State Finals to secure a trip to Starkville for the state championship game.

Many fans from the area had seen this story unfold before. Calhoun City dominates the northern half of the state until meeting formidable Bassfield and ultimately falling in the title game. This time, however, the circumstances were different. While Calhoun City was in the process of defeating Baldwyn, the mighty Yellowjackets of Bassfield were experiencing troubles of their own. The Bay Springs Bulldogs were giving the Jackets all they could handle and ultimately defeated the heavyweight 18-13. Instead of facing their usual state championship foe of Bassfield, the Wildcats had to prepare for a new opponent. Calhoun City’s lone state championship in 1989 came with a win over the Bulldogs. On December 2, 2016, the Calhoun City Wildcats and the Bay Springs Bulldogs faced off at Davis Wade Stadium in a game steeped with a history that few remember. In a game that was close at the outset, Calhoun City eventually pulled away to win their second all-time state title 22-8. This win was much more for the Wildcats than just a medal and a golden ball. It was a win for a town that had not won a title in 27 years after having come so close in years past. It was a win over the same school faced for that title 27 years ago. Most importantly, however, it was a win for a fallen teammate who made a promise to bring home a title his senior year. Congratulations, Tripp. The Wildcats kept your promise.

25 | SES The Magazine

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COACH OF THE YEAR Jeff Carter Pontotoc

Coach Carter led the Warriors to a 13-2 record in 2016. Pontotoc won more games this season than the previous 3 combined.

SPIRIT AWARD Brandon High School The SES Spirit Award is given to the state’s top fan base/ Friday night atmosphere.


Louis Paul Smith Offensive Lineman D’Iberville

The SES PrimeTime Award is given to one of the state’s top up and coming players.


Jaquerrious Williams Running Back Tupelo

The SES PrimeTime Award is given to one of the state’s top up and coming players.


6A Cam Akers

Clinton High School

5A Quentin Wilfawn

Oxford High School

2A Don Ragsdale

Pisgah High School

4A Myles Brennan

1A Marquez Pam

Simmons High School

St. Stanislaus

3A DD Bowie

Morton High School

MAIS Isaiah Woullard

Presbyterian Christian School 31 | SES The Magazine


cam akers

#BeLikeCam Clinton’s Cam Akers is Elite By Webb Lewis

ith so much talent in the senior class of 2017, one would think that picking just one player as our Mr. Elite Recipient would be extremely difficult. Well, that simply was not the case. Clinton’s Cam Akers was a no brainer for this award. He was the center of the Mississippi Football Universe and has been for quite some time. He was surrounded by hype and amazement and when the lights came on Friday nights, he never, not one single time, disappointed. This past summer, Akers and his recruiting process dominated the sports news scene. Meanwhile, he was dominating the combine scene and making an even bigger name for himself on a national level. At some point the hashtag #BeLikeCam was started by his peers. Everyone was taking note of what Akers was doing. He had become this larger than life spectacle right dab in the middle of Mississippi. Akers alone was good enough to give his Clinton Arrows plenty of pre-season press but he also found himself surrounded with the likes of Darius Maberry and Kam White. This three headed monster would

have Clinton as an early favorite to win the 6A crown. They group did not disappoint. They finished the season hoisting the 6A crown over their heads with a 14-1 record. As for what Akers was able to do on the field, the numbers are nothing short of amazing. He passed for 3,128 yards with 31 touchdowns. He rushed for 2,105 yards with another 34 touchdowns. That is a mind numbing 5,233 yards of offense with 65 scores. In the one loss of the season, Akers still managed 419 yards of offense. Statistics, wins and titles aside, Cam Akers also carried himself in an elite way. He has stayed focused even when being constantly bombarded by media nagging him with recruiting questions. He has remained level headed even with college coaches and fans telling him how great he will be at the next level. He has always been available to SES Mississippi to talk about how the Clinton season was going. Akers is a special young man and it is such an honor to award him the 2016 SES Mr. Elite.

MR. ELITE WINNERS 2016 Cam Akers | Clinton 2015 Jack Abraham | Oxford 2014 Darrell Henderson | South Panola

34 | SES The Magazine

there is no doubt in my mind that Cam Akers is the best high school football player I have ever seen play the game. webb lewis

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Todd’s Big Star congratulates West Point!


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Mississippi Set To Reboot

By Tucker Italiano Follow Tucker on Twitter @TuckerItaliano

ississippi is the type of place where players go down in football lore and are talked about for generations beyond their playing days. Legends like Marcus Dupree, Archie Manning, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, and Steve McNair live on in the memories of Mississippians and football fans throughout the country. Those guys, along with several others went on to have fantastic college and NFL careers and some even ended up in the Hall of Fame. Every time one of those guys left the Friday night lights to further their careers, you would hear the term “There’ll never be another so and so in Mississippi again,” or “That kid is the best to ever come through Mississippi.” Then a few years later, another Mississippi legend is born and goes on to have an outstanding career. This year is no different from any of those past seasons down here in Dixie. Gone is Cam Akers, who started for 4 straight years in 6A and led Clinton to a state championship in 2016 all while being one of the top athletes in the country. Gone is Willie Gay who has been one of the top players in the state for years and a menace on the defensive side of the ball. Gone is do-it-all D.D. Bowie who dominated at Morton his entire career. Gone are guys like C.J Avery, Isaiah Woullard, Kylin Hill, Kalem Reddix, O’Bryan Goodson, and many, many more. Almost all of these guys have been starting and playing at such a high level their entire careers, it makes you look and think, “Wow, the names I’ve been following in the state for so long, are gone. Who could replace those guys?” The state is going to go through a sort of “reboot” with such big names leaving because of graduation, but there are more than enough names to fill their shoes. Some of the new names will be upcoming seniors, some will just be breaking into high school, but all of them have the talent to wow fans for years to come. Here’s a little introduction of a few big names to follow:

Marcus Murphy, West Point 2018- Murphy has been on the scene for years, dominating 5A football and leading West Point to a state championship in 2016. There will be no other player in the state as dominant as he will be next season. At 6’1 190 lbs. the Mississippi State commit has run for 3,371 yards with 45 total touchdowns over his career. Fabian Franklin, Hattiesburg 2018Another top running back in the state, Franklin has rushed for 2,283 yards and 31 total touchdowns in his career. At 5’11 200 lbs. he is an absolute beast on the ground and tough to tackle which is the reason teams like Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, MSU, and more covet him. McKinnley Jackson, George County 2020- Already being hailed as a future #1 player in the country by his mentor C.J. Bailey (C.J. Bailey Skills Academy on the Coast), Jackson has been a key part of the resurgence of George County this season. The young defensive lineman already has 60 tackles in his career along with 30.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. At 6’3 255 pounds, his potential is through and will be a special one to watch over the next three years of his playing career. As a 14-yr. old, he landed his first offer from UL-Lafayette. Charles Moore, Louisville 2019- Moore has been a dominant force for Louisville since 8th grade. Standing 6’4 255 lbs. he tosses around kids his age with ease and is athletic enough to lineup at linebacker along with playing on the defensive front. Diwun Black, Forest 2019- The sophomore is an animal on the defensive side of the ball with 133 career tackles and 12 for loss to go along with 15 interceptions. He’s 190 lbs. and 6’4 and only begun to tap into his potential. This kid has a chance to be special. It’s safe to say that with guys like these, along with the countless others that are already dominating the gridiron at a young age, Mississippi football is in safe hands for the future.

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Title Recaps AAAA Division I Jackson Prep 34 MRA 7 AAAA Division II Lamar 28 Oak Forest 7

Prep continues their reign over the MAIS with their fifth straight championship

Lamar quarterback Harrison Davis wraps up his outstanding career by leading the Raiders to another title

AAA Indianola 42 Adams County Christian 7 A/AA Canton 21 Tri-County 7 8-Man Tallulah 41 Franklin 20

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The Colonels roll through the season and through the title game. They now take the state’s longest home winning streak into the off-season.

In a game featuring two MAIS classic teams, the Canton Panthers took the big title win over Tri-County

Two Louisiana teams battled it out in the 8-Man championship. Tallulah claimed their second title in a row

DATES W ILL BE A N N O U N C E D S O O N Register at fortiu sproject. com

@ FortiusProject

from the SES Staff! Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Coming January 10, 2017 Follow on Twitter @SES_University

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Profile for Southern Elite Sports Magazine

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SES gives you a breakdown of the 2016 season as well as a look at the 2016 SES Mr. Elite Award winner. They also take you through the post...

SES Mississippi 2016 Season Review  

SES gives you a breakdown of the 2016 season as well as a look at the 2016 SES Mr. Elite Award winner. They also take you through the post...